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Empower Workers In A Way That Breaks The Norm

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Jacqueline Mueller is a waitress at a top-rated LA restaurant. She’s been named highest in sales revenue among dozens of servers for three years running. Despite popular opinion, Ms. Mueller believes that the most lucrative payout is not pocketing tips, but sharing them with colleagues.

It’s certainly out of the ordinary that a top-selling waitress, who no doubt works hard to secure every cent she receives in gratuity, would willingly drop all of her tips into a communal jar for equal distribution at the end of each night. After all, in an industry where minimum wage is the base salary, tips are all the rage (and virtually the only source of a profitable income.) So what could possibly motivate anyone to happily share all their hard earned money? According to Ms. Mueller, working as a team and sharing tips is less stressful, less hectic and highly beneficial to the consumer:

For most servers, coworkers are our competition. Instead of spending our shift concentrating solely on the patrons, we’re also spending it stressed about how often our section is seated, how quickly we can turn over tables, and which servers are getting unfair advantages from the hostess, manager or even customer. So, regardless of the fact that I was top in sales, it didn’t stop me from going into work every single day nervous about how worthwhile my shift would be.

When management had the idea of pooling tips, they approached me first to see if I’d be willing to partake in the venture. I didn’t hesitate to say yes because I had confidence in the result: a happier, calmer, friendlier staff that helps and cooperates with one another while still making money.

Turns out, I have actually seen a rise in my income and in my sales. And as great as the money is, the best part is that I have managed to earn a living without the stress and anxiety that once accompanied my workday.

business consultants discuss waitressing

© Flickr user emilio labrador

AccelaWork sends along our kudos to all restaurants and businesses that empower their employees to create workflow that not only reflects well upon themselves and of the group, but does so in a creative way that breaks the norm.  This story in particular opens the door on a new perspective—one that revolves around positively managing workplace dynamics through innovative solutions and trust. In the words of our Indianapolis speaker, Robby Slaughter:

. . . We can all acknowledge that responsible people thrive in an environment of freedom. Fewer restrictions and less bureaucracy create greater potential for innovation. Brilliance often requires knowing the rules and knowingly setting them aside. Most important, responsible people will work because they are driven by the satisfaction of progress and discovery.

Likewise, irresponsible people quickly stand out in a culture that emphasizes freedom. They will exploit any cookie jar left unguarded. They will be lazy and complacent. If they are rarely monitored, their work will barely advance.

In our view, stepping outside the box to generate techniques that not only enhance business but bring stakeholder satisfaction is a powerful combination. Good employees will be even better in a system that empowers them. Bad employees will stand out like a sore thumb. You’ll have your organization move forward, while maybe weeding out some who don’t have the same goals and work ethic that your top employees do.

Does this sound familiar? If you or your company have integrated new and unique systems into your office, we’d love to hear about it here at The Methodology Blog. Feel free to share your story with us by commenting directly on this post.

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