Every Quarter is SpringtimeBy Greg Harris
Spring cleaning in the workplaceAfter working for a number of different companies, it's clear to me that there is something unique about each one. When I interviewed to work at Jameco, it was difficult to tell what was different here, but it didn't take long to figure it out once I arrived.
I arrived at Jameco during the spring of 2008 and when the email titled "Spring Cleaning" arrived it seemed normal enough. I was being asked to work with my team to identify cleaning opportunities and report back on our plan to get them resolved. The same email arrived again that summer and has arrived every quarter since. It felt a little like the Groundhog Day movie because spring was arriving every 90 days.
I've never worked at a company that had such a dedicated commitment to cleanliness. The belief is that a clean environment is the first step toward building a team that performs at top effectiveness. As a team leader I was responsible for our department's cleanliness. The company was interested in everything from walls that needed some paint to the lunchroom refrigerator that needed cleaning and scuffs that appeared on warehouse floor. Each case became a high priority.
As I learned all of this, I started to wonder if I was really Jameco material. Now I'm no slob, but I'm not a neat freak either (much to my wife's chagrin). I like to have a certain level of mess in my life, opting for efficiency instead of trying to project an image of organization. For example, I like to keep my really important papers thumb-tacked to the wall next to my desk instead of lost in a file folder. There are certain reports that I keep within my reach at all times since I have a neverending need to reference our important numbers. I also like a certain level of clutter on my desk, including an airplane size bottle of Jack Daniels that will only be opened if California has a 7.0 or larger earthquake while I'm sitting at my desk.
While at times I rebel against it, I have learned that Jameco's culture of cleanliness has a number of important benefits:
- Every employee takes a level of pride in their company. While it may not be totally due to the level of cleanliness, there is less complaining here than at other companies I've worked for.
- Every customer can be confident that our inventory is well cared for, well organized and well looked after.
- The regular focus on cleanliness is a tangible sign for every employee that Jameco's culture requires a level of organization from its employees. We don't procrastinate and we don't hide problems under the rug. Instead, as an organization, we are dedicated to staying on top of our business.