The Story of the Extra (S)mile

Once in a while, you hear a story that touches the heart - even in a business context. Some time ago, I heard one of these stories. And it struck me as so inspirational, that I couldn't resist sharing it with you here.

The Characters

The story's protagonist was an ambitious SME that ended up doing the most surprising thing for one of their customers.
The customer in question was a large oil company that had reached some outstanding business results, and wanted to thank all of its employees - worldwide! - that had contributed to making this achievement happen.

The Setting

To the oil company, it was of utmost importance that the total gift experience ended up being something amazingly delightful. Aware of the fact that the SME was known for its incredible customer commitment, the oil company decided to join forces with it - in spite of the fact that the prices quoted by that SME were 15% higher than those of the cheapest internet bidder.

The Plot

The SME came up with the design of a unique gift experience in which the oil company could offer the employees that had been involved in the successful project an exclusive pen, engraved with the name of the project. Each gift had to be accompanied by a small printed personal message signed by each member of the board, and all of the gifts had to be distributed and handed over before a particular date in no less than 15 different countries all around the world.

So far, so good.
Until the unexpected happened.

The Conflict

Five minutes before the time at which the transport company had been arranged to pick up all of the gifts for delivery in all of those different countries, an employee working at the SME discovered that a mistake had been printed in the small personal message that accompanied each of the pens. It turned out that the oil company's employee who was in charge of ordering the gifts had made a mistake…

The problem for the SME, however, was that each and every one of the pens had already been carefully and beautifully wrapped, and that the SME had made a commitment to the oil company to deliver in time. In addition to that, it was Friday evening and the customer's employees had to receive their gifts in the course of the week that followed - in no less than 15 different countries!

The Resolution

In spite of the fact that the mistake was actually the customer's responsibility, a team of 5 people working for the SME decided to help the customer out on a voluntary basis. They signed up spontaneously to come into the office on Sunday to solve the customer's problem so that the gifts could still go out on Monday and be delivered all over the world… in time!

The Theme

For some reason or another, the SME's employees felt as if it was a shared responsibility, which is why they decided to give up their free Sunday to come into work at 7 am to spend their day re-printing the message and carefully re-wrapping each and every one of the gifts.

The oil company was delighted, and simply couldn't grasp this kind of employee engagement. They admitted that, despite the high wages and perks their employees received, none of them would take the initiative to come into work on a Sunday to do such a thing.

The Big Question

From a business point of view, the big question that presents itself is: which is that SME with such an amazing company culture?

Well, the protagonist of this story happens to be Arteel!

Yes, indeed, I am talking about my very own team, which I am very proud of. Because as a small SME, we're not able to pay our employees extremely high wages or give them lots of fancy perks. And still, this is the heart-warming behaviour I get to witness regularly amongst my people.

The Secret

We walk our talk, and attach a lot of importance to appreciation and recognition on the work floor. So no, this amazing company culture of ours did not come falling from the sky! For the past 15 years, we have been putting a lot of effort into building this great and positive company culture. Because experience has taught us that there simply is no amount of gifts, perks or special wage-offers that can compete with recognition.

Indeed. It is only by encouraging your people on a regular basis for all of the effort they put into your business - by sincerely recognizing and rewarding them - that you create a strong and positive culture.

At Arteel, we are just one big family and we care for each other, and this culture of caring for each other extends to include our customers too. It is really that simple!

The Moral of the Story

People who feel appreciated simply go the extra (S)mile, and - whichever way you put it - at the end of the day, this does show in your bottom line!

Nathalie Arteel
Leading Angel Arteel Group
Recognition Expert

If you would like to find out more about our Social Recognition Programs, please feel welcome to browse our website RecognizePeers.com or simply contact us by phone on +32 16 499 960 or by email on info@arteel.eu. We will be delighted to answer all of your questions!








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HR News: The Story of the Extra (S)mile
The Story of the Extra (S)mile
HR News
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