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Derrick is the regional manager for Commercial Uniform Inc. (CUI), a large company that provides uniforms for organizations such as hotels, car rental agencies, and banks that provide uniforms for their employees. CUI also provides dry cleaning for the uniforms. Derrick is responsible for the operations of providing the uniforms and associated dry cleaning. His other responsibilities also include running the office and making sure that the company fleet of delivery vans is running smoothly.
The van drivers are the heart of the commercial laundry business because they pick up and deliver the uniforms that require dry cleaning. The drivers also deliver new uniforms to customers. Wages of the van drivers have been flat for several years because competition makes it difficult to increase prices for services. Also, there has been a slight decline in the sale of uniforms because more workplaces, such as hotels have shifted toward more informal business attire. Derrick recognizes also that other workers at CUI are experiencing similar problems about flat wages, and a business in slight decline.
Derrick notes, “Uniforms help provide discipline to a business but they are losing a little of their past popularity. It is much cheaper for a hotel, bank, or large automobile service center to allow employees to wear their own clothing to work. Derrick has been in contact with HR director Madison to discuss the challenges of keeping the van drivers charged up when raises and bonuses will be almost nonexistent for the foreseeable future. Madison says she and the CEO believe that recognition in the form of praise should be an effective way to motivate almost any van driver. Madison said she would be sending instructions to Derrick about praising drivers by both e-mail and the company intranet. Derrick believes that he does use praise, but would now do it more systematically, following some of the ideas in the information disseminated by Madison.
Two days later, Derrick dropped by the cubicle of Courtney, the supervisor of customer billing. After a couple of minutes of talk about her work, Derrick said, “Courtney, it’s just great how you keep the money flowing into the company bank account. Without your efforts CUI would have to shut down.” Courtney replied, “Thanks Derrick, have a great day.”
Laster that day, Derrick visited a nearby company warehouse where the drivers load their vans before taking off on their route. Derrick said to Hector a van driver, “Top job. Without you making timely stops at your customers, we have no business.” Hector smiled and said, “Thanks Derrick. It feels great to make a contribution.”
Derrick liked the way her praise was going, so when she ran into Kaitlin, the sales manager, in the office, he said, “You’re doing great. It’s so much fun to be working with a cool and talented woman.” Kaitlin replied with a quizzical look, “Good enough Derrick, whatever you think.”
During a visit to the field, Derrick commented to Boris, a supervisor of van drivers, “I like how hard and fast your drivers work. You set a high standard for our operations.” Boris replied, “Right on, Derrick.”