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  • Josh Rudder

Service as a Second Language

Could your workplace benefit from a stronger service culture? Our first live-podcast shares why a service culture is a HUGE benefit! Service culture is about building a culture where helping the customer is the focal point of the operation. Many companies emphasize this for employees to improve the customer experience. Upper management must maintain this service mentality to serve their employees so that the employees can reciprocate it to the customers. It all starts within!


How do you build an authentic service culture? Our research shows that it starts with anonymous service. Our study started with two random groups, an anonymous group and a known author group. Each group saw a letter that read: “Hey I have been impressed by your work around the office, not only do you work extremely hard but I have noticed how kind you are to everyone you work with. Thank you so much for always bringing a positive attitude to work, I really appreciate all you do.” The letter addressed for the anonymous group was signed, “From a Friend”. We asked the participants the likelihood that they would pay this act forward and we found that the anonymous group was more likely to pay it forward. We realized that our thankful letter that we had sent sounded like a supervisor and not a colleague and we wondered if this would change the results of the survey.


Our follow up study comes from Hawk Management, our fictional office that we use to run studies. The setting is a typical office format with three different groups. All groups were given the scenario that they arrived at their desk and found a small coffee with some crackers and a note that said “Cheers!”. The first group was the anonymous group, they had no idea who gave them this surprise. The second group received the same surprise but the note was signed, Taylor Reed, and it was explained that Taylor is a colleague in the department. The third group received the surprise and the note signed by Taylor Reed but this time Taylor was the designated manager. Which group is more likely to pay it forward? Rachel and Westin agreed that the note coming from the colleague would result in a more likely scenario of them paying it forward. Everyone agreed that the anonymous act of service would be CREEPY!

Being aware of coworkers doing good things for each other and then encouraging them to show their gratitude for their coworkers will drastically increase the service culture of your workplace.

As per usual, Rachel and Westin guessed correctly! The results showed that a note coming from a colleague is more likely to create a positive service culture and help others to pay it forward. The surprise in the results came in the disparity between colleagues and managers. The study showed that workers are 83% more likely to share a random act of kindness by giving away a cup of coffee to a colleague as opposed to their manager or boss. As a leader if you can be aware of coworkers doing good things for each other and then encourage them to show their gratitude for their coworkers it will drastically increase the service culture of your workplace.


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