I joined Mr. John Moore (pseudo name), who preferred to be called, Johnny, one evening during dinner, as he was sitting by himself after his table mates & friends had gone out with their families earlier that day. Our conversation started around meals, after I had broken the ice by asking how his dinner was.
Ms.Gee: “Good evening, Johnny, can I join you?” I said as I pulled the chair opposite him.
Johnny: “Oh yes please, Ms. Gee” he responded, with a smile on his face and nodding his head.
Ms.Gee: “Are you enjoying your dinner?”
Johnny: “As usual, thanks. The food here is fresh and delicious, I always look forward to mealtimes”
Ms.Gee: “Wow! I am happy to hear that. The chef and her team should be doing a wonderful job”
Johnny: “Oh yes, you can tell they cook from their hearts. At times I wish I had come a few years back. Not just the kitchen staff, everyone here is lovely, and believe you me, they all have good hearts, they are passionate and genuine“
Johnny could tell the look in my eyes was begging to hear more. He took his last dessert spoon and leaned towards me, with his arms folded, and continued,
Johnny: “Ms. Gee, I was in the Army, in Europe, before I migrated to Australia many years ago. I did some Psychology, and I am a good judge of character. Compliments hardly come by, from me, but I have to admit the team here is outstanding”
Ms.Gee: “Thank you, Johnny, I will share the feedback with all staff so that they keep up the good work.”
Johnny: “Not just good, but great” Johnny said, with a smile on his face. He went on to say, “They love what they do. This is not just work Ms. Gee, it’s a calling and well executed by these young ladies and gentlemen. Even those who struggle a bit with the English language, they communicate happily using both verbal language and signs for effective communication and we get them.”
I laughed and thanked Johnny. I then said, “I am also of non-English speaking background”, and with a smile on my face, I went on to say, “and English is my 8th language.”
Johnny laughed, and shaking his head, whilst pointing at me, he said “nope, you speak well”
By this time, most residents and staff had left the dining room, and Johnny and I were the only ones sitting, with the rattling noises of dishes in the background, from the kitchen staff.
I thanked Johnny once again and went on to ask him one of my routine questions to Stakeholders, “Do you have any suggestions for Improvement, any area where you think we need to improve on, Johnny?”
“No, as I said, the staff here are outstanding, I couldn’t ask for more Ms. Gee.”
Just as I was about to get up from my chair, Johnny, signaled, using his hand, for me to keep sitting, then said, “Oh I have a request instead, but you must promise me that you’ll do it”. I waited eagerly to hear what he was about to say.
Johnny: “Can I request that you give these wonderful staff more pay?” I listen to the news daily and I understand the sector has low wages. What touches me most is the way the staff here carry on about their daily work happily without showing any signs of disgruntlement whatsoever. I have also heard the bad treatment in some facilities and wish the media could also come here and report about our amazing staff and lifestyle here.”
Ms.Gee: I thanked John for his request and told him I will discuss it with the CEO. I reassured him that the company, including the Board, was appreciative of the work the staff do and are already paying a bit above the award. I promised to provide feedback after my discussion with the CEO.
My discussion with the CEO was a positive one and she said, “We will do everything in our capacity to increase the pay rate however, we also have our constraints. These constraints bind us from increasing the pay rate as much as we want them to be.” Johnny’s request has not been unanswered and will definitely be fulfilled.
P.S. – The image used for this article is for representation purpose only.