Meet Abby from NCIS.
Abby is the fun, quirky goth chick of the NCIS squad. She works in the lab, analyzing and tracing data paths to solve crimes. Due to her original style and personality, she has the honor of being the show’s icon character on Netflix. Additionally, she is one of the few featured alongside the team leader, Gibbs, in most of the program’s advertising.
Abby is a great role model.
At first glance, some might question this. She can be loud, overly emotional, and probably breaks every dress code in the government handbooks. How did she ever end up as part of an elite team of investigators? She gets stuff done. Abby takes her job very seriously and has strong relationships with all of her teammates. If someone needs a brilliant analysis done efficiently and professionally, they look no further than this wild looking character. In fact, in one episode she remarked that she gets about 3 job offers a year from other agencies. Clearly, she has done a tremendous amount of expert work- so much so that everyone is aware of her.
What can we learn from Abby?
1.) Hard work leads to freedom.
Due to her years of reliable work and her amazing reputation, Abby gets freedoms that many may be denied of. She is allowed to wear whatever she wants to work and blast her music as loud as she feels like. She has gained enough love and appreciation from the staff that she can be as crazy, outgoing, and even goofy as she wants without concerns of being fired. They know her: she has earned their respect. Therefore, leadership gladly will relax certain standards for her.
This isn’t just a TV show fantasy: I’ve experienced it in real life. After proving myself to be the best they’ve ever seen in my position, the librarians allow me to listen to music while I shelve, have drinks on my cart, and practically set my own schedule. All of these are liberties that I’ve never seen extended to others who share my job title.
2.) Originality + Professionalism = Value
Without her professionalism, her team would not want or need her. Denied of her original style and attitude, she wouldn’t be iconic. Bringing her instantly recognizable flair into harmony with her killer work ethic, Abby is an unstoppable force! Whether people like her style or not, they nearly always come to love and respect her.
3.) Happy employees are loyal employees.
Because her team shows her so much love and support and allows her to be herself, Abby wouldn’t think of working anywhere else. Every job offer she gets is turned down in favor of sticking with her team. Some workplaces give out random trinkets to valued employees or reward them with special parking spots. That’s cool, but what truly goes far is rewarding them with freedom.
Allow employees to be themselves, give them a place where work and fun can coincide, and offer options that allow them to enjoy their off-work lives to the fullest. That is what will uphold your employee retention goals. Trust me, the library treats me as well as NCIS treats Abby; I’ve happily worked for them for 13 years. If the county could afford to hire me full-time, I’d probably stay for life!