Here at Lowell's Cleaning Services, our greatest asset is our employees. We're always striving to make our company stronger, and we try to be open to your ideas for improvements. For quite some time now, we've been hearing that many of you aren't happy with our retirement savings plan. That's why, beginning next week, we will heed the advice of those who absolutely could not stand our generous 401(k) matching program by permanently eliminating it.

At long last, you're welcome.

I know some of you have thought in the past that we in management were "out of touch," that we didn't always address your concerns. Many of you even believed you'd have no choice but to sit by week after week as Lowell's Cleaning Services Inc. matched, dollar for dollar, up to 8 percent of your salary, the money you put away for your future. Well, we listened, and that's all over now. For good.

When my late father founded Lowell's 57 years ago, he knew that to have the best cleaning company in the business, he'd need the best people in the business. So Dad started a program he thought his employees would love. He told them, "If you set aside a little bit of your money from each paycheck for your retirement, Lowell's is gonna match that with a contribution of its own." It sure seemed like a great idea then. But now we know that all those employees who despise getting free money from the company they work for their whole lives are right: Why throw all that cash into some account you won't even be able to touch until you have one foot in the grave anyway?

Those of you who bravely stood up and said, "Put this silly, unnecessary, and, frankly, insulting 401(k) matching program to rest!" made the choice so much easier. I'd like to personally thank each of you. Give yourselves a hand.

In retrospect, the whole matching-funds thing was just a horrible mistake from the get-go.

Just think: From now on, you can open your paycheck without wasting valuable time puzzling over all that fine print. One less number means one less hassle in your hectic schedule. Plus, it's sure to make payday a lot more fun, am I right?

Of course, the immediate cessation of matching funds does not preclude you from† continuing to participate in your own retirement plan. Far from it. For a small fee, Lowell's will continue to administer your investments to make sure you have the opportunity to put your earnings in a place where we tell you it is safely accruing interest.

But those who hated the matching funds aren't the only ones we heard from. As for all of you who hate our dental plan, guess what? It's gone! No more annoying checkups where you have to fumble around in your wallet for the card that says your visit is all paid for, and no more filling out all those endless forms. Red form! Blue form! Yellow form! Who can be bothered to know what form is what color in this day and age? I say, Get rid of the insurance and all the forms that go along with it.

My employees deserve nothing less.

You're going to like some of the other changes you'll be seeing around here in the coming days and weeks, too. I know a lot of you have been feeling unmotivated—it happens to the best of us—but we have just the cure. A sure-fire incentive to work harder: tighter deadlines! Yes, now you'll have 15 fewer minutes to clean each office, allowing you the satisfaction of going above and beyond each and every day.

Together, we can achieve great things.

Lastly, I know there's been some grousing and grumbling about how cramped and crowded our workplace has been of late, and I'm pleased to inform you we have a plan to take care of that problem, too. I don't want to give too much away right now, but let's just say that soon Lowell's Cleaning will be a little bit lighter, a little bit tighter, and a lot leaner and meaner!

Make no mistake, I believe our new, streamlined company will be strong enough to weather any storm that heads our way. Let's just never forget what we are, first and foremost: a people company.

Now get out there and clean up after other people's messes.