“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”
— Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why
Does this idea make you smile...or does it make you nervous?
While there is more to life than the work we do, Americans spend a great deal of time on the job, and our level of satisfaction (or lack thereof) has a big impact on our lives.
As a business owner/operator or manager, it literally pays to invest in happy employees, and bonuses and pay increases are not the only way to achieve that goal.
Read on for 6 ways to help your team fall in love with your business.
Create down to earth company objectives. Employees don’t necessarily care how much money the company is making, unless your store’s financial performance results in a bonus for them. But if your company is reliable, honest and hardworking for its customers, that’s something employees can relate to and be proud of.
TAKEAWAY: Develop key objectives around customer service, satisfaction, and positive reviews, and communicate these objectives.
Learn what motivates your people. Not everyone is the same, so don’t pigeonhole them. Some prefer to be challenged, others like to feel supported. The best way to learn what will motivate each member of your team, is to ask them. Is it a longer lunch? Working toward a reward of some kind? A paid day off for their birthday? Don’t assume the only answer is a pay raise — research alternatives and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
TAKEAWAY: Your employees are motivated by different things. Take the time to learn what lights a spark for each of them.
Talk with your employees. Employees don’t want to talk about work all the time! Just like you, they have a life outside of your store. Invest in them personally by asking about their interests, family, and what brings them joy outside of work. General chit-chat helps build a positive and trusting relationship, so when the work begins to pile up, it’ll make life a little easier for you both.
TAKEAWAY: Remember your employees have an entire world happening outside the shop. Ask them about it!
Give people space. Do you ever find yourself...micromanaging? Many of us try to regain control this way when we’re under pressure, but trying to micromanage people when they just need to be left alone will not make their lives easier, or increase productivity. In fact, it could raise their anxiety and may lead to a drop in work quality, or worse — losing a valuable employee.
TAKEAWAY: Lead your team well by providing specific feedback, offering a timeline of when you’ll check back in, then stepping back.
Share long-term objectives as a team. If you want your team to embrace long-term goals for the company, then make them part of the decision making. That doesn’t mean your entire team sits down for a Q4 budgeting meeting...it means you discuss overall objectives for the month, quarter, or year — and ask for their feedback and their ideas on tackling those goals.
TAKEAWAY: Even part-time employees will be more invested in your company’s goals, when they feel like a valuable part of the process.
Recognize achievement AND progress. Taking the time to call out employees for a job well done can feel like yet another to-do for a busy retail manager, but this activity is a vital part of the mix for your team. Offer an employee of the month award, invite an employee to lunch on a weekly or monthly basis to positively reflect on their performance, or post a flier near the office or breakroom recognizing a member of your team making strides in a particular area, including their photo. Be as specific as possible in your praise.
TAKEAWAY: Strive to recognize employees often; not just your top performer, but every employee making progress toward their goals.
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