Are Your Staff Your Biggest Asset?

Jane McCall Highway To Training

Staff can be many things, some exactly what is required and some the complete opposite.  We have all said, well there will always be one who will not conform and upsets the rest.  They are fairly regular so we will ignore their other failings, and I can rely on them to do ……..and so on.

Do you recall the time you came in unexpectedly to find your manager/supervisor on yet another break, shop full of customers and just one sales assistant because the others had all decided to take a break together, the one in charge was on another planet and you were not expected any way. 

Did you notice how many customers left without purchasing. How many do you think will return after waiting an age to be served.  As a customer have you ever experienced, after finally arriving at the payment point with an enquiry on your lips, the eyes rolling upwards and the barely heard word ‘yes’, almost a, what do you want statement, of course you have, we all have, the very best one of course is when the customer is invisible and  the staff are far to consumed with chatting or staring into space. 

Some of the time we can retain a sense of humour and shrug it off, but ask yourself this question, if the reverse of these situations had happened how much better would you have felt, your day would have passed easier the people you encountered would have enjoyed a better experience.  You would certainly return to this store and mention it to your friends, purely because of the level of customer service you received, and how it made you feel, valued to say the least.

All of the above can and does happen all too frequently.  This in no way is meant to detract from the staff who do a good job, take care of your customers and in so doing take care of your business and future.  Those people are the salt of the earth and deserve recognition and reward, do you believe that those staff feel that you value them?

Reward is not always about the amount of money you pay them, it encompasses how your responses to them make them feel about themselves, if you offer them the opportunity to develop work based skills, taking more or different levels of responsibility, listen to what they have to say and show respect for their ideas.

Your staff need to be your most valuable asset, all of them, it makes no difference what position they occupy, in the wheel of retail life every person has a part to play and all parts make up the whole.  Your business is only as good as the people in the front line.

It is never too late to make changes, engage your team in the whole area of responsibility that they are expected to take on board.  Tell them what you are not happy with, give them examples and be very straight forward and open about what is wrong, tell them that this is unacceptable and a way must be found to move forward.  Follow this with the positive experiences you have noticed or been told about concerning your employees behaviour and attitudes.  Good examples are very important here, they will set the groundwork for development of your team.

Outline your plan of action and ask for feedback from all of them, tell them that you require also an idea from each and every one to move the business forward and improve all the areas they are involved with, these ideas will be discussed and they will be kept informed of what can be implemented and the time scale.

Some employers offer a reward for good business ideas that they take on board.  Now you can either be a sergeant major or you can engage your work force.  The very best results occur when you involve and recognise your employees.  I have known many employers talk the talk, and never make the walk.

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