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What Your Employees Really Want

Don’t you love it when the keynote speaker tells you to do three things and you’re already doing them?

I had that experience last Wednesday at the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy.

Our closing speaker was Barbara Glanz.  You might remember her from the YouTube inspirational customer service video Johnny the Bagger.  Barbara talked about a number of topics, mostly on the culture you create in your workplace.  I had three basic takeaways from her presentation…

Create a Positive Culture
Barbara recommended that you start every employee meeting with what went right rather than what went wrong.  Share the positives first because it puts the staff into a good, high-energy mood.

Yeah, we’re doing that.

Recognize Your Employees Have a Life
One of the number one things employees want from their bosses is to be recognized as being human beings and having a life outside of work.  How often do we neglect that, worrying only about what they can do for us instead of what we can do for them?

Because my staff work retail, they aren’t exactly giving the 1% a run for their money.  I’d like to pay them more, but with the limited resources there is only so much I can do.  To give back, I focus on two things.

First, much of our staff trainings are on life skills more than Toy House-specific skills.  I want them to walk away with more than they brought to the job.

Second, at the beginning of the year I offered each member of my staff some money towards a goal they have set for themselves.  It could be used for dance lessons, for computer training, for a gym membership, or some other personal goal.

Make Their Jobs Interesting
People want to work where jobs are fun, where work is interesting, where they get challenged to achieve, where they know they are making a difference.  I think this is an area where all indie retailers can improve.

  • We definitely have jobs that are fun.  
  • Most of our customer base comes to our store by choice, not necessity, which makes for a much more pleasant time.  
  • We sell fun and unique products not found in every discount warehouse.  
  • We have the ability responsibility to have meaningful interactions with customers.

Sometimes, however, we neglect to show our staff how we do all this and why it is important.  Two things you can do to remedy this…

  1. Share all your customer reviews with your staff.  Let them know when they make a difference.
  2. Give your staff important tasks and let them run with those tasks.  They’ll take ownership, be more invested in the outcome, and see firsthand what a difference they make.

Three for three.  Heck, even I’m impressed.  Thanks, Barbara!

-Phil Wrzesinski

PS  Need help making the job more fun?  You can start by making your staff meetings more fun.  Culture takes time to build.  Make small changes and you will eventually see bigger results.

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