By Jim Callahan
The need for appreciation knows no bounds—extends from mothers to children, wives and husbands, employees to bosses and in every other direction imaginable.
It need not be costly and really doesn’t require much thought or effort, for it starts with something as simple as a sincere “thank you” or, perhaps, a warm smile.
In terms of employment appreciation practices, a timely “Atta boy” for staying late, covering an extra shift or a displaying a great customer service attitude are always appreciated. Remembering birthdays or a congratulations card marking employment anniversaries are always a nice touch—even nicer when there is a gift card enclosed.
It never hurts to commit to employee Christmas parties and “Star of the Day” awards for those passing inspection or a visit from an owner or general manager especially between the second and third shifts. You can even dole out $2 bills or Susan B. Anthony silver dollars or a single rose (carnations last longer and are less expensive, by the way).
These types of small acts go a long way in letting employees know they are appreciated. Conversely, they also give the staff an unannounced presence to make sure that the restrooms are clean, the deli is shipshape and that employees are utilizing your time wisely. At a glance, you can see who is in clean uniforms, who is wearing their name badges and not on their cell phones, etc.
While I highly recommend and encourage most employee recognition programs, I’m not a fan of “Employee of the Month” programs. In my journeys, I have found that such programs make one employee happy and the rest of the staff a little disappointed and jealous.
Instead, a great way of showing appreciation and building employee morale is to create sales contests that award “Prizes for Performance.” And no, I’m not spending your hard-earned money because there are countless numbers of vendor partners that will assist in funding such contest prizes in return for achieving increased sales for their chosen products.
I strongly suggest that customer counts be utilized in determining winners to keep interest levels up for the whole shift. Since each shift has differing customer traffic, counts make the playing field level. For example, the first shift might sell more contest deals, but they likely have more than three times the customer count than that of the third shift. Utilizing customer tabulations you can determine which shift has actually sold the product/deal to the greatest percentage of customers.
HONEST AND FIRM
When an employee appraisal is due make absolutely sure that it’s done on time. If a pay raise is due, be aware that every single day you put off granting that earned raise in pay greatly diminishes the feeling of accomplishment that should be associated with the occasion.
Be fair and compliment staff where it’s earned but be honest and firm, letting them know where they excel and what areas they need to improve. Make sure they know how critical it is to not fail on the “easily controllable” items like being on time, looking right, having a great smile and attitude. Going forward, set achievable goals for employees. Inform employees how important team work and harmony are in your workplace.
In my mind, workers who have previously been given “the talk,” but are still not worthy of a raise are likely not worthy of continuing to be a part of the team.
Keeping undeserving employees on the payroll undermines the fine work of the rest of your employees and if action is not taken you can expect your better workers to lessen their efforts and lose their morale—it’s human nature. And, for goodness sakes discipline individuals in private, preferably with a witness and keep all discipline strictly confidential.
Employee morale is the key to retention—work on it each and every day.
Jim Callahan has more than 40 years of experience as a convenience store and petroleum marketer. His Convenience Store Solutions blog appears regularly on CSDecisions.com. He can be reached at (678) 485-4773 or via e-mail at [email protected]