Top-quartile convenience store chains have recruiting and retention habits that give them a leg up on the competition. However, attracting and retaining top-notch talent does not happen overnight. It’s the result of hard work, an excellent training plan and years of experience, and the payoff is incalculable, as we have seen during this COVID-19 crisis.
Satisfied employees are the fundamental difference between good and great convenience store chains. They work hard, keep customers loyal and stick around to help your organization accomplish its mission. And right now — just a few months into a deeply disrupted work environment, in the midst of a shaky economy, with anxiety running rampant — is not the time to slack off on making your people feel appreciated.
“Some leaders may think building a happiness-generating culture isn’t a priority now,” said Leadership Consultant Deb Boelkes. “After all, a lot of companies are in survival mode. They’re just trying to keep the doors open and meet payroll. This could tempt leaders to think that employees are lucky to have a job at all.”
Don’t fall into this trap. It’s more important than ever for employees to know you care about them, their health and safety, and their families.
“The craziness of the current situation should cue leaders to double down on their efforts to make employees happy,” Boelkes said. “People are still anxious. They are also paying attention to how leaders behave right now. When you focus on building an environment where employees feel safe, comfortable and empowered, they’ll do a great job for you, and you’ll be able to retain them when things pick up again.”
Boelkes offered several tips to maintain a satisfied workforce:
Be especially present for employees in times of trouble. Employees understand the crisis we are facing and are prepared for “the new normal.” What they want from you is reassurance that they are part of a team that cares about them. Don’t shy away from this important responsibility. Be a visible presence in the stores and a positive influence at all times. Most of all, let the team know how much you appreciate their hard work.
Say “thank you” regularly. One of the best ways to motivate anyone is to express gratitude. It’s amazing what the simple act of saying thank you can do to get people aligned and make incredible things happen. When you, as a manager or teammate, appreciate hard work and you express gratitude when it’s due, you will likely have a far greater impact on those around you. The recipients of your appreciation will most likely be inspired to put forth an even greater effort to ensure they will be thanked again.
Show them you care by helping them perform. People care about paychecks, but what they want most is a workplace that supports them and helps them feel good about their work. “Pay is important, but it’s not that important in the sense that people will leave you to go somewhere else,” Reinhold Preik, founder and CEO emeritus of Chemcraft International once said. “If you, as a leader, help them perform, then they are going to be happy themselves. Their self-worth is going to be there. If people have self-worth, they are going to be happy. If they are working in a place where they don’t feel self-worth, they don’t feel the company really cares who they are, then their attitude is going to be completely different.”
The bottom line is that when employees feel safe and appreciated, they want to do a great job for you. When your team knows you care about them, that’s when the magic happens.
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