No matter how well you watch cash flow, manage inventory, or make your store attractive to customers, you will lose business if you don’t work to develop your employees.
Develop your employees and keep them engaged in your business plan and they will work harder to keep your customers happy. In a high-service industry such as the jewelry industry, contact between the salesperson and the customer can make or break the bond between your business and your customers. Many jewelry store owners, however, fail to recognize how important that connection is.
What can you do as a business owner that will keep your employees engaged and productive? Here are some suggestions:
- Be honest with prospective employees during the interview process. Accurately describe the work environment and the process for how things are done.
- Make sure your employees know exactly what you expect of them. Create a written job description clearly explaining their responsibilities.
- Present your employees with challenging assignments to keep them engaged. Provide them with opportunities to grow and develop.
- Have a regularly scheduled group meeting with your employees to discuss issues the employees would like to discuss.
- Tell your employees when they’ve done a good job. Utilize some form of recognition program to reward a job well done.
- Develop an on-going training program to help improve the employees’ knowledge base on your merchandise, selling techniques and customer relations.
- Be more creative with your benefits program. Is your benefit program competitive? In addition to health and other normal benefits think outside the box. Buy dinner when employees need to work late. Occasionally treat your employees to lunch. Work with other local vendors to offer an employee discount at their establishments.
- Offer a formal system of pay raises. Make sure your employees understand what they have to do to earn raises. Create a formal system of promotion.
- Be understanding of your employees’ needs. Allow for them to take some time off when they need to attend to a child’s or elderly parent’s needs.
- Understand each of your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Your manager should be a good communicator and leader. Co-workers will work harder for a manager that is well respected than for a weak manager.
- Make sure your employees know your long-range goals. Inform them how their performance measures against those goals.
- Insist that your employees take vacation. Studies have shown that employees that take vacations are less stressed and lead a healthier life style.
- Create an environment of trust. Employees are happier and work harder when they feel they can trust their leaders. Treat all employees with the same level of respect.
- Get rid of poor performers. Negative attitudes will effect employees with good attitudes. Hold your employees accountable for their actions, whether positive or negative.
Your Employees’ Top Priorities
In several studies ranking employees’ attitudes toward their jobs, emotional rewards frequently rank highest for contributing to employee satisfaction. Money is behind emotional rewards, but still near the top of the list. Here is a list of the top ten:
- Expressed appreciation from employer for work well done.
- Knowledge of what’s going on in the business and the owner’s goals for the business.
- Management’s understanding of employees’ personal needs.
- Job security.
- Good wages and benefits.
- Interesting, challenging work.
- Opportunities for growth in responsibilities and compensation.
- Management’s loyalty to employees.
- Good working conditions.
- Tactful discipline.
Bob Epstein is CEO of Silverman Jewelers Consultants. Since 1945, Silverman has been considered one of the premier sales consulting firms to the jewelry industry, specializing in improving cash flow and maximizing the recovery on distressed inventory through professionally conducted sale events. Bob can be reached at 800-347-1500 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.