CSD: Bring Trust And Loyalty Back To The Workplace
By Roger Hall
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from Convenience Store Decisions magazine.
Once upon a time in corporate America, people actually liked going to work every day. They enjoyed the camaraderie of their co-workers, and they truly believed their work was making a difference, not only in the organization, but also in the world. Today, this past reality is nothing more than a fairy tale.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, 70 percent of people don’t like their job. In addition, employees at all levels feel there is no trust or loyalty in their company, resulting in high turnover, high stress and declining productivity.
Yet studies have shown that there is a direct and positive correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. That is, when your employees are satisfied with what they’re doing, they in turn direct those positive feelings to the customer, who rewards you with more business. Additionally, happy employees are stable employees, meaning they won’t jump ship and go to work for your competitor after you’ve spent all that time and money training them.
The question then remains, “How do you build trust and loyalty in an economic environment that is very different from those ‘fairy tale’ days and that has slimmer margins and greater competition?”
The answer boils down to communication, both what you communicate and how you do it. The following guidelines will help you build better communications, thus increasing both trust and loyalty.
- Schedule “face time” with each employee. Even if your company has a thousand employees, each manager or department head needs to schedule face time with their people. Many employees today feel they aren’t contributing and using their real talents. When that occurs, disloyalty and mistrust are bound to happen.
- Choose appropriate communication channels. Some of your employees, such as the clerks behind the counter, may not even use a work computer, much less receive e-mails. Therefore, you will likely need to communicate to various departments in different ways to make sure everyone is on the same page and aware of the company’s commitment to building trust and loyalty.
- Offer acknowledgment and praise often. Publicly congratulate people for meeting goals and deadlines, and for going the extra mile. When people feel appreciated, they’ll be more loyal.
- Be honest. Your employees will appreciate your honesty, despite the bad news, and they’ll actually trust you more.
- Walk the talk. Many managers and executives talk about great ideas for the company, ideas that make the employees feel good and like them, but then those ideas never materialize. Make sure all your managers and executives display the behavior they want the staff to emulate. Your people are watching you and they do notice.
Take an honest interest in the talents your employees bring to the table and be a role model for the behavior and company culture you desire. Only then will you have employees who want to be with you for the long haul and who positively impact your company’s bottom line.
Discussion Questions: How do you build trust and loyalty to keep employees happy at the retail level? What areas do retail managers have to particularly work on in communications with staff?