CSD: Bring Trust And Loyalty Back To The Workplace

Discussion
May 21, 2008

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?

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10 Comments on "CSD: Bring Trust And Loyalty Back To The Workplace"


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Ted Hurlbut
Guest
Ted Hurlbut
13 years 11 months ago

I think one of the problems with employee satisfaction is that we always seem to come at it from the point of view of the employer rather than the employee.

My experience tells me that the keys to employee satisfaction, at any level, is a feeling that your work is important and valued by those you are working with and for, and that you are accomplishing something meaningful to you.

The challenge for employers, then, is to build an environment that focuses on the employee. The problem for many retailers is that this isn’t necessarily quantifiable. It’s not about dollars, or seminars or training, it’s about people. And if there’s one thing that retailers (and, to be fair, many large organizations) struggle with, it’s people.

Dick Seesel
Guest
13 years 11 months ago
“Once upon a time in corporate America” makes the premise that people used to like their jobs more than they do today sound like a fairy tale. Is there any research comparing the current survey results (70% dislike their jobs) to findings from, say, 25 or 50 years ago? I believe that human resources professionals are probably better-trained than in the past on how to manage the workplace. That being said, the 70% number shows that there is plenty of work to do when it comes to improving workplace satisfaction. The retail industry is a particular challenge, with its high number of workers making relatively low hourly wages compared to a typically small management team. Those managers should focus on some of the following: 1. Make sure your hourly associates have measurable objectives and responsibilities, and recognize them often for achieving their goals. 2. Create clearcut paths for career development and advancement in your store or organization. 3. Lead by example: Make sure your associates see that you’re prepared to do some of the “heavy… Read more »
David Biernbaum
Guest
13 years 11 months ago

All good advice but the assumption made here is that the implementers are happy managers and company directors. One major component that needs to be added: Owners and managers need to love their jobs too. Otherwise, the flavor at any given workplace is stale and any attempts to fix it come off as insincere and unsubstantiated. Be real.

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
13 years 11 months ago

What I tell my clients is that the key to motivation at the retail level is all about leadership. Leading by example from managers was the Number One issue from subordinates in an impromptu survey we did at a Florida chain. Managers who are (or even appear to be) desk jockeys would have the hardest time getting a team motivated to work. I would advise first time managers to clean the bathrooms as there first order of business if you want your people to do so!

A second key component is communication. And it’s not just about the what. Staff want to know the reasons behind directives. Why are we realigning the store? People always have a natural curiosity as to why we are made to do things. Satisfying that curiosity with logical reasonings will appeal to the worker’s logic as well.

‘Oh yeah, that makes sense!’ is the thought that motivates individuals toward acheiving a common goal.

Doug Fleener
Guest
13 years 11 months ago
You build trust and loyalty by giving trust and loyalty. The best retailers treat their staff in a way that proves they are the most important element of the retail experience. Too many retailers treat the staff as expendable and just another expense line. Retailers would be better off to have their managers spending less time on operational activity and more on the development of their staff. We need to teach store managers how to communicate openly and honestly with employees. One of the biggest challenges in stores is the inability of managers to give effective and timely feedback. The staff needs and deserves to know when they’re doing well and when they’re falling short. Too often, an employee doesn’t know how they’re doing until they’re hours are cut back. And most importantly, we need to teach managers how to make working in a store fun. It should be a class requirement of every store manager! Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s fame said it well, “If it’s not fun, why do it?” If you… Read more »
Mel Kleiman
Guest
13 years 11 months ago

I would love to write an in-depth answer to this but today I am on a very tight schedule. I was not going to write anything but this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. It is the only subject I speak on. “How to better select and retain front short time line workers and their managers”

How you bring trust and loyalty back into the workplace is the same way you do it in any relationship. You do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it…EVERY TIME. You keep your word, you hold yourself accountable for your actions, just as you hold others accountable. You help people grow and get better.

DO WHAT IS RIGHT.

Companies do not treat people right because they are profitable. They are profitable because they treat people right.

Jesse Rooney
Guest
Jesse Rooney
13 years 11 months ago

While timely, well-thought out, and accurate, the article does its readers a disservice by not discussing wages and other tangible benefits. Although implementing the elements discussed would undoubtedly help to bolster employee morale, few things work as well as merit-based pay increases, bonuses, and additional vacation time. Certainly there can be a substantial cost involved and it may not be possible for all companies to reward their employees in this manner, but I think that any discussion of workplace morale and loyalty should, at least, mention these options.

Steve Weiss
Guest
Steve Weiss
13 years 11 months ago

We live in an age of metrics. Human skills are hard to measure and are therefore of second tier importance to the people who control the purse strings in today’s business world. Worker ‘spirit’ is being left-brained to death.

Sharon Allen
Guest
Sharon Allen
13 years 11 months ago

Working in a small business that we own, “face time” is never an issue nor is “walk the talk” however when you are always pressed for time you more often take time to correct rather than praise. I know when I make a conscious effort to identify what an employee is doing right and let them know, I see new effort bloom almost right away. Every body loves to know they are doing something right and it can also facilitate conversations about what might be improved.

Mark Lilien
Guest
13 years 11 months ago

Richard Seesel has it right. “Once upon a time…” is a phrase used in children’s fiction. When did people love working for corporations? When they were joining unions and striking? Any article about trust and loyalty that doesn’t focus on compensation and benefits isn’t about trust and loyalty. But it may be children’s fiction.

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