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December 22, 2005

4 Personality Tips for Your Employees

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Business

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Once upon a time I worked at a grocery store. If I had a business card it would have said "Kevin Hendricks, Bag Boy." Not exactly the most glamorous title in the world. Not exactly the most glamorous job in the world. But I did earn some cash to finance my teenage lifestyle.

The customer/worker interaction doesn't change much, whether you're talking about a bag boy at a grocery store, a volunteer coordinator or someone answering phones. Employees have different roles and varying degrees of interaction with customers, but it all comes down to the people you serve, whether it's selling them a book, offering medical care or accepting their donation. All the customer satisfaction initiatives mean nothing if your employees aren't on board. Here's how to help them see the light.

The Customer Pays the Bills
Make sure your employees understand where their check comes from, so they can work accordingly. At the grocery store I resented the customers because more customers meant more work as a bag boy, and interruptions as a stock boy. I responded accordingly, barely managing a fake smile. If my boss reminded me that these customers provided my paycheck, I probably would have changed my tone.

Train Employees to do More
Train your employees on more than just their basic job. Knowing how to bag groceries is one thing, but knowing how to transfer a call or handle complaints is a totally different deal. Some basic training can help your employees do a better job, and the people you serve will notice. Just make sure it's seen as growth and improvement for your people and not another boring video.

Empower the People
Empower your employees with the knowledge that what they do matters. As a stock boy it would have helped tremendously to know what kind of sales figures our store had. Was it going downhill? Was it improving? Was my work on the end cap actually selling more Cheerios? This is the stuff of management school for grocery store managers, but they're not the ones putting the product on the shelf. Give numbers to your employees, whether it's monthly income, growth over last month, calls processed or whatever means something. You could even offer rewards if your team can break a milestone.

Trickle Down Attitude
Be nice to your employees, and they'll be nice to your customers. The grocery store managers always prowled the aisles, looking for a lazy employee to pounce on. The workers would resent authority and do just enough to get by. A better attitude from the top brass would have resulted in a better attitude from the working folk.

You may not come in contact with the people you serve everyday, but your employees might. Make sure the people working for you are working for you, and not against you.

It's all about personality.

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Hi there,

What a wonderful blog entry that I just happened upon! I completely agree with all your points. I wish more companies could see these obvious truths and thereby make the world (for both employees and consumers) an even better place!

Amy Deavoll

Posted by: Amy Deavoll at March 21, 2008 2:53 PM