Alice and Brennan discuss the HBR.org article, The Little Things That Make Your Employees Feel Appreciated.
Alice and Brennan discuss the HBR.org article, The Little Things That Make Your Employees Feel Appreciated.
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retail is crazy. Your leadership doesn't have to. This is crazy F in retail with Brennan and Alice. So
welcome to another episode of Crazy Fucking Retail. The Podcast. Tonight's article. The Little Things That Make employees Feel Appreciated by Carrie Robert Get Roberts, Gibson, Kate O'Leary and Joseph Weintraub. This was published on h p r dot com on January 23rd 2020 if you want to find it, but this is a great article for our retail leaders. Alice, do you want to go ahead and dive in? What was your favorite part of this article
before we talk about what part was my favorite part is, you know, when I saw this article while searching on their site, it really resonated with me because I think even recently I was shocked when I was having a conversation with one of my managers that they did not feel appreciated. But on my side, I thought I was over killing with all the compliments. So, um, this isn't more so for me to really have a conversation about EJ King everybody else, but it really helped me really ground myself as to what I needed to do better to really be able Thio, tell my team that I really, truly appreciate what they do for us. And I think it's just understanding that sometimes you have to check yourself. Um, so I took a lot of notes here that I know that I'm going to implement because sometimes we tend to forget, you know, when things are great. Um, you know, we don't we just don't take the time to do so and to tell our team how how well they're doing or just giving them feedback so we'll just go in and get started. So on this article, it talked about literally what I just said, that managers incorrectly assumed employees knew how they felt about them. When I was ringing this, I highlighted it. I circled it because who I caught myself doing that I assumed my, um, my employees knew exactly how I felt about them. Did you see that line? Brennan.
Yes, I did see that line, Alice. I think that in a retail, it's a challenge, right, because there's so many different things that everyone balances, right. So as a store manager and you, I'm sure a lot of stores do like a power rank or some sort. You, you make it. You printed out you posted on your door and then that Number one or number two or number three employees or number 10 employees. They don't see that until their next shift. And let's say the next shift on your day off and then all of a sudden you work again with them four days after you posted the power rank. Are you remembering to say to celebrate that win? And you know, that's where I think the balance comes in. I think that as retail leaders, we have to just make sure that we are engaging with our team and helping you hold him accountable and have it have tough conversations on his conversations, but same time celebrating the winds and finding the winds together. What do you think about that, Alice?
I agree. Um, I have a question for you. Do you think inthe e retail industry that we focus on the negative? More than the positive? I
think that in the retail industry we can fall for that, and I think it's sometimes it's really tough, and I wouldn't say focus. I would just say in any results driven organization and sales driven organization. You know, we are only as good as we were. Yesterday is usually the motto, And so, you know, sometimes there's things like, you know, right now, the climate, the retail climate. Right now I mean obviously traffics down massive across the board because of that Corona virus stuff. But, you know, it's it's gonna be hard to find winds, but I think that that's where good leaders, Alice, I think good leaders, probably. I would say great leaders make sure that they balance the feedback. What do you think they're?
I agree. I definitely agree. But I think you got to check yourself sometimes. And as you said that, I literally just thought of every single situation that has happened in these last few days. And I'm thinking, Man, I got to do better. I have to do better because at the end of the day, we're leader of people, not just leader of results, you know. So making sure that we're balancing it consistently and identifying it when you're not doing it is God be super crucial. So I guess then we could just kind of head into what us. As managers need to do on a consistent basis. Do you want to talk about number one?
Sure, I'll talk about number one. The first point is touch base early and often. So again, going back to you know, this our environment is a little different than the environment that's in this article. Because I look at the environment in this article is a corporate office where you're seeing where you're working pretty much the same schedule as your people, Um, and you're you're seeing them almost every day Now. I know in the retail world, that's not anywhere close to the truth. So I think it just means that whoever you're with, whoever you're with, whoever's in front of you in this store, you know, take time to acknowledge them so often. And let's be I've done this 1000 times in my career. So often someone clocks in well, and I'm in the middle of Maybe I'm in the middle of a transaction and I'm with the customer. That person goes and stands on the other side of the store, and then as soon as I get a chance between customers where we're having, we're having a touch base and We're talking about today's goals, and we're talking about what needs to be acknowledged, completed, and we're talking about maybe how, where, how we're doing in sales for that day. But what I think we have to remind ourselves is I think there were solution for retail is slow down. You know, slow down. You can say good morning. You can say, How are you? You can say, How's the family? How's school? How was that movie you said you were gonna go see? See that person is a human being before you get out your cheque list of items that they need to complete. Does that make sense? Alice?
Oh, definitely. There's a story that I don't with well like it's not a story, But there was a situation years and years and years and years ago we were on a conference call and we're a little bit early, and the district manager at the time asked one of my peers how their child was doing. But they got the wrong name, and all I could think of was like, Oh, man, you got to spend some time getting to know your people, So it's definitely crucial toe build a relationship with your team. Obviously, you don't spend your whole shift or a whole calls talking about personal things. But knowing your employees is huge. You know, I feel special when somebody asked how my, you know my dog is doing or how my husband and I are doing because we have a special hobby that we we do together and somebody remembering that like, man, you remember that that makes you feel special, and it makes you feel like you are a part of something. So, you know, be genuine and ensure that you're always falling up with your employees because there's other things in their lives that are important. And that's more important than maybe work itself Sometimes.
Sometimes I mean, let's be real. We gotta understand that our employees are human beings. I love that I love your story, because how many times has that happened? I mean, I'm sure that we've done it ourselves. I know I've done it right, and I think that again again, just to slow down and understand that whether it's that four hour team member or that 40 our leader get to know them in some kind of way in some capacity. Um, so the next one Alice is give balanced feedback. Do you want to start with that one?
Yes. And I think you and I were talking about it before we started a recording. This podcast, the thing that makes me cringe, is when people talk about the the compliment sandwich. And to me, I think that's a complete opposite of giving balance feedback. Because when we use this compliment sandwich, it's you start with something positive, then you go into the negative than you end with the positive. I think it gives somebody the wrong sense of, ah, feeling of what they need to d'oh! You know, it could go either way. You could focus on just a positive, or you could just focus on the negative. But how do you give great feedback on a, I guess, on a consistent basis without confusing the employees so giving bounce feedback, I think of the podcast I think we were. We did not long ago about, I think, honest conversations and feedback, but I love the format of starting with what they did great, then falling up with where we got stuck or where we need to get better then the next step was to identify what the action stuff we're gonna be to help them get better at what the opportunities were. So it's completely different than the sandwich right? It's not a positive negative than positive, but it starts with positive because sometimes we forget about saying, Hey, you're good at this. You know, I think you did a great job here, but it's always good to start off with a few great things that they're doing to acknowledge the fact that you see that they're working on things but also identifying what their opportunities are or where they need to get better and having a structure, action plan or their next steps to make them get better. So I love that little structure because it's not just a check off list, but it kind of just encompasses that employees. And I guess, as a whole, I hope that makes sense.
I would just echo what you're saying. Yeah, that is when you hear about compliments, sandwiches, Throw that shit in the trash. I was. I mean, there's a time in a place definitely start. Start with the positive feedback. You don't want to just throw Hey, come on back here and that. His attack, right? That can't be how the conversation goes. You know, I would transition from, you know, how are you and whatever the niceties are, and then just say, Hey, you know, we need to have an honest conversation and then just give the feedback, But guess what? The balance. Peace. Just like you said, The balance. Peace means if every time this person comes to work, they're getting negative feedback, they're not gonna work for you anymore. I think that's pretty safe to say. So eventually, they're going to leave you. But, um, you hit the nail on the head there, Alice. So the next one next one is addressed. Growth opportunities. Do you have anything you wanna add? Add on that one?
Yes. You know, I think I need a definitely do a better job here that I think I need to provide more opportunities for my team on where they could be stretched or be challenged in a different way. I think too many times I'm just gonna admit it myself that I overthink it and think that this employee doesn't want additional responsibilities or they're just happy where they are. Or maybe I feel like they don't have the capacity to do so. But that's my fault, right? We can't put our employees into a box thinking that they don't want career or growth opportunities. But idea goes back to having your employees best interest at heart and wanting to make them better all the time and just understanding where your employees are at. And I think that's huge. You gotta know what your employees wants. And if you're not touching base early and often, and if you're not providing balance feedback consistently, then this is a missed opportunity right here.
I agree. And I would say Be transparent with the cross organizational opportunities as well. Understand they might know your team enough to know what direction they want to go. You know, maybe they wanna continue to grow within within your store, but maybe they want to go work in another store. Or maybe they want to go work in another department. Don't be afraid to encourage your team to grow outside of your four walls or your business unit. And with that piece, I would say talk about succession planning. I mean a lot when I see people that are not when I see managers that are not talking about the growth opportunities for their team nine times out of 10 if that team member left their store, they wouldn't have a backup. Do you see that, Alice?
Oh, my goodness. I'm so happy we're talking about it because I think that is a big opportunity. And I think that happens way too often. I think we want to hold people back, because again, maybe we're not doing a better job of finding different people that are, you know, it's gonna be the next up, but shame on us, right? Like we can't hold other people back for other opportunities. So it's crucial to create that kind of environment that, you know, you have to be okay with giving people up. You gotta let them grow. You gotta challenge them in different roles. And, yeah, there's gonna be times where they're not ready for it. But you can't stump their growth by holding them back. I think we see that too often.
Yes. And don't take it personal. Like if you have someone, let's say theoretically, you have to leadership positions in your store and you have someone that's ready for leaders that a lead ready for a leadership position, but you don't have any free rolls in your store. Any open seats, you have to be willing to talk about the other seats and the rest of the year in the neighboring locations. Because if you don't it is. You can't you can't hold that person back. And so when you're talking about these growth opportunities with your team, use that as an opportunity and a platform to help. I may be helped touch base, their level set on what their succession plan is for their store. So hey, Alice, you know, super excited that you what you want for in the next six months. So let's talk about it. You know, in your mind who do you think would be up next? You know, you add so much value to this team, you do X, Y and Z. Can you partner up with that person for the next six months and just really just build a great relationship? And so when it's time for you to leave, there's a smooth transition out of the business and then into the new role for that purse for the back feel. Does that make sense? So that's just my two cents there. Um, the next, the next one out. Alice's offer flexibility. You know, this is kind of a tough one for the retail environment. How do you suggest that store managers do that?
This'd is definitely a hard one. Because, you know, you want to be consistent. Um, I know when I was a store manager, we had power ranking. So we've always other top. We always had the bottom. So with the flexibility part, I think within the retail landscape, maybe if they were number one in your power ranking, maybe you give them an opportunity to make their own schedule whether they eat up all the labour hours. Or maybe they have the next weekend off. You know, I think making it fun. I think that's one. But you can't just do it for one person. I think it has to be consistent. Don't you think, Brennan? Um, I think it could easily be misconstrued as favoritism. But I think if you as a leader, create a fun environment for your team, that if somebody is winning, maybe you do something fun. But you got to keep it consistent throughout the year. If you're gonna let the number one person change their schedule or have a holiday off Or maybe whoever wins four weeks in a row, it could be something fun. But it has to be a consistent thing because we can't just do it for one person and not the other.
Yeah, no, I agree. Um, you know so often we get tied into these policies would get tired of the into these fears. And I would just say if you could explain it, do it like if this person is that great of a performer and you want to give him a weekend off, give him the weekend off. And just like you're saying with consistency, Alice, when that next employee comes ahead, why did you let Brennan take the weekend off? Well, Brennan's made Brennan's been number one for the last three weeks of Brennan's done this this and this. Right? So we're gonna say I'm helping. I'm gonna celebrate that by giving him Friday, Saturday, Sunday off and let him enjoy his weekend. You know, I would love to see you get to hit the same KP eyes and I'd love to help you. How can I help you hit those KP eyes or do that? And so we can get you the weekend off to? Absolutely. If you're the type of manager that gives your best friend hires your friends because you can't hide because you don't know how to acquire developing, retaining talent. Shame on you and maybe we'll do another podcast on that. But if you're if you're a solid manager and you're being fair to your team and being consistent shit given flexibility, give them what they want. They've earned it the next one. Alice. Make it a habit. What do we mean by
that? Well, you don't mean just doing it like once every six months. I'm teasing, but I think just making it a consistent part of her day. As I've said in the past, my my husband works in a retail as well, and he's kind of an introvert. He's not very talkative and crazy, outgoing like I might be. But what he's done is create a great routine for himself. So what he's done in his role is the 1st 30 minutes of his day. He makes it a point to go around and acknowledge every one of his employees and say hi. And at first I was like, You don't already do that. You know what? The head, Wow, why are you doing that? But it's because that in the fast paced industry, we don't make the time to do that. So making it a habit every the beginning of his shift for 30 minutes, he just goes around and says, Hi. I think that's an amazing routine that you could d'oh just to acknowledge everybody and touch base with everybody. But I think just creating any sort of habit that you could commit to, whether it's once a week, maybe you commit to 30 minutes to an hour to ensure that you're acknowledging your team. I think that's crucial. Maybe it's a Monday. Or maybe it's a Friday on the busiest Friday. Well, Friday is always busy, right? Well, in our retail world nights and weekends, and Friday is usually the peak of the start of it. Just making it fun for your team and just creating a habit for yourself any time of the day, any time of the shift. But keeping a consistent. I think that's huge
Yes, I agree. I love that, too. I mean, it's it's a freeway to go impact, have a positive impact on impact on your team, so and it's authentic. Also, I think that's the key. I think that he actually cares about his team and wants to have a connection. Is that right? That is authentic.
Yeah, you know what? Here's the craziest thing. I think he's been doing this for quite a while now. And he received an email from corporate office or something like that because a customer caught on Ah, customer was observing him and saying, Wow, this guy was just going around not just checking upon task but, you know, asking how their employee was doing and saying, Hey, great job here that the customer picked up on it. So as a consumer that's purchasing something for them to see it and experience it, that's like, Wow, you know, I'm over here like praising my husband's great, I guess, uh, you know what he does, but it's not just for your employees, but your customers could feel it, too, and it comes off very general because it's not like he told the customer to write that you know, a customer just wrote a letter Thio corporate office, and it bounced back to him and like, that's That's phenomenal, you know, because nobody told them to do that. Nobody made him do it. But it was something that he's created in himself and that culture that he creates in his store. So for an outsider lurking looking in as a customer, I think that's phenomenal.
So that's a great Segway into our next point, the mistakes that we need to make sure we're avoiding as leaders. So the 1st 1 of those is expressions of gratitude that are inauthentic or sweeping January generalizations. That's kind of what you brought up in the beginning about that conference call, right, Alice,
Right? Exactly. And you know, um, if you're going to get to know your team, then remember their name. Do you watch the office? Brennan.
I actually do not. I need to. Maybe we'll catch up over the next couple weeks.
Maybe, But you know, there's this episode with Michael's got a Steve Carell's character where you know he's the office branch manager, and I don't really remember the episode very well, but, um, I think there was second guessing his salesmanship and how good he was at selling. But you know, I think it's good cause if you have, like 150 lot of employees is kind of hard to keep track of everything. He actually has a role of backs off all his customers about what's big for them, like what would ever make some happy and the things to avoid. And it was kind of funny to me because I get it like I understand why he has to write it down. He has a lot of customers, but you know you don't like. I don't have a great memory sometime. Maybe you write those things down so you don't offend your employees when you don't remember their name. And I remember, like just listening to that conference. Call him like all this person's kid's name is this. I'm like you completely got it wrong and you know how catastrophic that could make the call or how that employee feels when you get it wrong. It just comes off. So in genuine
you know, the same time, though I wantto kind of backtrack a little bit because, you know, honest mistakes do happen But I just I do think that trick there is How is your son? How's your daughter? How's the kids, right? Like I think a lot of, Ah, I think a lot of store managers. You guys have a lot of team members in your store. I think it be impossible. Tito asked for you to remember every one of your mother's name of other every employee's mom's name. So don't go that deep. That I guess that would be the solution. If you're if you're being genuine, if you're being genuine and you and you actually do care, don't mess it up by messing up the name. That's a funny one to me. But there's I mean, there's always other expressions of gratitude that, you know, um oh, um, every single time, every single week I'm going, I'm going to say, Great job for this. I mean, come on, like phrase you have how many times we heard someone phrase the celebration, the exact same way, like a robot, right? So I would just I'd just be you like off. Oftentimes we get so caught up in corporate culture or being so stiff and just so one dimensional might just be you and build the relationship with your team, get to know him and then celebrate in genuine ways. And if there's nothing that you confined to celebrate, then don't force it, I guess. But maybe your step back and say Damn okay, What's going on? Why can't I find Let me do some sort of soul searching? Why can't I find something to celebrate the next one? Neglecting stand standard company procedures. So you kind of touched on this a little bit with the favoritism thing, Alice. But do you have anything to add here?
You know, it talks about annual reviews and quarterly check ins. I think this is extremely crucial. Um, I think there are too many times where say we're doing a mirror evaluation where a leader, my neglect, giving somebody feedback because, oh, they don't qualify for a merit or they're just too new. I don't think that matters, right. I think if there's an employee, maybe they started a week prior to this quarterly check in. I think it's still warrants giving, providing them feedback. Start what was great. And, you know, I'm so excited for you to be a part of this team already. See, you're doing great with identifying where our footwear is in the stock room or you're amazing with our customers. I see that whenever a customer walks in, you put down your tasking, you go greet them and you already having conversations. You know, we still want to ensure that we're checking him with every single employee, no matter how long they've been with us, whether or not they don't qualify America increase or quarterly check in. So I want to make sure that we kind of hit it, that you want to make sure that there's a company standard for a procedure that we include every single employee, no matter how old they are with the company, I would say how old but not age wise, but how long they've been with the company. So this is definitely big for me because I've seen it in the past where they're like, Well, you've only been here a week, you know. Sorry. You know, you know, we'll just get it next time. You can't do that. You can't do that at all. So please don't neglect what the company wants us to do, especially when it comes down to annual reviews and quarterly check ins. Because it's not a waste of time. It definitely isn't. It gives you an opportunity to celebrate them, challenge them and really set some expectations. If they're definitely two new. Well,
I have nothing to add their but great job. The next one, though. Alice, I think this next one is super relevant for us letting employees feel isolated from co workers or the larger organizations. I mean, appreciation. Appreciation is hard to scale, right? But you can never You have to make sure the that you're not isolating maybe a department on employee or like a segment of the business. What are your thoughts here, Alice?
Wow, that's all I could say. Um, you know, while we're on that topic, Brennan, what would be a great solution to this? Because I think this happens. Ah, little too often, right? I think in the retail industry, we have you know, we have corporate offices. We have the field within the corporate office or so many departments, and how do you get everybody engaged? What would be a great solution for this? Brennan, I
think that a lot of times well, let me just start off rewind a little bit. A lot of organizations have, like diversity and inclusion and bias training, right? A lot of organizations do things like that. It's but they stay on the surface, right? Obviously, we want to create a diverse team that represents all genders, sexual orientations, uh, preferences. All that right. Obviously, we want to create an inclusive environment that lets everyone be feel like they're heard. But let me ask you this. How often are we so narrowly focused on on making sure there were protecting the company from, um, discriminating against the protected classes, that we forget that there's another department right down the hall? Or there's There's another human being right down the hall, and it's okay. You know, the retail world is diverse when these when you're making decisions or you're celebrating people, you know, make sure you're not just celebrating your people, understand all of the state quarters and who your customer really is again. If you want to create, if you want to create a culture of appreciation ingratitude within your organization. But you on Lee celebrate your people or the people that you personally no, you might create that culture of gratitude and appreciation with Onley your people. And instead of working out the way that you think it's gonna work out where Oh, no, we're celebrating people, right? We're gonna celebrate everyone. It's actually creating. It's actually divisive. And it actually does more harm than good, because the others the people that aren't celebrated, whether it's one department, maybe you, maybe you Ah, maybe you forget about one department entirely. Well, that group doesn't. Not only do they not feel appreciated, but they don't feel like they're part of the organization. What do you think, Alice? What? Your thoughts there.
I think you definitely hit all the points there. Um, I'm just gonna be quite Frank. I know a lot of organizations like ours are very large. It's if you don't have the solution, it's okay to reach out and ask. It's just ask for collaboration as how we could really impact the entire organization as a whole. But I think it's understanding that there's gotta be a different way to do it, just reach out for help. I think that's huge, You know, um, you know, that's all I have to say at that.
Are you saying that If you have a great strategy behind appreciation, maybe it does work within your department. Are you saying you should collaborate cross organizationally to share that practice and maybe bring in quote unquote the others?
Yes, I think especially in a large organization like this, we have to ask other people what their ideas might be and be okay with being challenged. And I think we talked about the other podcast about being okay with being uncomfortable, because there's gotta be a different way of doing things and really get inclusive and leverage every partner that we have in this organization to make our organization better.
Yes, yes. And the last piece here that I'm gonna add is do not allow appreciation. Do not make appreciation a check box item. Do not make celebration a checkbox item. Because when you have someone in a position, whether you whether you're a store manager in a position or your and any other level in an organization and you're just checking boxes, people see right through that bullshit, I'll just say, like that just being honest because we've all been store managers. We've all Alice. You and I have both been associates and we know when you're just celebrating because you have to. If that's how you feel, don't celebrate, find something, find something to celebrate that will set you on fire. That ignites your passion and share that with your team. That that that's what I'll leave it at. And then the last one is just sudden or unexplained shifts in your appreciation practices. How does that effect retail team members? Alice, I
think here. I think when it comes down to, if somebody calls it out saying you don't appreciate your team enough, I think when you overdo it, it's overkill. I think you kind of talked about it, but I think if you overdo it, it comes off in genuine and it's not a check box. Like you said, you know you can't just say, Well, all right, well, somebody called me out, so I'm just gonna just do a ton off Appreciation post or something different. As you know, just something out of the norm that you wouldn't D'oh! I think that's overkill, and I think it ruins the entire purpose of it. That that's all I have for this one.
Agreed. And so you know, we really kind of went right off the article. Right? And we really took these points from the article, took him from the corporate culture and took him over to retail. I know you guys got a lot of information just now, so I'm gonna do my best to just simplify, simplify the process for making your team feel appreciated. Be a good person, give a damn about your people and be genuine. I think those I mean, if if they do those three things well, they miss anything else?
No, not at all. I think you simplified it. And it's easy. Great. It's not over complicating, but I think just being genuine and just caring about your people is the first few steps of this process.
Yeah, And if you're not appreciating your people right now, find something tomorrow, find something to celebrate and start celebrating it. And I think you'll see a change in your culture and you'll see a change in your results both for the better Until next week. Another episode of crazy fucking retail. The podcast.
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