Seek and Destroy

By | September 8, 2016

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When the anticipated grocery store finally opened in town, it was a breath of fresh air. Staff was very well trained on product knowledge and customer service. Employees went out of the way to help customers, and every bagging person offered to take your cart to your car for you.

Fast forward two years. Cashier conversations are more about wanting to go home, complaining about sore feet, and asking for donations to the charity of choice with a frown following your polite denial of that request.

What happened? Turnover and microwave speed of training for the replacements.

What is this going to look like in two more years? Exactly.

It’s high time managers decide to seek and destroy the bad behaviors than can creep into a well-trained staff every time turnover happens.

Train, train, train

What is the difference between the training for opening the location versus the training for replacement employees? First, the commitment. Everyone wants to put their best foot forward with the opening of a new location. The focus on training is better and the training is more consistent.

Second, the original employees are being trained “offline.” The customer (and labor cost) pressure isn’t there. Ask yourself when you are training a replacement employee: Where is your focus? What does your training program look like? Who are your instructors? Here lie the answers to your bad habit creation.

Correct behavior immediately

Bad behaviors are like weeds: Catch them early and they are easy to control, but once they set down roots, the effort to remove them is extensive.

I hear from clients about employees asking for multiple days off during their initial probationary period. My first question is: How did we get here? Taking action on the fourth day off request is four days too late. The first day off request during this initial employment evaluation time is the time to take action to stop bad behaviors.

Hold the bar high

It’s a common tale. Short staffed, difficulty finding qualified applicants, and pressure from employees doing extra duties covering for the open position. At this point, so many managers lower the bar of expectations in order to just fill the position. Don’t look now, but this is the first bad behavior that needs to be destroyed. Once the boss lowers the bar of expectations, everyone else will follow suit.

What bad behaviors do you need to seek and destroy first?

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