We are a relatively small business, employing 25-30 people at any given time; however, we get 2-5 new applications weekly. We do underground construction and have a landscape and rental supply yard in Sutter Creek, California. Because of the extra demand for landscaping supplies through the lockdown, even while construction jobs were on pause, we added every one of them and our kids. We could not keep up, working seven days a week and twelve hours a day. Lunches and dinners were being delivered to the office with a multitude of new take-out options.
Use the Golden Rule with Employees.
I don’t mean that we have an “Employee of the Month”, and we have never served hot dogs on an Employee Appreciation Day. Your employees are likely to be just as unhappy at work eating free hot dogs than when they are not.
What I mean is: We let them prioritize their families. Temporary adjustments in scheduling to care for a sick kid, a school function, or a change in the school schedule…there is always a temporary adjustment. But to any parent, grandparents, or child, it’s everything. All the little humans in someone’s life are always going to be their first priority. Be open and honest about what you can do as an employer to accommodate that for both men and women.
And you know what? This policy is almost never taken advantage of. Have grace when they are going through rough times.
Set healthy boundaries with customers, and get rid of the customers who don’t follow them.
The customer is not always right. In the last two years, anyone in any service industry will tell you that mean customers are becoming the norm. It’s the number one complaint. When I sit at the owner/manager's desk, customers tend to treat me respectfully. However, when I sit at the front office assistant's desk, I noticeably get talked down to, and for nothing.
The fact that someone is helping you, training for their job and working up their skills, or doing a 150% after many years and skills, does not entitle a customer's wrath. It’s concerning that customers feel it’s okay to be pleasant to the owner, and sometimes downright abusive to an employee. Customers that need to feel powerful by cursing at a 17-year-old high school student, working for money for school? Step in! Be the buffer for them. Let the customer know that isn’t tolerated, and stand by that. It’s better to lose a bad customer than a good employee.
What can the general public do about this? Be kind.
If a business is adjusting its hours or services, it’s almost always because of staffing. Be kind. If an employee at a business makes a mistake, remember the times you inevitably have made mistakes as well. If an employee gave you great service, tell them!
And for everyone…
Don’t be the reason someone had a horrible day at work.
We can all be the reason that someone loves their job as customers, co-workers and employers. That is the only way to bring employees back.