Columnists David Brown The importance of staff communication

The importance of staff communication

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This may seem an unusual topic – after all, telling staff what’s going on in the store should be a forgone conclusion. But sadly, it’s one of those things that so often gets forgotten about during the daily process. Often you forget who has been told what and with many stores running casual staff on different shifts, not everyone is on deck at the same time.

 

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David Brown
The result of failing to communicate regularly is more than just uninformed staff. It can make you look silly to your customers. There has been more than one occasion where a customer comes in to ask about a product advertised only to find the staff member has no idea what they are talking about! The impact can be a loss of credibility to your customers, while the poor communication can become a disease to your team.

The “positivity meter” reading for your staff is measured in direct proportion to the amount of information they are told. The more they are aware of what’s happening and what’s expected of them, the happier they will be. Show me a store with poor morale and I’ll show you a store whose owner/manager doesn’t talk enough to the staff.

I’m sometimes guilty of drawing too many sports analogies in my articles and presentations. I make no apology for this, however, because at the end of the day, running a business is just a sport where you don’t get your clothes dirty. You still have a playing field. You still have opposition. You still have teammates... and you still need a huddle.

The best business huddle is the daily meeting. This should follow a set agenda each day and focus on the key areas of information that staff needs to know. Amongst these key areas are the two most important:

  • Where we are now?
  • Where we need to get to?

If you aren’t keeping your staff informed of what the monthly/annual budget is and how you are tracking compared to it, then you are asking them to play the game without a scoreboard. What coach would expect his team to play and not tell them what the score is? How will they know whether they are ahead or behind?

If you have a number of staff working split shifts then this can still be dealt with. All the information for the daily meeting needs to be recorded in a diary and ensure that the same message gets passed on by appropriate staff as new people start their shift. This way everyone gets the same information.

In addition to the two key points above the meeting should cover a variety of topics including:

  • Housekeeping
  • Procedural updates - any changes in the system or how you do things
  • Item clearance - ways and means to move old pieces that aren’t selling
  • Who is present and who is away
  • Customer issues
  • Other topics as you see fit

The primary emphasis however needs to be sales. How the business is performing and where it needs to go. I have seen businesses literally transformed from the process of holding a daily meeting. The store suddenly develops a sense of direction that previously was lacking. The owner is forced to become more accountable and organized as are the staff and this is to the benefit of everybody concerned.

Take the steps now to maximise your business with daily staff meetings.

David Brown is president and founder of The Edge Retail Academy, a company offering industry benchmarking and management advice to increase profits. If you would like more information on how The Edge Retail Academy can help you control your inventory and add more dollars to your bottom line contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , call 877-569-8657 or visit www.edgeretailacademy.com.

 
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