I was in Bloomingdale’s the other day and I couldn’t help but be turned off by what I experienced. As I made my way through the cosmetics and skin care area, it was as if I was swimming through a sea of black-smocked fish that parted to let me through, and then they instantly regrouped once I had passed.
The black-smocked fish? Bloomingdale’s would call them employees – I called them a bunch of giggling girls. It really was unlike anything I had ever seen. There were literally twenty of them (and they were hardly girls but grown women) standing around in groups cackling, giggling, whispering in hushed tones and more.
When I asked one of the women if they carried a particular skin care line, the employee was very helpful and had a smile on their face. After that experience I couldn’t help but think, “Who’s Minding the Store”? Where’s the department manager, the Store Director, someone (anyone) who could realize that this isn’t my Bloomingdale’s experience should be.
THE REAL WORLD TAKEAWAY
Unless you’re a very rare breed of store owner, your employees can and will take advantage of you in your absence.
They do this by showing up late and leaving early. By taking longer lunches. By not doing the work that’s expected, gabbing on their cell phones while they’re punched in and more.
Don’t think it’s happening to you? Then check out other retailers. If you see it happening there (which it is), then there’s a good chance it’s happening to you.
Here’s how to work around it:
- Hire the right manager – That’s a given but easier said than done. I would always opt for someone that’s worked for a big retailer. They may be more expensive but they know the drill and come pre-programmed with a lot of great experience and will help make your business better. The big retailers have stringent guidelines too about the customer experience that a good manager will bring with them.
- Give your employees a to do list for when you’re out – you should already have opening and closing checklists, but maybe there’s some extra work that needs to be done. Give your manager the list to implement, then check up on it upon your return. This is especially good for when you’re out for extended periods.
- Send in the secret shoppers – chances are that your friends and family are shopping at your store already. If that’s the case, then ask them for their honest feedback about their experience. They may help uncover issues with your employees while you’re out.
I’m not advocating that you check up on your employees constantly. That only breeds distrust. Nobody likes working for a tyrant. So don’t let yourself becomes one. But you have to be a realist when it comes to this issue. If you’re giving your employees projects and other things to do and then following up, then it’s just the normal course of how you run your business.