Posted by: joannabrandi | August 20, 2010

Revolving Doors

The sign outside Panera’s said, “Hiring Energetic and Enthusiastic Associates”. I’d seen the sign before, several times, but smiled anyway. Even the thought of energy and enthusiasm gives me a little boost.

While I was ordering my salad, I struck up a conversation with the young (not so energetic) person behind the counter. Betty (not her real name) wore a hand drawn name tag showing her individual creative flair (I guess).  I asked her if they were growing very fast.

“No.” She replied.

“I see that sign outside about hiring new associates a lot”, I offered.

“That’s because this place has a revolving door. We just don’t keep people.”

“Hmm, I would think that if you hired energetic and enthusiastic people they would enjoy all the customer interaction. I find people around here generally friendly.”

Back came an interesting response, “We hire pretty much anybody here.”

Well, that explains it. Clearly.

“That’s a pretty expensive way to do business,” I said. “Yeah,” she said, already bored with the conversation.

My tab came to $8.40. I handed her $10.40 and she handed me back $1.60.

When I brought the error to her attention, she didn’t quite understand, so she went off in search of a calculator. When she finally calculated the transaction she then went off in search of a less than energetic and enthusiastic manager, who had the key to reopen the drawer.

I walked out shaking my head – it wasn’t until I got into the car that I noticed my specially requested whole grain roll was missing – with a deep sigh for the future of the planet, I drove up to the beach to eat my dinner.

I don’t need to tell you what’s wrong with this picture – you can see it for yourself. Here are some questions that you might want to ask yourself so your customers don’t want to tell this kind of story about you.

Do you understand what kind of people make your customers happy, secure, important or special?

Have you identified that values that kind of person has?

Do you have a fool proof hiring system in place so you are sure you are hiring just those kinds of people?

Do you have a way of measuring the basic skills that are necessary for the position?

Do you have an orientation program in place that gets people excited about working there?

Are you checking in on a really regular basis to see how a employees are doing?

Do you know what their strengths are and recognize and affirm them when you see them?

I could go on but you get the point I’m sure. No organization has to have a revolving door, unless you don’t care enough to make it any different.


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