Employees: Hiring Them…Managing Them…Keeping Them
For an attended store, there’s no denying that employees are a key component of a store’s success; they truly are the “face” of the business.
This means that hiring the right people in the first place is critical.
Hiring: Hire the Best, Forget the Rest
I have hired hundreds of people over my 20-year career prior to laundromat ownership. Did they all work out? Were they all the best person for the job? Of course not.
When someone shows up to interview for a job, you are usually seeing their best. I say “usually”, because you do sometimes get the young kid who keeps checking his phone during the whole interview. Or, the person that clearly doesn’t want to be there. They showed up to fulfill their unemployment obligations to keep the checks rolling in.
However, its not hard to pluck out the ones who truly want to work. The difficult part is finding that individual that wants to do their best and will show up to work on a consistent basis. The following tips will help weed out the fluff and let the cream rise to the top.
- Use the same questions for every person you interview. A quick google search will give you more sample questions than you will ever use. Find questions that relate the most to the position you are hiring for.
- Take notes during the interview. Don’t rely on your memory of every interview you had over the past few days. With notes you can compare your top picks and see who gave you the best answers in writing.
- The talking needs to be 80/20. They need to do 80% of the talking. You need to keep your mouth shut and take notes. How much are you going to find out about your interviewee if you do all the talking?
- Awkward silence is ok. If they need a moment to get their thoughts together, give it to them. When working with my customers, I would rather my employees think for themselves rather than spit out canned answers. The interview is a good place to see how they react.
Managing: Train and Empower Your Employees
Whether you are training your janitor or a new attendant, your training methods need to be effective the first time.
Who wants to spend time retraining the same person over and over? Or worse yet, lose a good employee who is just not getting it because your training methods are ineffective? This step-by-step process will streamline your training and get your employees up to speed in no time.
Train the Trainer: 6 Steps for Effective Training (#5 makes all the difference!)
- Have a plan – Preferably, have a written out plan with the steps of the task clearly outlined (even the obvious ones). With a written plan, your trainee will always have a reference to go to as a backup. This way there are no excuses down the road if the trainee gets lazy and decides to skip steps.
- Break up the training into manageable chunks – For more complex tasks, break the training up. This way you can make sure the first part is fully understood before moving on to the next task.
- Explain, Demo, Watch, Correct/Confirm – People learn faster by doing. Start by fully explaining the process. Then demonstrate while explaining it again. Next, let them give it a shot. Have them explain what they are doing as they do it. This will reinforce the training in their minds. As they are performing the task, confirm what they are doing right and correct any errors along the way.
- Keep the experience positive – You don’t want your trainee getting frustrated. Frustrations lead to mistakes. By keeping the experience positive and light, they will pick it up faster and walk away with more confidence.
- Give them the “why” – If they know why something is done a certain way, they are more likely to to repeat the task correctly. The “because that’s the way I want it” attitude without a why will leave your trainee to guess. This will lead to frustration down the road for both you and them.
- Ask for feedback on your training methods – After your trainee is up to speed, ask what you could have done to improve the training program. Having gone through it and knowing the job now could lead to invaluable advice to improve your training program.
By following the steps above, your training will become consistent and much more thorough. This will free you up to manage your store instead of micro-manage your store.
Micro-managing only causes your employees to feel insignificant; that they can’t be trusted with even minor things.
To combat this micro-managing culture in your store, trust your employees with minor customer service decisions. Allow them to use their discretion when it comes to refunds or other customer issues. They will feel that they have a voice in the business which encourages loyalty and longevity.
Hire Correctly, Manage Effectively and the Rest Will Take Care of Itself
If you hire correctly the first time, and manage effectively once they start, your employees won’t want to go anywhere else. The keys are to train them, empower them and respect them. (An occasional token of appreciation wouldn’t hurt too.)
Employees are the “face” of your business, remember? There’s no cutting corners. Do right by them, and they’ll do right by you.
About Randy Dobbins
Randy is co-creator of Laundromats101.com, and owner of two laundromats in the Sacramento area. In his former life, he spent 25+ years in management across several industries, including commercial laundry. He’s a professed gadget geek and DIY wizard.
For more in-depth information, we’ve created The Laundromats 101 Complete Guide to Purchasing a Laundromat, which includes an entire chapter devoted to delivering stellar customer service while increasing profits.
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