You would think in a down economy the level of service at most businesses would go up, not down as only really good employee’s are left working...but it seems just the opposite is happening everywhere. To put it bluntly, service sucks!
“We can’t find good people”.
“Everyone wants a big paycheck but doesn’t want to work for it”.
“Kids today aren’t willing to work like I did when I was their age”.
I have one hyphenated word for you: Chick-fil-A
Have you ever been to one of their stores?
I eat there ALL OF THE TIME. Why? They have great food, exceedingly friendly service, and do it all for a fair price. The elusive trifecta of business!
Have you ever wondered why McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s (just to name a few competitor’s) consistently hire worse people than Chick-fil-A?
Does Chick-fil-A interview better? Do they pay more? Do they have higher expectations with regards to service? Answer: Yes, not usually, and without a doubt.
Think about it for a second. They consistently hire the same people that you can’t get to lift a finger without being reminded, beg to be friendly, and are frequently unreliable...yet they somehow manage to find the cream of a “bad” crop consistently? By accident? I think not.
“So what are you suggesting we do?”
1. Hire exceptionally friendly people or don’t hire at all. Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A current President said, “You have to be very, very careful because that is the most important decision that we make (when asked about the companies screening/interviewing process). It’s not location, location, location. While that is important, for us it is more about people, people, people and making a good selection. We typically select based on what we call the “three C’s.” Competence, that’s their business acumen and the skills that they have. Character, which is their whole values set, and also their Chemistry, their likability – is this someone we would want our own sons or daughters to work for?” Did you notice he didn’t mention anything about paying a boatload for top talent? Interesting.
2. Once you hire that great person, train the crap out of them on what you expect. You have heard it a hundred times, “inspect what you expect”. I would go a step further and add, “what is not clearly explained and made clear will not get done”. Sounds simple but many companies training program consists of a few minutes with their hiring manager or worse, shadowing an apathetic veteran employee that can quickly “poison” the new hire. Do you get better service at a Hilton or a Holiday Inn? Guess who spends more time on training?
3. Offer to hire people on the spot at businesses you admire. Have you ever received great service from a waiter or waitress (sorry, I think “Server” sounds a bit too p.c. for my taste) a few miles from your club, why not offer them a job? Ever picked up a load of lumber from Home Depot and met a young person that had “it”? That youngster could be your new cart attendant.
4. Quit whining about not being able to find a decent employee. Do you generally hire from ad’s or referrals? Guess which method yields better results (the same principle applies to getting new members by the way)? Does your business have a good reputation in the community? Does your club come off as a fun place to work or stuffy? Blame is a an excuse best handled by looking in the mirror. It’s you, not them.
5. Hold them accountable. This last item is actually the toughest to accomplish, but produces the most long-lasting effects. Every quarter, sit down with your employee(s) and review their performance. Period! Yearly reviews are too infrequent to be effective. The expectations should be clearly stated in writing on what is it is you feel is needed to carry out the job. Once you and the employee agree on action items, you are off and running. I know this last item sounds very basic, but few businesses do the basics well. They instead get mired in the minusha of implicit, not explicit expectations and tasks. Employees that don’t know exactly what they are supposed to do become ineffective and confused, no matter how good they seem(ed) when you hire(d) them. The practice of management by mind-reading is common and in my experience, is a recipe for disaster down the road.