When most supervisors, managers, officers or owners are asked why their business is successful, they will tell you that the strength of their organization is the quality of people that work for them. A great challenge, as well as great opportunity, is for a manager to show they value all members of their team.
To this end I would like to offer those in the flooring business a suggestion: institute a monthly “take an installer to lunch day!” Please notice that I didn’t say “buy his lunch” or “provide lunch”, but rather “take him to lunch”. Why do this you ask?
Managers need to get to know their team beyond just their names and work responsibilities. Are they married? Do they have children? What are their outside interests and hobbies?
Each member of your team is unique. By taking the time to learn about one another, the group will become more cohesive and effective. Management needs to trust their representatives’ judgment. It’s hard to trust someone that you barely know!
Most importantly, getting to know the people that work for you allows you to check on your investment. Visiting with the people doing the work of your business can provide insight into how your customers are being treated, if you are using the best practices for efficiency, and what improvements you can make to increase profitability. These are the people doing the job. They are in the best position in the company to report to you how your staff is doing.
I would also extend this offer to support staff as well, as they also regularly interact with both your customers and suppliers. Depending upon the size of your staff, you may need to schedule more than one day per month. So be it! Just make sure that you don’t make it a group outing. Doing so will eliminate much of the candor that you need to experience.
This experience may prove to be somewhat uneasy at first, as the installers will naturally wonder “what’s up?” Don’t be deterred. Once they become assured that you both have common goals, my bet is that it will be a lunch that each of you will look forward to. There is a saying that states we spend time on what is important to us. How many of you are proving your staff’s value to you personally by spending quality time with each and every member of your team?