You've just completed (or have almost completed) one of the busiest times you'll face all year. Chances are, it was more than a little stressful for you and your staff. While being overwhelmed at a time like rush or buyback is to be expected, employees who demonstrate certain behaviors when it isn't really busy may be letting you know that they're feeling too much pressure. To keep the good ones around, keep an eye out for the following tell-tale clues.
We've selected the warning signs we feel are most relevant to college retail for the excerpt below, but be sure to check out the rest in the original article on Open Forum.
Heightened Emotional Displays
You might think that emotion and work don't mix, but your employees are still human. When you encounter someone who's crying or upset due to the pressures of the job, it's possible to handle the situation in a way that's both professional and sensitive. Listen, be comforting and focus on the employee. Try to find out what's going on, but don't push them. Don't try to get them to stop crying. Let the tears flow, and resist the urge to consider them unprofessional.
Lack of Team MentalityCohesive teams tend to require a degree of trust among employees. They should think and speak of themselves as members of a team, and communicate openly and not behind one another’s backs. A strong team is not likely to disregard one another’s thoughts and feelings. Encourage open communication among all parts of your team. You can remind them of the benefits of working together through the old adage: “A burden shared is a burden halved.”
Habitual LatenessThis could be a situation where you have to pick your battles. If employee tardiness is disrupting workflow, creating more pressure on other employees and causing problems with clients, you may need to step in. You could talk to the employee and find out what's causing the tardiness. He or she may need to commit to the established start time, or you could come to another acceptable arrangement for both sides.
Decreased Customer SatisfactionWhen employees don’t serve customers well, it may be a sign of being stretched to the breaking point. Or it could be passive resistance to company conditions. Keeping the lines of communication open may help you learn what’s going wrong and why. You might examine whether your mission statement addresses serving customers well, and put reminders of your mission statement around. Set expectations with customers, too. Over-promising may add to employee stress.
Employee Suggestions Going NowhereNo one's saying you should implement everything your employees suggest. But when you don't listen to anything they say, they may stop making suggestions, causing good ideas to die quiet deaths and possibly leading good employees to burn out or even quit. You can act on some of the more potent ideas, or explain why you can’t accept an idea—so the person at least knows you considered it. — Anita Campbell, via Open Forum
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