Developing Committed Employees

employeeCultivating a competent workforce shouldn’t be a temporary exercise, but a long-term goal.

By Jim Callahan

There is an old story that states that the difference between involvement and commitment can best be explained by likening it to a breakfast of ham and eggs: While the chicken was certainly involved in the meal, the pig was committed.

In today’s workforce, being a committed employee doesn’t mean dedicating every second of your life.It is a grind out there, but certainly not life taking.

However, being committed to the job has its own rewards. That’s true in convenience stores as it is in any retail environment. The following is career advice given to me by personal mentors years ago. It sustained me and can do the same for younger employees and the store managers who train them.

Lot In Life
If you are a lifer in the c-store business, a college student trading your time for pizza money or a working mother trying to make ends meet, there are employer expectations of what makes a good c-store employee. And it holds true all the time, whether it’s working the register or stocking shelves.

Not surprisingly, some employees come to work thinking: ‘Hey, this is just a temporary situation for me until I can find my true calling.’ And that may be true, but until that higher opportunity presents itself, being ready to tackle the job at hand is as important to a successful operation as a great business plan.

In sports, how you practice is how you’ll play the game—after committing all those routines to memory. Whether c-stores are a life ambition or just a stopping-off point, teaching your employees and helping them understand the basic things might set the standard for their entire career, whether it’s in a c-store or elsewhere.

Not that they aren’t a great place to succeed. Today’s c-stores are often part of big corporations with plenty of opportunity for advancement. They are operated by the latest technology, driven by ambitious people, and provide an important service to the community.

This however, is not a c-store infomercial, but a column with simple advice on what c-stores can do to make their jobs more meaningful. Hundreds of thousands of college grads and workers looking for something fulfilling now saturate the workforce.
Demonstrating a certain commitment level can’t hurt and can even put you ahead of the competition. Most assuredly, it will pave the way for future success in whatever you do.

The following is a menu of common sense items:

Excuses are merely reasons to justify failure so avoid them. Be on time every day; give yourself 15 extra minutes to allow for unexpected delays. Don’t clock in until you are ready to work. Bring a great customer-pleasing attitude—today and every day.
Flash a world-class smile. Customers appreciate it. Give your employer his or her money’s worth every shift.
Do your share, and a little bit more. Understand that “if you have time to lean, you have time to clean.” Have a sense of urgency pertaining to even the smallest jobs. Take pride in every job you do—it will surely show through. Help train new employees in a positive way, not with negativity. Avoid gossiping as if it were poison —because it is poison. Make regular cash drops. Remember practice safety. Be well groomed with a clean uniform and an affixed name badge. Practice suggestive and plus selling.You’ll find it feels good. Understand that taking merchandise without paying is theft, and can result in a criminal record and a ruined career.

Again, job commitment doesn’t have to be as deep as that pig. However, just being “involved” often doesn’t translate to employees who are dedicated to the cause.

Jim Callahan has more than 40 years of experience as a convenience store and petroleum marketer. His Convenience Store Solutions blog appears regularly on CSDecisions.com. He can be reached at (678) 485-4773 or via e-mail at jfcallahan502@msn.com.

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