Your busiest season starts now. Gardeners are eager to get plants in the garden and spring can be a stressful time for garden centre operators and employees. Here’s a few tips to help you ease stress and keep staff energy high.
- Deal with problems ASAP – If a situation arises with a customer or employee, address it as soon as you get the chance. And don’t forget to take the time to listen carefully to the problem.
- Brainstorm – Host an in-store competition where your employees compete to design the best display on paper. It’s a great way to get new ideas for end caps and will show your employees you value their opinions.
- Hand over the reins – Give yourself a break and let one of your employees take over one day or for even just a few hours. They will appreciate the extra responsibility and it might give them an idea of the challenges you face on a daily basis.
- Let your employees say no – Accept that sometimes your staff won’t be able to stay late and let them leave guilt-free.
- Break time! – When things get hectic, it’s easy for things like a lunch break to fall to the wayside. But it’s important that your employees (and you!) take the time to walk away from the cash register, refuel, recover and re-energize, so you’re ready to take on the next batch of customers or tasks.
- Have a rain plan – There’s always the potential for a rainy day. Make sure you have a list of things that can be done inside if inclement weather strikes so your employees are making the best use of their time.
- Give a gift – Allow each employee to take home one small item once the busy weekend is over with.
- Communicate clearly – Take a second to make sure your employees understand what you’re asking of them when you give them a task. Sure, when time is limited, you might be tempted to bark out an order and run to put out the next fire. But if you take that extra few minutes to clearly define the task or demonstrate what you’re talking about, you’re increasing the likelihood that your employee will complete the task correctly, the first time around.
- Buy dinner – After a long day of smiling and greeting customers, treat your tired staff to a free dinner. You can exchange customer horror stories over a meal you didn’t have to make.
- Celebrate the little things – When people are rushing in and out of the centre, it’s easy to focus on the mistakes that were made. Don’t forget the things that went right too! If a staff member does a great job, let them know.