PEMBROKE, Mass. — The Laundromat industry has typically not had top-quality employees.
Many “Laundromateurs” have told me about putting up with lateness, absence, personal problems and loafing on the job.
One operator spoke about arriving at his shop and finding the staffer out back smoking marijuana. Another operator complained that his staff colluded to slow down their pace.
When an operator recently said to me, “What can I do? These are the best people I can get to work in the industry,” I decided to write this column.
AN EXEMPLARY EMPLOYEE
Go through the traditional ways you hire a staffer and hire the best applicant. But inform him/her that you’re a demanding boss.
Make it known that you insist that he/she become an exemplary employee: someone that shows such enthusiasm and concern that customers take notice.
This doesn’t mean that a staffer has to be gushing over with energy and enthusiasm. Some low-key people aren’t built that way. But even these individuals can show that they care about the customer by paying attention to detail, by checking in with the customer to see that everything is all right, and by taking pride in the business.
While a mediocre employee will get irritated when there’s a problem, an exemplary employee will never lose his/her cool. He/she will solve the problem with due diligence.
When there’s a backlog of work, a mediocre employee will work at the same pace. An exemplary employee will rev up, moving extra fast, showing a concern for waiting customers.
At the same time, you can’t take the exemplary employee for granted. You need to convey how appreciative you are with his/ her superior performance. You must compliment the staffer frequently. You want to point out that the business’ success is due to exemplary staffers.
For instance, you might state that several customers praised the staffer. You want to give preference to your exemplary employee, offering him/her choice of hours, shifts, breaks and the like.
Finally, you need to show appreciation in more than just words. For instance, you might hand the staffer two tickets to a ballgame, saying that they were given to you, but you couldn’t use them.
You are lucky to be in a labor market where the employer has the upper hand. Make good use of this opportunity.
Missed Part 1 of this story? You can read it now HERE.