Convenience store employees, and employees of all essential businesses, are being asked to do more for an increasingly anxious customer base. In these unprecedented times, ongoing efforts to improve employee morale should be part of your company culture.
Create a support group of sorts. “We’re all in this together” is more than a catch-phrase for employees of essential businesses. You and your team members are sharing in experiences that others outside the industry can’t possibly understand. Spend some time during team meetings and one-on-one conversations to ask employees how they’re coping. Showing you care through empathy and understanding is the most personal path toward improving employee morale.
Instill a sense of purpose. Your employees are part of something bigger than just your store. They’re providing an essential service to a community in crisis. Have you reminded them of that lately? You can improve employee morale in your convenience store when employees are working with a sense of purpose. Get your employees involved in community service efforts that help people in both your store’s neighborhood and your employees’ neighborhoods. People want to make a difference in challenging times. When you give your employees a chance to do that while they’re at work, you’re accomplishing two good things at once.
Recognize team members who deal with challenging situations. As requirements for face coverings become more common in certain locations, your employees may be faced with unique customer service challenges. You must provide training to help employees handle these situations, and follow up that training by acknowledging employees who handle difficult interactions according to policy. When appropriate, praise employees publicly. If you need to address situations where employees didn’t handle things correctly, do that in private.
Do something fun every day. Playing games at work can be a good thing for employee morale. Especially during trying times, people need a distraction and a reason to smile. While it might not be an appropriate time to setup sales contests or incentives, you could do something as simple as using a whiteboard in the break room to post a mad libs activity or random team-building question, such as favorite pizza topping, favorite movie, or hometown. Not only will employees feel engaged, they’ll learn something about each other in the process. (Make sure you leave wipes and sanitizer by the markers.)
Promote opportunities for career advancement. With the job market not quite so open right now, your employees may be giving more consideration to building their careers with your convenience store. Knowing they have opportunities ahead of them will motivate employees to work harder right now. Identify employees with leadership potential, and then customize their training programs to help them develop the skills they’ll need in management positions.
The recurring theme in these employee morale ideas is to send a message to your employees that they are a valued member of your team, not just for the good of the store, but for the larger community as well.