So your auto parts sales are up double digits over the same period last year, you’ve got your local competitors on the ropes and you’ve still got some new customer business to secure that you just know you’re going to win.
And every day you step into your store you’re dreading what fresh staff conflict you’re going to have to resolve.
You’d think that with sales up and the business growing and evolving in a positive direction that you’d have a happy, contented staff, taking comfort in knowing that they’re gaining on the job security front and, for those in a position to share in the financial rewards of a growing business, seeing their income grow too.
Instead, you’ve got an increasingly unhappy crew with mumbled complaints of having to handle more work with the same number of people and unhealthy rivalries forming amongst sales people who are vying for new growth.
Okay, so maybe it’s not all that bad. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not as bad as Game of Thrones playing out amongst your staff, but it is almost inevitable that growth and change are not universally met with positivity in a workplace.
The usual cause of this a perceived imbalance in workloads and benefits. Even amongst longtime employees who have seen numerous business cycles, if business growth gets too far out of synch with staffing levels, complaints can become chronic.
And then those fist pumping wins from the sales staff can breed resentment and a very unhealthy us-and-them environment can result.
So what can you do?
1–You should recognize that a chronically negative workplace will eventually spread to how your business performs for customers. Either staff performance will drop, or experienced staff will leave, putting inexperienced people on point and customers will notice this lack of experience.
2–Try to understand how many of the concerns are real and can be addressed, and how many are isolated to a single individual or set of individuals and are really about them feeling left our of the winning team.
3—Take action. Once you understand where the problems lie, you need to take action. If that is a one-on-one with an employee, then have those meetings. Explain to employees how they are all helping the company win in the market, and then show them with real tangible rewards. Company bonuses, especially unexpected ones, are an incredibly effective especially among staff members not accustomed to receiving them.
4–Understand that not everyone will ever be completely satisfied with whatever you do. There are some people who will complain about ice cream being too cold, but if you do it right, even other staff will dismiss these empty complaints.
5—Repeat. Workplaces shift and change over time so positive energy can dissipate if you don’t replenish it. It’s an ongoing process that needs care and attention, not a one-time fix.