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How to overcome the challenge of staff engagement video


Check out this video featuring Kumar Gurdita, owner of Queen’s Quay Convenience in Toronto, as he explains how he engages and motivates his staff in order to provide the best shopping experience for his regular customers. Video by Brandon Gray.

John Donne famously wrote that no man is an island, and the same can be said of convenience-gas owners. You can’t expect to run a successful business without the help of qualified and dedicated staff.

Staffing is a big issue in this business, with 67% of 2012 Independent Insights respondents expressing some level of concern about staff engagement levels. While 33% report that staff engagement is not a problem, 67% report that it is either a minor or major problem.

Employing part-time staff is a reality of the c-gas world, but it can be difficult to encourage maximum output from staff who are not in the store regularly, and are often working for a short or seasonal term. Still, many retailers understand just how important it is to make the most of strong employees on the front lines with customers every day, and are doing whatever they can to make, and keep, those workers happy.

Like Kumar Gurdita, who focuses on educating his employees with a daily book of product and promotion updates and encourages positive interaction with customers.

“I train my employees to talk to the customers, to give them the daily special, and to tell them what’s new,” says Gurdita, who owns Queen’s Quay Convenience in downtown Toronto. “And once you find out their names, you should call them by name.”

Brenda Kinney, who manages Copperside Foods 2 in Terrace, British Columbia, believes in giving her staff more responsibility; if they feel they’re a part of the business, they’ll be more likely to work hard to see it succeed.

“I let my staff come up with ideas they want to try in the store to get them all involved,” Kinney says. “Don’t tell your employees how you want things to be – work with them, coach them, and allow them to try and sometimes fail at assignments.”

Survey respondents offered many other staff motivation suggestions, including actively engaging employees in conversation, organizing incentive contests, holding weekly meetings to discuss ideas, and taking an interest in their lives and trying to understand their motivation for coming to work.

Retailers need to feel comfortable with the employees they place on the store floor every day, so they should take the time to get to know them, educate them, and use their skills and passion to build stronger relationships with customers.