I have a secret. I love to study cashiers at supermarkets. I do the same thing at Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Costco or any place that usually has long checkout lines. I watch the faces and body language of these cashiers, both men and women, and I watch their hands work magic. I watch how they relate to the customer checking out. I play a game with myself and surmise how the cashier feels about the company and how the company treats their employees.
My pet peeve with cashiers surfaces when they engage in full conversations or idle chatter with a customer. Acknowledging the customer with a greeting, speaking quickly when answering questions, or disseminating information is an art, and the best cashiers, the most competent workers, do this quickly and with a kind of grace that speaks "well-trained."
I wonder all the time about the state of mind of the cashier. State of mind interests me most. Is the employee happy or sad or does the employee dislike or love the work? And I wonder what the employee turnover is because of poor working conditions, stress factors, or disrespect for the company's mission statement.
In some instances, your guess is as good as mine. However, every employee thinks he/she should be making more money. That's human and natural in any kind of work, whether it is manufacturing, computer programming, teaching, farming, business or tech systems, or in every sector of the economic food chain.
Putting money concerns aside, I thought about other conditions that might make an employee happy or unhappy in a working environment. I'm not specifically referring to a personal scenario encountered outside the workplace. Everyone at one time or another is sleep deprived or has to deal with unresolved family issues. But what if management got creative and designed protocols that favor happy working conditions? They might see an overall improvement in employee attitudes.
Employees Have Needs
It's axiomatic that when management fulfills the needs of their employees, the more positive the impact on their employees' performance. They become more engaged and involved in their work, and the level of energy, commitment, passion, enthusiasm is more focused.
If these needs are met, does this paradigm correlate with higher corporate performance?
Of course, engaged and happy employees will provide higher profitability, higher customer approval, less theft, and fewer safety incidences. But other motivating factors can come into play to inspire that grocery store cashier to give a little extra effort into her work day, put a bigger smile on her face, and cultivate the ability to stand out as a worker who exceeds her abilities. Management will take notice.
What's Important About Emotional Connection?
My ongoing study of the habits of cashiers at my local HEB grocery store has revealed another and perhaps more important layer of engagement. It's called emotional connection with the job and with the customers. Just recently, I saw a cashier laugh. Yes, this middle aged woman just burst out in laughter with her customer. She was happy! Joyous! I witnessed and I smiled. This happened several more times while I stood in line. Remember the old adage: a happy worker is a more productive worker.
It occurred to me that the way people feel emotionally at work influences how they perform. So if you are sad, you will work with sadness. But if you feel happy, you will work with happiness.
Making Employees Happy Equates with Higher Corporate Profits
If companies meet the core physical, emotional, and monetary needs of their employees, they will create happy employees who enjoy working in a congenial atmosphere where trust in management is a high priority. This mindful management path will certainly correlate with high corporate profit.
As I waited in line one my latest visit to my local HEB store, by the time my happy cashier priced my groceries, I finished compiling a list of questions that both corporate management and its employees might consider as assessment points for creating a company whose workspace was amenable to everyone.
1. Does the company value its employees?
2. Does the company provide a clean and efficient workplace for its employees to focus clearly on their work?
3. Is the mission statement of the company clear, purposeful, and understood so that profitability and worker satisfaction are functionally balanced.
4. Does the company take care of the physical, emotional, and monetary needs of its employees while providing a clear path for solving problems in the workplace?
Job satisfaction, loyalty, more engagement in the goals of the company are key factors in providing employees with a winning attitude of cooperation and a high level of work efficiently because they know that they are appreciated and valued.
Joan Moran is a keynote speaker, commanding the stage with her delightful humor, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. She is an expert on wellness and is passionate about addressing the problems of mental inertia. A yoga instructor and an Argentine tango dancer, Joan is the author of 60, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer. Her new book, I'm The Boss of Me! Stay Sexy, Strong & Smart at Any Age, is now on Amazon.
Visit her website: www.joanfrancesmoran.com
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