Keeping staff happy

In David Richardson’s “Motivating Your Core Employees” seminar at The JCK Show ~ Phoenix, held last week, the CEO and head of the Richardson Resource Group, Scottsdale, Ariz., offered 12 great tips to audience members for retaining happy and productive staff.

1) Conduct performance reviews. “Be sure you’ve got an annual performance evaluation system in place,” advises Richardson. And make sure it’s more than just an informal “You’re doing great!” while strolling from one end of the office to the other.

2) Let employees lead sales meetings. Encourage staffers to share their experiences and foster a dialog. “Don’t lecture to them during meetings,” he advises.

3) Give recognition and feedback. “Discuss strategies with employees so they feel ‘in’ on the business,” says Richardson.

4) Ask for employees’ ideas. The speaker relayed an anecdote about a former longtime colleague who could’ve been instrumental in company growth, but the firm failed to utilize him. Consequently, the company failed in its efforts to streamline operations.

5) Have fun—laugh! Don’t be too serious. “Let [employees] know you’re a real person,” encourages Richardson.

6) Create an enjoyable work atmosphere. For example, he suggests, “Make your bathroom nice.” Many jewelers use the restroom as another place for storage.

7) Create meaningful incentives. Richardson suggests implementing bonuses and commissions whereby jewelry or something other than cash is the prize, so that the prize will be remembered.

8) Conduct a store strategy session. Consider where the business is now, and “ask staff what they think the goals for the year should be,” he says.

9) “Orchid” letters. Hang onto letters of commendation and awards, says Richardson. In this way, staff can always feel recognized and valued at a moment’s notice.

10) Trade shows, conventions. Richardson recommends involving employees in these affairs. “Make the experiences memorable, perhaps giving them a certain amount of money to spend on inventory.”

11) Build better value-driven relationships. One way to accomplish strong professional relationships is to praise staffers immediately and specifically, as soon as they do things well—for example, “I really liked the way you displayed those watches.” Avoid de-motivators, “the buts and ifs” that detract from jobs well done, advises Richardson. “Those [de-motivators] are all employees will remember,” he says.

12) Help employees create the magic moment for customers. Employees can—and should, with the storeowner’s help—suggest ways for clients to propose to would-be spouses. “And good salespeople want to,” says Richardson. Once salespersons have offered suggestions to create that magic moment, “clients have a hard time buying the ring elsewhere, because anywhere else the ring is just stone and metal,” says Richardson. For inspiration, Richardson offers a book entitled “Twenty Ways to Pop the Question: Present Jewelry for All Occasions with Romantic Imagination.”

For more information about Richardson or his training seminars, contact him at (800) 338-5831 or visit

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