As the summer breeze ruffles our hair and we feel invigorated to face the final weeks of the year, for many businesses this time means hiring casuals. In a few weeks there will be school leavers, holiday backpackers and others who will be seeking employment over the coming months, so how do you prepare your team for them and how do you engage them to get the best out of them?
In business we are constantly hearing and promoting "team work" and "team values", but when it comes to casuals do you include them?
I know of some managers who say, they are only here for a short stint so why put the effort in. If you want your business to prosper during this time and for customers to come back well after the summer season has finished then you need to make the time to include them.
Here are five tips on how to build your whole team:
The casual may only be with you during the busy holiday period or long term for a few hours per week, however, they are part of your frontline team that is engaging with customers therefore they must be aligned with the values of your organisation and have an understanding of the workplace culture. To often the casual is thrown onto the frontline with no idea what your expectations are, even simple courtesies. How do you welcome a customer when they enter your business or answer the phone?
Spend the time in providing training to the new team member, not just on the job training. When learning new skills, team members need to experience learning in a variety of ways:
Buddy them up with one of your existing "superstars" in the workplace and encourage them to ask questions (it's the best way of learning).
Have a staff meeting and introduce them to the whole team. It's a great way to plan for the busy times ahead, ask questions, make suggestions and share ideas. A team that is focused and engaged in providing the best service experience to every customer is a team that works well together and has customers returning and referring.
If you have a staff room you can also use the room to help build company unity with a photo wall where team members have their photos posted with a short personal introduction. This is a great idea for shift workers. If you have a team that work offsite send a photo and a short bio on the new team member, they may not always get to meet them in person but if they are speaking to them on the phone it's always great to match a face with a voice.
Engaging Your Customers
There is more to customer service than just saying hello and handling a transaction, it's all about the experience and making it an interaction. Who are your customers and do you have tourists visiting your business? If you do, are you aware of who speaks another language on your team, even the junior casual maybe learning a language at school, sure they may not be able to hold a long conversation (or perhaps they may) but they can at least welcome overseas tourists. How often do we love to hear another Aussie voice or even someone welcoming us in English (even if it's their second language) at the end of long day of touring when overseas and you just want to order a meal without trying to decode the menu!
Answering Questions and Empowerment
Tell the casual what to say when a customer asks a question and they may not know the answer. Do they know who to go to on the team to ask if you are not there? Customers expect every team member to know the answers, even if they have a trainee name badge on, customers don't want to hear "don't know" with a shrug of the shoulders or a glazed look, like a deer caught in the headlights.
Let them know that they can be proactive and not just reactive to situations.
Most importantly is respecting all of your team members and they in turn respecting each other, so that when they do come in to work, they work as a strong team.