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Posts Tagged ‘employees’

Staff. They’ll never do the job like you do it.

And that’s okay.

It might even be better than okay, it may be a revelation.

Now, your job will be

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Seriously. This is a universal problem. Every nonprofit group has seen their pool of willing and able volunteers diminish. But if yours is a nonprofit resale shop

you might be getting desperate!

Some of the problem, might be “the people who volunteer are simply getting older and can’t put as much energy into volunteering as they used to.”  Or it could be that with all the pressures on working-age folk, like student loans to repay, people haven’t got the time to volunteer. They’re being Uber drivers or part-timing somewhere. If your area’s pool of potential volunteers cry

“I’d love to volunteer but I haven’t got the TIME!”

show them that they can, indeed, fit volunteering into their lives. After all, what with the child-bearing years growing steadily upward*, and what with more work-at-home choices in jobs**, one could almost argue that 25-50 year-olds have more available-to-participate time than ever.

I believe the key to getting volunteers to be, well, more volunteer-y is to do the same thing you do to motivate shoppers…

tell (and SHOW) them the WIIFM***.

Your message cannot be just that your cause needs helpers… it’s the “What’s In It For Me” factor you need to present. Show, tell, cajole potential volunteers into realizing that heck, volunteering is not just the right thing to do… it’s downright rewarding.

What are time-pressed adults yearning for and what can volunteering with you give them?

  • Sociability: they can perhaps make new friends while volunteering. Belonging: volunteering makes a person feel like they are part of the solution to the problem. And Connection: Making contacts with like-minded individuals whose goals match theirs.
  • And of course there’s always Fun: Whether it’s doing window displays, helping a family decide on a couch, or testing to see if a small appliance works before it’s placed for sale.
  • Another thing that potential volunteers might be yearning to do, is to use their skills. He used to be on the faculty of the business school? Maybe he’s a good match for your Volunteer Coordinator position. She retired from owning a jewelry store? Perfect for your Appraisal Crew. Younger people might be interested in practising newly-learned talents, adding to their real-life experience, or even adding to their resume or college application.

More ways to lure volunteers in:

  • Play up the perks. You get to see, first, all the amazing goodies that we receive! Always yearned to redecorate? Help us set displays to showcase our merchandise! 
  • Overcome shyness. Yes, believe it or not, there exist people who support your cause but aren’t gregarious. They most definitely have no wish to become sales staff. Well, do you have things they can do behind the scenes? Price incoming? Do internet research? Maybe health is an issue? Are there tasks they can contribute from home… washing and ironing, polishing silver? Letting the public know there’s more than one way to volunteer might require some imagination on your part, but could be super rewarding.
  • Overcome their fear of over-commitment. Many potential volunteers wouldn’t mind spending some hours in your shop, but they can’t promise to come in every week, at a given time, on a given day. If your business can work with casual hours, let them know you’re happy to see them whenever (and keep in contact, so well-meaning but overbooked volunteers don’t forget how much fun they have when they come in!)

And once you have them, keep them enthusiastic and productive:

  • Make sure they know how much they are appreciated. Surprise nibbles in the break room, little holiday gifts, public praise are real motivators. As are yearly or semi-yearly certificates they can take home. It goes without saying, doesn’t it, that a birthday card will be in their home mailbox every year?
  • Sponsor off-campus get-togethers. Not only will even something as simple as a Dutch-treat breakfast be appreciated, but they will get to interact with fellow volunteers whom they normally don’t work with.
  • Let them choose. If your charity raises money used as scholarships or grants… make sure your Board of Directors has one segment of that process that is decided by a vote of the volunteers. There’s nothing more powerful than volunteers working to raise funds because they want to see your charity help renovate the old theater or give money towards a new playground.

* “The average age of first-time mothers [in 2018] is 26, up from 21 in 1972, and for fathers it’s 31, up from 27.” From here.

** “Regular work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 140% since 2005, nearly 10x faster than the rest of the workforce or the self-employed.” From here.

*** Our Resaler’s Glossary defines this term.

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Here’s a problem that’s good to have… but it’s still a problem.

A shopowner we’ll call “Overwhelmed” writes:

I’m drowning but in a good way. We have around 1200 active consigners 

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This situation, sent to Auntie Kate, is challenging. How would you handle it?

Messy buns are cute and au courant. Messy clothes? Never.

Messy buns are cute and au courant. Messy clothes? Never.

I have an employee that is making me so frustrated I can hardly keep from sounding off. She’s been with me for six years, but this problem has been getting worse over the past two years. She’s very dependable, likeable, self-motivated, the customers like her, there are many good qualities about her. However, she comes to work every day looking like a bum. She admittedly shops

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“Do you work here?”

Do you and your crew get this question a lot? Could it be because

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Your consignment shop staff wants to learn!

They want to learn… and you can learn how to manage staff too! Click for TGtbT’s best advice on that.

Let us all pause here and have a moment of appreciation for the people who work in consignment, resale, and thrift shops.

Not only do they have all the duties of a “real store” employee: helping customers, keeping stock neat, chasing down those dust bunnies and clearing our messy dressing rooms…

…but they also must have an encyclopedic knowledge of the wide range of brands, styles, and fits every resale shop offers, and in many cases, they have to know what is acceptable and how much it’s worth.

And they really want to learn. Studies show that one of the main sources of job satisfaction is the opportunity to feel competent. To show your appreciation of their enthusiasm,

provide your people with the info they need to do their jobs well.

Such as:

 

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“Being the leader” is the hardest part of the job to many, if not most, resale shopkeepers. We may be self-motivating…. but when it comes to motivating others, we have a lot to learn.

But that’s the thing: being a boss is a learn-able skill! I love this break-down of leadership styles. Each of us needs to be each of these, at different times and even, sometimes, with a different support staff.What kind of leader re you in your consignment shop?

Graphic from Billzipponbusiness.com

 

There are thousands of blogs and web sites about being the best possible leader of your crew; I suggest you start your education with this resale industry-specific Double Product for the Professional Resaler.

Team Work: Staffing your Store from Too Good to be Threw

Resalers' Resource List: Your Employee HandbookTeam Work: Staffing your Store

PLUS Resource List:
Your Employee Manual

DOUBLE Product!

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