People are the biggest asset of your thrift operation. Your team members are the individuals who will engage with donors when they come to drop off their gently used donated items, welcome customers when they come to shop your store, and host volunteers for an impactful experience. Your employees touch every aspect of your business, therefore you must lead them well.
Leadership is influence and an investment into your team member’s development. Great leadership requires accountability and intentionality. To lead well, consider having defined rhythms of leadership.
Defined rhythms of leadership allow for small deposits to be made over time to each team member. The rhythms we follow are in the moment, morning meetings, monthly reviews, regular 1 on 1 reviews, and one-time events.
In the Moment
In the moment leadership requires intentionality and leaders to be present. It consists of positive feedback and constructive criticism when the action takes place.
- Positive feedback recognizes and encourages a team member for completing a desirable action. Positive feedback reinforces the habits and behaviors we want from our team members.
- Constructive criticism identifies actions we don’t encourage. Constructive criticism is most effective when done in a teaching manner and identifies the behavior we want to see. For example, I saw you receive a donation and place in on the floor. Next time please place it in one of the donation carts for quicker processing.
Positive feedback and constructive criticism shouldn’t exist in isolation. Both are crucial to developing a team member and having a healthy thrift operation.
Each morning our teams start with a morning “huddle” meeting. The meeting is a daily way to set goals for the team and review the highs and lows of the previous day. Morning meetings allow us to recognize success and take corrective action on issues.
Morning meetings are short, but allow the leader to invest into the team as a whole. It is the catalyst for new initiatives and where new ideas can take form.
We use monthly reviews for two main purposes.
- To review the previous month – During our monthly reviews, we will identify the successes and shortcomings of the previous month. This helps us identify opportunities for the coming month.
- Set goals for the coming month – When a team sets goals together the buy-in from each member is higher. It also helps get everyone on the same page for expectations.
Regular 1 on 1 Meetings
Regular 1 on 1 meetings are between a manager and a team member. These meetings happen on a defined rhythm such as 30 days after hire, 90 days after hire, each year, etc. These regular intervals provide natural times to provide feedback, review the prior period, and set goals for the future.
1 on 1 meetings are a crucial aspect when developing team members.
Occasionally, we invest in team members through one-time events. These events should be aimed at training the team member and helping them understand their role better. Many consider the SMCo Thrift conference as an investment in their team members. Conferences are a great way to generate renewed excitement and new ideas for your business.
Overall, remember investing in your team members is a crucial investment in your business. When you make small deposits over time, you will see massive benefits in the long run.
For other video content from the SMCo Thrift team, be sure to check out our video library.