My brother recently started working at Trader Joe’s. My whole family has been pleased—albeit surprised—that he loves it. Really loves it. He’s a creative type, and we never pictured him in retail. However, he has become the company’s biggest endorser, raving to anyone who’ll listen about its products and policies. He doesn’t even complain when he has to be there at 6 a.m.!
Trader Joe’s has a great reputation for a number of reasons. It’s known for being good to its employees. The company pays well above typical retail wages. (My brother started at more than double what other retail chains offered him.) It offers impressive benefits, even to employees working part time. It’s good to its customers too. When my brother first started, he was delighted to learn that if a customer asked his opinion about a product he’d never tried, he was allowed—even encouraged—to open it there on the floor to sample with the customer. Oh, and the food is delicious too!
All of those are good reasons for my brother to support his new employer. But he has gained even more because he was hired as part of a team opening a new store.
As he raved about his new job in the earliest days, it became obvious to me that the energy and camaraderie developed right before a grand opening were key to fueling his new passion. Whether it’s a start-up or simply a new location opening its doors for the first time, there’s something special about joining a team on the front end.
Of course, we can’t all celebrate grand openings all the time. But you can recreate that feeling with your staff. Here are some ways to do just that:
- Emphasize your mission. Too often organizations barely give their mission statements a second glance once they’ve been written. Employees don’t know it, nor do they care about it. But during a grand opening, everything comes back to the mission statement. If it’s been a while since you reviewed or mentioned your organization or team’s mission statement, pull it out and start referencing it as often as possible. Show how every thing your team does connects back to it.
- Focus on teamwork. When a new store or office is opening, no one says—or even thinks—“That’s not my job.” People chip in to help as needed, where needed. There’s no reason for that attitude to dissipate. Remind your team of your joint objectives and of how everyone’s roles contribute to meeting those objectives. When you take on new employees, make integrating them into your team a top priority.
- Be excited. Attitudes—positive or negative—start with you and spread throughout your staff. Before a grand opening, leaders exude excitement, energy and passion for their work. They make their team members feel the same way. If you’ve been in a rut and lost that enthusiasm, recharge. Focus on what made you excited about your organization at the beginning. Pretty soon your positivity and passion will catch on among your employees.
How do you maintain that grand-opening feeling in your workplace?