One of the emerging issues pawnshops in the 21st century will confront is the acquisition and retention of motivated hourly employees. Obviously, there are several institutional avenues one can follow such as Craigslist, want ads and/or online services such as Indeed.com. But, what if the answer is internal? What if the solution is to make your store (in my words) an Attractive Pawnshop? Large, publicly traded companies that have a reputation for being a good place to work will always have plenty of candidates readily available and eager to work for them. Examples include Disney, Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, UPS, The Container Store, and Whole Foods. Don’t forget, most larger companies all started as a single entity before expansion. So, the question is, what does it take to make my shop an Attractive Pawnshop?
By giving employees what they want – not in terms of the highest pay or the best benefits, but in terms of appreciation, challenge, growth, and opportunity. Attractive Pawnshops naturally recruit, select, and retain the best because they recognize that people are critical to the shop’s success and they act accordingly. Here are some examples of what Attractive Pawnshops do:
- Treat employees with respect. The golden rule applies here – treat employees exactly how you wish to be treated.
- Have clear rules and apply those rules fairly. Publish and post and written set of policies that apply to all employees, regardless of age or seniority.
- Communicate clearly to employees. Institute a set schedule of staff meetings (weekly, if possible) and keep all employees up to date with the recent events, trends and new products.
- Listen to employees. Make sure you, as an owner or manager, are always available for feedback and suggestions for improvement.
- Act flexibly. We all have personal lives that throw curveballs at us such as kids, illness, educational demands, etc. Pawnshops with flexible scheduling will always be a more attractive place to work.
- Reward excellence. This isn’t always about money. Bonuses and pay raises are always welcome, however, recognition and acclaim from their peers can be similarly effective.
- Make work fun. Regular store events (parking lot sales, daily in-store sales competitions, simple hugs and handshakes for a job well done) go a long way to infuse your store with life and energy.
- Recognize employees’ abilities and have a plan for maximizing their potential. Arrange for educational opportunities such as GIA classes and then pay for it. The return on investment is priceless.
In a survey conducted by Humetrics in February 2017, 500 HR directors all across the country were asked about methods for acquiring new employees. 55% of respondents cited referrals as their best source of new hourly employee recruits. As I always say, your employees are your best advertising. This doesn’t just apply to keeping and retaining customers but also keeping and retaining employees. If you can apply all the rules you normally use for customer care to employee care, you’ll have what it takes to become an Attractive Pawnshop.