DALLAS — A couple of columns ago I discussed the staffing challenge that all of us as drycleaning owners have. However, finding great employees is just one part of the staffing challenge.

Another major challenge that owners face is how to keep people engaged and excited about their drycleaning and laundry company.

When discussing employee engagement most consultants focus on the recognition side of the equation. Recognition, whether in the form of employee awards like employee of the month or employee events like pizza parties, is certainly a great way to make your staff feel appreciated.

I strongly encourage recognition at drycleaning companies. However, I’ve found that these serve more as sugary desserts, providing a short-term sugar rush of motivation, but not the long-term sustained engagement for which all of us hope as owners.

Real, long-term employee engagement is much harder because it forces us as owners to do something that we’re often uncomfortable doing: sharing information. As the old expression goes, “information is power.”

As such, we as owners often like to think that it’s critical for us to retain all of the key information regarding performance metrics, financial results and employee compensation. But by doing that, we empower ourselves at the expense of our staff.

As anyone who has been in the drycleaning industry will tell you, there’s no secret sauce in this business. It’s all about execution. So you have to ask yourself: Why are you keeping information from the people best equipped to help you, your employees?

HOW TO SHARE

Unquestionably, the best way to share information with your staff is through the use of daily, weekly, and monthly scorecards. These scorecards should feature Key Performance Indicators or KPIs that give a snapshot of how your business is performing in key areas of the business.

This can take the form of a simple excel spreadsheet or dynamic chart. Sharing this data with employees accomplishes two important objectives: 1) It gives employees a transparent look into the key metrics that drive the business’s success; and 2) It gives them ownership over the business’s success.

As Lyndon Johnson said, “the best way to get someone’s vote is to ask for their help.” At my company we review scorecards on a daily basis all the way up and down the organization.

Knowing that the CEO is looking at these scorecards shows our employees that their work matters and has real impact on our company and our customers.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.