Where's My Sign?

Where’s My Sign?

I stopped into a big-box home improvement store today, and as I was parking I noticed a sign mounted to a light pole, in the closest space by their main entrance, that said “Reserved for Employee of the Month”. I immediately looked around for the parking spot reserved for the Customer of the Month, but couldn’t find it. The space was empty. My first thought was: is it possible that everyone’s performance was so bad, no one “won” the spot this month? Judging from the level of service once I went inside, that’s possible.

As a business owner, I can tell you first-hand how vitally important it is to every business to have motivated, dedicated employees to serve customers; companies that don’t pay attention to that will not survive very long. Happy employees = happy customers. Perhaps a parking spot does that for this company, but I really doubt it. Do they really think employees are going to go the extra mile for customers, try to save the company money, help new teammates get up to speed, or whatever their metrics are, for a parking space? Hopefully, there are other more meaningful rewards tied to this.

More importantly, in a B2C setting, where virtually all of this store’s customers walk past this sign every time they visit, what message does it send? I’m sure there are some who interpret it as a nice thing for this company to do for its employees. I interpret it, along with the absence of a COM space, that customers do not come first here.

All good companies put strong emphasis on trying to attract, hire and retain great employees, and then deliver on keeping them happy. The better ones do that first with customers, because, stating the obvious, if you don’t have customers, you don’t have to worry too much about employee motivation. I’ll be keeping an eye out for their Customer of the Month sign.

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