Consistency of opening hours
January 12, 2012
Can Costa compete
February 26, 2012

Pay is always a difficult and contentious issue with all employees and no matter what you do there will always be someone out there who can afford to pay more. Even if we wanted to we could never pay the same rates as the high street chains, but that’s fine because there is much more to a job than just the pay.

We firmly believe people are attracted to and stay in a job for much more than just the pay – you must build a package that is attractive. If a person is worried about the pay then they are almost certainly not the right type of person for your business. Although this is a cliche, your people are your most important asset – after all it’s a service business you are running. Your people are what will make the difference between you and your competitors. We have a saying in Urban Coffee Co: Happy People = Happy Customers = Profit.

Here are my tips for building a package that attracts and retains staff:

– Build career opportunities

People want to know this is not a dead end job, which can be tricky if you are a single coffee shop. If you have plans to grow then share these with employees so they can see a future with the company. Try to train indviduals for the next grade, so a deputy manager should be trained to be the next manager.

– Train your people

You may not be able to pay them a premium wage but you can invest in them. Develop a training programme for all employees that builds up from basic coffee skills, hygiene training, first aid and internal functions, like cashing up. This allows the staff to have things to aim for and shows two-way commitment.

– Reward staff

We have developed a system that allows our managers to award points to staff for doing a good job. The number of points is at the discretion of the manager. The member of staff can then exchange those points for an experience such as a bungee jump. Many companies would opt for giving employees cash rewards and if you asked employees they would probably say they wanted the cash. However, there is some good research that shows that people remember experiences much more than what they spent that extra £100 on.

– Say thank you

You dont need me to tell you that people like to be appreciated and told they are doing a good job. Whether you do this in person (best way) or via email you just note good work and let your people know. Make your staff the superheros. They are the heroes of any coffee shop but make sure they and your customers know it. We feature all our staff on our website and show a mini 10 things you didn’t know about me interview.

– Involve staff

Often easier said than done – getting all your staff together is difficult when you have a seven day a week operation and multiple shops. One method we use is to have a dinner with all salaried staff (2-3 per shop) every quarter and get feedback on our thoughts and plans for the next quarter. All salaried staff have company email accounts so can be asked opinions at any time. We then rely on managers and salaried staff to communicate to non salaried staff and bring their feedback to our attention.

– Pay

Of course no matter what other things you do, you have to pay your staff, and in the UK we have minimum wage so that is your starting point. We pay above minimum wage but not by much. We continually monitor this and try to be as competitive as we can. Wages are our biggest cost by far – any change in these could be the difference between profit and loss, so have to be considered very carefully.

– The place to work

Make your place the place to work, not as easy as it sounds but if you do all of these things then people will talk and you will get a reputation for being a good employer. We receive CVs every week asking for jobs.