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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 26 October 2020
  • Public Relations

5 Ways to Keep Employees Engaged

Mary and Rebecca Merola are the co-owners of Function Junction, a small business that specializes in the best housewares. They’ve coined the term “kitchen confidence” and have made it their mission to help everyone gain it. That push for self-assurance extends beyond their customers to their employees as well. In fact, Mary says, “One of the things that’s important with our team is empowering them, so that they’re excited to come to work and they feel confident when they hit the sales floor.”

But just how do they empower their employees? As part of our new small business advice series, they shared five tips with us:

1. Be reachable.

“They have my cell number, my office number, my email. I make it very clear that I am always available directly,” says Mary. Her accessibility provides an open door for any and all employee questions and concerns. It also gives the staff at Function Junction peace of mind knowing if they have an issue, they can voice it quickly.

2. Understand them on a personal level.

Knowing your employees’ family, pets, likes and dislikes can help you create a better environment and more opportunities for success. “It’s not just a number on a paycheck,” Mary says, “it’s somebody I have a relationship with and that relationship benefits both people.”

3. Present them with new challenges.

When new opportunities arise at Function Junction, Rebecca and Mary like to make them available internally first. They have employees who can help with tech needs, direct sales needs—and even refinishing the store’s fixtures. By turning to their employees first, Rebecca and Mary are able to get the job done while giving their employees a newfound sense of ownership and pride within the store.

4. Set an example. 

When talking about setting an example, Rebecca shares, “There’s nobody better on the sales floor than my wife, Mary.” The owners of Function Junction see that skill and positivity reflected back in their employees. They are energized and excited to work with customers and emulate what they have seen from their boss, Mary. 

5. Build and maintain trust.

“I’ve learned over time there are a lot of different ways to solve a problem,” Mary says. “Let employees know it’s okay to make a mistake as long as they are trying and using their best judgement.” Building trust with your employees gives them the room to make mistakes (which everyone does) and own up to them. It empowers them. That said, trust is a two-way street. As much as you need to trust them, they need to trust you too.

 Small business owners who want to engage their employees only need to make a few changes and will likely begin to see things moving in a positive direction.

Want more small business advice? Check back soon and be sure to follow us on social media! Our series features insights and ways to implement changes from small business owners across the country.


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