Professional Jeweler Archive: Cultivating Success

May 2005

The Store | Managing: Your Staff

Cultivating Success

Vision, standards and a happy workplace will motivate employees

By Jon Parker

"My employees aren’t meeting their sales goals. Why?” I’ve worked with hundreds of jewelry retailers over the past 30 years and I hear that question often. This question points to a sales team issue. And that indicates a systemic problem.

If your staff members aren’t performing at peak capacity, look no farther than your mirror. A store owner is responsible for setting the tone, defining the standards for employees and creating an environment that motivates and encourages the staff.

If your staff is missing the mark, look at the following factors that can enhance employee performance.

Company Goals

What is your vision for your store? Break it into short- and long-term goals:

  • What you want to achieve over the next six to 18 months.
  • Where you want your business to be in five years.

Clearly define these goals and communicate them to your staff. Employees are motivated by opportunities to grow and excel. Ask your employees what they want individually and you’ll hear “sales manager” or “I’d like to become your No. 1 salesperson” or “I’d love to be a buyer.” If your staff members feel like integral parts of your store’s future, they’re more likely to take ownership of their own successes and the success of your store.

Staff Standards

Outline your expectations for every employee in your store. There should be general guidelines for conduct and more specific guidelines for sales staff, management and office personnel. These standards should be accessible to all employees at all times. Post them in your break room and make them a part of your store culture.

Protect the Environment

More money is not the main motivation behind job switching. “Work environment” is the No. 1 reason listed by candidates beginning a job search. Providing your staff with encouragement, educational opportunities, sales seminars and sessions on product knowledge keep employees challenged. It enhances employee perception of their value to the organization and says “we want to invest in you.”


Never forget the power of a word of praise or encouragement. If you have employees who excel, make the effort to let them know how much you appreciate their hard work. This doesn’t always mean money. A thank-you note or dinner out often will suffice. An employee who believes she or he is valued will have a difficult time leaving, no matter how spectacular another job offer is.

The common thread in all of these factors is effective communication. Implementing these steps might not be easy. A few employees might not rise to the occasion and will decide to eave. However, when your staff understands your goals and expectations and knows that their efforts are valued, most will be motivated and work harder for you.

Jon Parker and partner Debbie Dern of DJP Executive Search have more than 40 years’ combined experience in placing skilled professionals in the jewelry industry. DJP is a member of the American Gem Society. Contact DJP at (757) 430-9500.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications