COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- Tom Bandy wasn’t trying to write a book. Bandy, president of BandyWorks, a convenience-store performance software company in Colonial Heights, Va., was merely gathering videos of convenience-store workers and managers for his company’s website.
Recognizing the value of the insights he was recording, Bandy spun the short videos into a 34-page book called “If You Have Time to Lean, You Have Time to Clean.” Bandy describes the project as a comprehensive book of common sense, including customer service and management advice from leaders at c-store retail companies such as Star Express, Eddie’s Quick Mart and Minuteman Food Mart.
Here are three lessons Bandy learned about balancing data with management during his interviews with convenience-store supervisors ...
1. Employees want to be held accountable
In Bandy’s consulting business, he sees how people can be a little scared of data and numbers used to evaluate performance. But through his research, he found not all workers have the same worries about integrating data into employee evaluations.
“I expected people to be terrified,” he told CSP Daily News. “What I was delighted to find was that the top performers have no problem with being held—and holding people—accountable.” Store managers and owners can be tough business people setting strict limits and expectations, and employees will still be proud to work for them, he said.
Slowly rolling out data also helps c-stores get employees on board, he said. “Don’t come in and take them to level five the first week,” he said. “You phase them in and train them and get them accustomed to it."
2. Embrace negative results
For data to have a real effect, c-stores need to create an environment where it’s safe to discuss and share negative results.
“Bad news is OK,” Bandy said. “We want bad news. If you punish people for bad news, you won’t get it.” There’s nothing to be gained by making people feel bad about negative results, he said.
3. Think big picture
It’s important to not fixate on the just the metrics, Bandy said. “The number is the last thing that happens,” he said.
Instead, Bandy recommends taking a look at leading indicators. For instance, asking customers if the bathrooms are clean, if they enjoyed their experience today and if they found everything they were looking for could be more valuable to operators than sales numbers, he said.