Specialty Food Magazine

Spring 2020

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1220124

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Page 40 of 75

38 SPECIALTY FOOD SPECIALTYFOOD.COM CHEESE FOCUS 6 Communicate early and often. Employees want frequent feedback. They love praise—who doesn't?—but they also deserve to know quickly when they're not meeting your expectations. Zingerman's managers are trained to aim for a four-to-one ratio of positive to negative comments, which keeps leaders on the alert for behaviors to praise. To structure feedback, the Michigan retailer uses a "Liked Best/Next Time" system, says Singleton. A manager might sit down with an employee after a tough shift and ask what the employee liked best about the day and what they think they should do better next time, followed by the manager's perspective on the same questions. "These are coaching moments," says Singleton. Bi-Rite encourages staffers to nominate colleagues for a "Big Cheese" award for going above-and-beyond in customer service or another realm. Honorees get a small store gift card and, perhaps more important, recognition throughout the company. Frieze gives her managers a monthly budget to reward superstars or to use on an employee bonding experience, like a pizza party. "Nothing is more fulfilling than catching people doing great things and praising them for it," says Steven Rosenberg of Liberty Heights Fresh in Salt Lake City. "And there's nothing better than watching an employee blush from getting praised in front of their peers." Asking employees for feedback is another practice among leading retailers. Bi-Rite surveys its 300-person staff annually. Employees can fill out the survey anonymously on company time, using company computers. The results help the human resources team know what benefits people most value and provides insights that might not emerge otherwise. "Employees want to be heard," says Liberty Heights' Rosenberg, who has been in business for 27 years. "They have great ideas and it's important to listen. You think you know it all and have done it all, but a day doesn't go by that a new person doesn't teach me things." Janet Fletcher writes the email newsletter Planet Cheese and is the author of Cheese & Wine and Cheese & Beer.

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