During The NATSO Show 2013, human resources expert Michelle Fenton reminded operators that great organizations capitalize on their people.
“The only thing that makes me stop with you instead of your competitor 20 miles down the road is because of the people who are inside of your business,” Fenton said. “People are going to stop because of the people they’re interacting with, not just the product you’re selling.”
To improve the ways in which truckstop and travel plaza employees service customers, Fenton suggested operators examine the ways in which they service their employees.
“There is a lot of work the management team has to carry out to make sure that smile is authentic,” Fenton said.
One thing operators and management can do is create a culture the encourages communication. “Go in during off hours to find out what is going on. If you do this well, you can build relationships of your employees. You don’t want your employees to be scared of you. A safe environment results in a good dialogue,” Fenton said.
Operators also need to be sure they give their employees the tools they need to do their job, such as ensuring products are in stock and available. They can also create guides and manuals that outline proper procedures.
“You need to make sure you’re putting the mechanisms in place to create consistency among the employees,” Fenton said.
Overall, Fenton recommended operators spend a good amount of time simply thinking of their employees’ needs. “At the end of the day when you go home, you’re leaving your employees in charge of your employees in charge of your multi-million dollar facility,” she said. “What have you done to make that employee want to take care of you?”