Getting More From Low Wage Employees

61056391_31343afdc6 It isn’t uncommon to interact with minimum or low wage employees as a customer. You run into them all the time – at movie theaters, at fast food restaurants, at the grocery store, at Wal-Mart, etc. Low wage employees are a fact of life and equally so, a fact of customer service.

Since such employees (who are often young) are unavoidable, what can you do to get the most out of them? How can you work with minimum or other very low wage employees to get the most out of them?

It isn’t easy, but it is worth it and even necessary if your business is one that depends on such employees. Here are my suggestions for best utilizing these employees:

Pay a little bit more.
If every other movie theater in town pays its starting level people $6.50 an hour, consider paying $7.00 an hour. There will be more people applying and hopefully more quality applicants.

Have plenty of supervisors.
Supervisors may not even be the most appropriate term. Senior staff can work. When you have minimum or low wage employees, if they are relatively closely supervised, you’ll often see better results. If your normal manager to employee ratio is 1:5, consider making it 1:4 or 1:3 in the area where those employees work.

Consider alternatives during interviews.
When you are searching for people to hire, be sure to ask tough questions during the interview and pay attention to the answers. Someone’s ability to make up answers to interview questions isn’t always completely accurate or relevant. Check out this post about taking the search to the next step.

Invest in training.
For a lot of companies, “training” is a half hour video before the company puts the employee on the floor. This is obviously unacceptable. Invest in training. Ensure the employees are learning from training, that what they are learning is practical, and that the training continues even after the employee is hired.

Reward great employees.
If you have some minimum wage employees that are doing really well, by all means, reward them! An extra night off, a small bonus, and/or public recognition are all great ways to encourage the particular employee (and his or her peers) to do a great job.

What are your experiences like with low to minimum wage employees? How do you work with them?

Photo courtesy of tracy_olson