The Broken Trust
by Adam Zack — September 5, 2018
I’m a huge proponent of empowering your employees to take care of your business.
Treat them like your trusted partner and share the successes and learn from the failures. It’s a philosophy that has allowed many forward-thinking independent retailers to rise above their competition and deliver a level of service that corporate chains can’t touch. Stores like Dorothy Lane Market and Town and Country Markets do it very, very well. It’s a culture that starts at the top and goes all the way to the courtesy clerks. They treat your store like it’s their own, with pride. But what happens when that trust you have in them is betrayed? When the most loyal, longtime employee succumbs to bad decisions and life’s pressures and instead of treating your assets like his own, treats them like, well like they are yours? It happened very recently to me and it really shook my belief and trust right down to the foundation. One store manager, a 24 year employee and one we considered to be another brother seems to always be having money troubles. It’s not because he isn’t paid well, it’s from consistent, extremely poor life choices. We tried everything from financial assistance to tough love. Friends can forgive and forget, but creditors apparently cannot. I read a survey many years ago that given the need and opportunity, 80% of employees will steal from you. It was staggering and eye-opening at the same time. Even knowing that this guy was always living paycheck to paycheck and still constantly making terrible financial choices, I never thought he’d steal, especially at the magnitude that it happened. We were brothers, heart and soul, and you don’t steal from your brothers, ever. (Unless you were my brothers when they were about 12 years old and stole my penny collection when I went to college. Bastards.) So should you still empower your employees to watch your wallet? Absolutely. It pays off 99% of the time, and that’s a bet you make every time. But for the 1% of the time that you are betrayed, it is almost like a death in the family. Anger turns to sadness and mourning, and it sucks.
Filed Under: Company Blog