Nine To Five: Special to The Globe and Mail, Published Sunday, July 13th, 2014
My spouse is a pharmacist. The retail pharmacy where he works was originally owned by two partners, a man and a woman. The male partner, who retired last year, was intensely dedicated to the business and the job. The female pharmacist, who was left in charge, is not. She sits on the board of a financial institution, takes roles on committees, and generally loves to be away from work. When she is on site, she’s often playing games on her iPad.
She is capable and smart but does not seem to understand how hard her staff are working or that the customers want to see her, as the owner, in front of the pharmacy more often. This is problematic because the business is marketed as a privately owned one where personal and professional service can be expected as opposed to the big chain stores.
To make matters worse, the pharmacy needs work. It was renovated, but only with aesthetics in mind. The new layout means staff have to walk three times farther to fill prescriptions. The debit machine is on dial-up mode and customers complain. Work schedules are posted at the last minute. The employees work well as a team, but little is being done to improve morale. Christmas and summer get-togethers have been cancelled.
No one knows how to approach the owner, who can be volatile, with their concerns. They fear being fired, mistreated or denied a reference. What do you suggest?
Have the staff start logging customer complaints and have customers sign them. The boss might not like to hear complaints from employees, but she can’t very well ignore complaints from her customers.
Is it possible to talk to the retired owner? If he still has a stake in the business, he should care about how his business is being managed.
The employees can still hold their own softball games and celebrations and act like a team without management involvement.
Life is 90 per cent attitude, and 10 per cent what happens to you. Think of the slow dial-up time as a chance to build rapport with customers. The extra steps in the layout mean more calories burned.
With respect to scheduling, have each employee submit their availability mid-month for the following month.
You can’t control how people act or communicate, and you can’t change other people unless they want to change. Act as if she isn’t there. Because she often isn’t.
Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer
Author of Networking How To Build Relationships That Count and How To Get a Job and Keep It