I hope you have F’s at work

F’s that keep your employees and customers coming back.

While doing interviews last July, an interviewee asked me an interesting question, “What do you hate most about coming to work?” As much as I was not prepared for such a question, I appreciated it.

“Waking up,” I answered.

Without hesitation, he asked me to elaborate.

I told this future employee, that my least favorite thing in general is waking up. I love being up, but actually getting myself to wake up is quite a power struggle between my body, mind and the bed. But when I love my job, that is the hardest part.

“That’s cool that you love your job! What is your ideal work environment like?” he continued.

This one took me a little more than two minutes but then the answer just rolled off my tongue, “I really love working in a fun and friendly environment, but nothing too distracting. There always has to be a high amount of focus” I answered.

I loved that question so much.

After that amazing interview whenever an interviewee asks me what I am looking for in an employee, I always respond with, “I want an employee to have three F’s here.”

Fun: Throughout college, I had two primary jobs — both were minimum wage fast-casual restaurant jobs. Although my family kept reinforcing that with my experience participating in extracurricular activities I was over-qualified for such jobs, I was in love. They were very right (it is smart to follow the money) but I was hooked. Why? Because every shift at these restaurants, put a smile on my face.

Work was fun:

  • I had fun with our customers, especially when they became regulars
  • I had so much fun working with food
  • I had fun working with peers that had this “we deserve more than minimum wage but we have to be here, so we will make the most out of it,” mindset (and I appreciated the managers that promoted fun)

Whether it‘s’ lip-syncing to the elevator music coming from the restaurant speakers while meal prepping in front of customers or picking on each other to be faster, we have fun and so do our customers. “You guys look like you’re having fun,” they say.

Have you ever been to a company or restaurant that had employees that looked like they just didn’t want to be there? If so, ultimately you didn’t want to be there.

I realized that with the right amount of focus — we will discuss this soon — having fun at work is a major component to enjoying your job and ultimately excellent customer service. When customers see your employees having fun, no matter how long that lunch rush is, you are their entertainment. You help hasten and maximize their waiting time with an impromptu show.

Whether we are singing songs or making fun of each other, we include our customers. We are here to serve you, but we want to make you feel good about making us work.

Focus: Having fun at work is only profitable, when your team is focused. As much fun as we have fun at work, our primary goal is to make certain that your meal is prepared properly and served with a smile in a timely manner. Whether we are singing songs or making fun of each other’s timeliness, we must prioritize you. Because though it may look like we are hanging out, we are here to work.

Ever walked into a doctor’s office or restaurant and not be acknowledged by the receptionists/servers, because they are too busy laughing or chatting with one another? Nothing irks me more. When I experience such obnoxious behavior, my thoughts are usually “I know you can see me, but obviously the conversation you are having with your co-worker is more important than the dollar I am about to spend at your establishment.”

7 out of 10 times when I have to engage with workers that lack focus, I either receive the wrong information or food order because my server/receptionist is not actively paying attention to my requests or needs. These type of employees want to be done with the customer interaction as quickly as possible so that they can get back to their “valuable” conversation. Nothing irks me more.

Fun is disrespectful to customers and harmful to company productivity, if it lacks focus.

Friendliness: No matter what industry you are in or how great your product is, customer service is the life-line of your business. How you treat customers and handle their issues can make or break your business.

The customer comes first, always. “Our customers are the only reason, we have a job,”at new employee orientations, I try to embed this phrase in the veins of my new team members. You have to be very friendly to your customers, to keep them coming back and leaving your establishment with that warm fuzzy feeling.

Also importantly, your employees have to be friendly to one another. Respect and tolerance is key to, harmony in a work environment. The basis of respect is, “treat your neighbor, how you would like to be treated.” To keep your employees walking into work with a warm feeling, you must preach a professional friendly behavior/relationship among them each other. After all, how can you expect them to have fun if they are mean to one another?

Recently when I told a friend about my 3 F’s, she said “This is true, but there should be a fourth F for those who cant have the other 3.”


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