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This Storeowner Does Something Radical Every Year – And Her Team Loves Her For It

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Last year, I attended a Stuller Bridge event for the first time. One question came up in-session: “Are you transparent with your team? Do they know what you make?” Nearly every owner shook their heads. The reasons ranged from fear of employees asking for a raise to it just not being any of their damn business. I was one of only two owners who said, “Yes! I’m completely transparent. They get a printout of our store reports at the end of each year including my salary. I’m a profit-share business, so of course they need to know how we did and what opportunities we have as a team.”

Before you roll your eyes at this “new age approach,” consider: have you ever worked for someone who didn’t respect you or your ideas? Have you ever left a job because you didn’t have a voice to make a difference? What about the person who made you feel appreciated?

I’ve had the benefit of working for a variety of personalities and management types to give me an idea of who I don’t want to be. When working for an advertising agency, I was told after pulling through an 18-hour marathon that employees like me were a dime-a-dozen and there was a line of people wanting my job for less money. When working for a fitness club, I was told that honesty and integrity didn’t matter when employees with tenure needed bonus checks more than new hires. There was even a time I was asked to forge a signature to cover an expired contract for an events promoter (I quit on the spot with that one).

How success is achieved starts with the mind-set of the owner and it carries into your team. Don’t trust your team? Maybe you hired the wrong team … or maybe you’ve never given them a reason to trust you. Yes, there are risks in sharing too much information, but there is so much to be gained by building a team that has your back. 

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Start small if you’re not ready to jump all-in. Take your team out to a social dinner! Let them see a different side of you. A break from the norm … and a chance to connect so they learn why you do what you do and how you’re working to keep them employed and what started your passion. Even in the busy season, bring in coffee and donuts once in awhile to show them you are thinking about them.

I fully accept that if my whole team disappeared tomorrow, I wouldn’t be able to run my business. And my team understands how difficult running a business is, and that I would go to the ends of the earth to keep them safe and gainfully employed. 

Be a part of your team, and they will be a part of you.

Jennifer Farnes is the owner of Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO, voted an INSTORE America’s Coolest Store in 2016. [email protected] 


This article originally appeared in the May 2018 edition of INSTORE.   

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