Resolution: Commit to regular store meetings

August 24, 2018By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy, Resolutions for Independent Pharmacies

by Mary Hart, project manager and senior data assets specialist, for the Resolutions for Independent Pharmacies blog series

I hope you are already having regular store meetings, but if you aren’t, read on for good reasons to start. If you are, read on to see if there are topics to add to your agenda.

One great reason to have a regular store meeting with your staff is to share updates so they all get the same message at the same time. Everyone hears and translates information a little differently so it’s good to have a forum where you can share your message and answer any questions. Regular meetings also give you the opportunity to quell any misinformation that you’ve become aware of.

first attendees arrive to meeting
Because you have a staff that is likely made up of both full- and part-time associates, a consistent meeting of all employees ensures that any new policies or procedures are clearly communicated to everyone and provides them a chance to ask questions or clarify anything they find unclear. Likewise, once the new policies or procedures have been in place for a period of time, this is a great forum to discuss tweaks or enhancements that would further streamline or ease the implementation of the new processes. Better for your staff to discuss and solve any hiccups before they affect customers.

A staff meeting is a great forum to discuss customer feedback. Your associates that are assisting customers in the front of store are interacting with shoppers daily and may not have time during their shift to pass along comments or inquiries. As you may already know, customers aren’t always comfortable complaining to store managers, especially if you are busy, but may find it easier to tell associates about their dissatisfaction. Making time at the meeting to bring up these interactions ensures they don’t get lost or overlooked. It also gives you the opportunity to tell staff how you would like them to handle those comments or inquiries to be sure the message you want communicated is consistently delivered to customers.

Whether starting regular store meetings or already conducting them, be sure that you are providing a non-threatening environment for your associates to discuss the aforementioned topics. How do you do that? Keep the meetings casual, instill humor, bring a small treat to share, and try to listen more and speak less. All of this will help your associates feel at ease and willing to discuss the good and the bad things they witness or hear from customers or challenges they are having with new policies and procedures.

How often should you conduct your meetings? Retail is such a fast-moving industry nowadays, I think every 2 weeks is ideal; however, if that isn’t possible, at least once a month. You may need to insert a special gathering now and then, especially if you are meeting monthly but are introducing a new policy in between meetings. Be flexible and open to what your associates have to share. You will probably learn a lot, and I’m betting your staff will too.