Clear Expectations Produce Better Results

, , , , | Working | May 5, 2021

I have just arrived for my managing shift at the store where I work. My store manager and I go over a few details I need to know before she leaves for the day.

Store Manager: “Can you keep an eye on [New Hire]? I gave her a simple job of scanning for price tickets and she’s taken ages doing it. She’s a bit slow. I was hoping that all the tickets would have been put out before she goes home, but you’re going to have to do it.”

When I check on the new hire, I find that she has just finished scanning the section — two panels of small Christmas ornaments — and has sent it through to the office for printing.

New Hire: “Boy, that was a lot of work and took a long time. [Coworker] did her section really quickly; I hope I can get as fast as her one day.”

I reassure her that she will, with practice, and tell her it’s time to leave before heading to the office to print the tickets.

Store Manager: “I started the tickets for you. I’ll just grab a few things before I go. Can you come down and serve me once all the tickets are printed?”

I have to refill the ticket paper, just thinking that the manager didn’t add enough, and complete a couple of duties while waiting for it to complete. I am surprised at how many sheets have printed up, and then I notice that each item has up to a dozen copies of price tickets. I head to the service counter where the store manager is waiting to be checked out.

Store Manager: “There you are. I was just about to come find you. What took so long?”

Me: “This.”

I hold up the thick wad of paper.

Me: “What did you tell [New Hire] to do?”

Store Manager: “I just told her to scan every item for tickets. She was so slow at it.”

Me: “Well, that’s exactly what she did; she took you literally. You needed to say, ‘one of each design.’”

Store Manager: “She should have known that I meant one of every item.”

Me: “It’s exactly what she did: one of every item. How many times has she done tickets?”

Store Manager: “This was her first time, but she should have known what I meant. I’m going to have words with her; if she keeps up like this, she won’t last long.”

Me: “I’ll talk to her tomorrow.”

I had the chat, explaining how to ticket correctly just like I had done when I’d trained the [Store Manager] a few years before. I had been her senior but did not want the promotion and couldn’t see her sticking it out long. The new hire turned out to be one of our best workers. The store manager didn’t last long but I had already quit as I got sick of fixing her mistakes.

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