Have a new staff? Create a healthy work environment.

Have a new staff? Create a healthy work environment.

Are you hiring a brand new staff? The turnstile of hiring can be draining. All the reports indicate that staffing is a major concern for retailers as we head into summer. How can you retain new staff? Besides monetary benefits, having a healthy work environment can go a long way in retaining employees.

What is a healthy work environment?

It starts with solid communication and personal respect. We’ve all heard that communication is key. You may be a great communicator, but are you communicating the right things? Most companies, especially independent retailers, have check lists and expected guest greetings that new staff learn. But in order to really communicate the why behind the actions, we need to take communication all the way back to the Service Theme.

Service Theme

The Service Theme is like a mission statement for employees. It’s a statement when shared among all employees becomes the driving force of service. It’s the why, how and what for. At A&E Coffee & Tea, our service theme is an acronym: EDIFY


  • Educate customer about coffee, tea, sustainability
  • Delight customers with unique unexpected experiences
  • Illuminate our relationships with producers and local vendors
  • Facilitate connections between customers, staff and each other
  • Yes Be a YES employee. Yes to solving problems. Yes to assisting customers. Yes to constructive feedback. Yes to following service standards and delivery. Yes to being patient with difficult customers. Yes to taking ownership of mistakes. Yes to taking pride in work.

The Service Theme is the desired outcome when our staff engage with our customers, whether in person, on the phone, on social media or online. EDIFY is the groundwork from which all our staffing expectations flow. When our staff embody EDIFY, they enter a positive feedback loop. The customers feel well cared for. Management has a framework to create clear expectations. Staff have positive interactions with both customers and management. Plus, they make more sales!

You may be thinking, “That’s all well and good, but how to I implement a service theme?” Good question! That is where the Service Standards come into play.

Service Standards

Service Standards are set the criteria for actions that are necessary to accomplish the service theme and serve as the measure of quality service. This is really where the rubber meets and road. Service Standards are how the Service Theme gets carried out in your establishment. Your staff communication skills really comes into play with Service Standards. We have moved from the goal to the objectives. As a manager, the Service Standards gives you a nice guideline to offer constructive feedback to staff. For A&E Coffee & Tea, our Service Standards are:

  • Welcoming to everyone from every walk of life, inviting, approachable
  • Consistent Quality by following directions and asking for clarification if there are discrepancies
  • Efficiency in work and space
  • Atmosphere (inspire creativity) maintain an environment that inspires, provides a respite or retreat, is tidy and clean
  • Sales allow all of this to happen; it is the mitochondria (energy currency that powers the business)

Action Steps

As you might have guessed, we can dive deeper into each one of these standards with bullet points. For example, we have five distinct actions for Welcoming:

  1. 10/4: make eye contact with customers 10 feet away and verbally greet when they are 4 feet away
  2. Be Polite: please and thank you
  3. Salutations: thank customers for coming in and say goodbye
  4. Verbal: guide customers through the ordering process so they know where to go and what to expect
  5. Non-verbal: body language (smile; don’t lean on counter, etc.)

We are now getting into the nitty gritty. Hopefully you can see how this process works. Putting the work in now will save you time, money and frustration as you hire new staff. It takes time to develop and change old habits. A business needs a solid mission statement and business plan. If you rely on staff to communicate that mission to customers, you need a solid Service Theme and Service Standards to communicate to staff.

One final note, this is a process that was developed by Disney. Historically, they have one of the best customer service models. Learn from the best, right! We have years of experience as a wholesale coffee roaster and operating cafes. We offer cafe consulting, cafe bar flow, equipment and maintenance for our accounts. For Wholesale Inquiries, click HERE. wholesale@aeroastery.com

We also have a YouTube channel with some insightful videos. Check them out here. A&E Coffee & Tea YouTube Channel

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