October '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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5 2 P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 9 better team dynamic, but parties also note that there are other ways to let employees know they're a valued part of the team they're on and the shop they work for. Small gestures like cov- ering the staff 's lunch periodically to say, 'thank you,' or holding in-house events like potlucks can help bring the employees together and make departments feel less siloed. Potter also suggests that finding ways for the business to be active in the community can help build more of a sense of purpose for everyone at the shop. At A&P, he explains, the company participates in the local Fourth of July parade where employees hand out small custom-deco- rated goods to attendees. The activity ends up as a day off for employees and helps promote the business in the community. Plus, community- facing initiatives, "build teamwork, are fun, and they lower everyone's guard to get to know one another to be a work family," Potter contends. Even if a shop isn't equipped to march in a local parade, some sort of team-oriented in- volvement will always benefit the business as a whole, parties say. Savino also points out that small morale-im- proving measures benefit people far outside the shop walls. "It's always amazing to me how the public views some businesses in this day and age where social media and public opinion matters most," he elaborates. "A company with upbeat teams, a set of morals, and amazing commu- nication skills will succeed 100% more than a company where the public sees they are beaten down, teams don't care, they are uneducated, and have no personal skills when speaking to the public." Lee adds that in the end, it's truly about rais- ing everyone up so that box of printed shirts going out the door is something everyone on staff can take pride in. "Nobody wants to race their company to the bottom, and nothing will make that happen faster than failures in team dynamics," states Lee. By paying attention to and maintaining dynamics, shop owners can continue to build toward long-term goals of whatever they define as success. PW A aron Montgomery, head of MontCo Consulting and longtime industry veteran, says there are things to avoid and watch out for when it comes to improving the team dynamic at a shop. SHOW ME THE MONEY: Paying your employees a decent wage is obviously a great way to cut down on turnover, but Montgomery says that doesn't always guarantee excellent dynamics. "The paycheck will only drag your team so far," he says. If a shop team can't connect with the 'why' of being part of your com- pany, Montgomery contends that the quality of work and overall morale in the workplace will suffer. THE BLAME GAME: Montgomery advises being on the lookout for constant shifts of blame across the board in departments. "(Disconnected employees) will simply be worried about covering their own backs," he notes. "They don't care about problem-solving or finding solutions." That kind of behavior, Montgomery adds, can manifest itself in everything from poor customer service to sabotage between departments. MEANINGFUL MEETINGS: Having meetings just to have meetings, Montgom- ery points out, not only eats up time but can have a negative impact on the staff. He suggests making sure each meeting has value in it for those attend- ing and that whatever information covered can be disseminated back to their teams, ultimately lifting the business up. TAKE FEEDBACK: Periodically asking for input from the staff also makes them feel valued, and that will in turn filter back into the quality of work they output, says Montgomery. By implementing some of these tactics, Montgomery says shops will see the following trends: 1. IMPROVED PROBLEM SOLVING "When you have a good team dynamic, it reduces overhead because your employees are figuring out ways to do things like reduce spoilage and im- prove efficiency because they feel connected," Montgomery suggests. 2. BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE Connected employees "care about the company, and it shows," says Montgomery. "The customers will see and feel that, and you'll build a more loyal customer base." 3. INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY "Your team will be working together more frequently, which equals more output and profit," notes Montgomery. 4. AN OVERALL ENJOYABLE ENVIRONMENT Making improvements in team dynamics, Montgomery says, will make the shop a better place to spend your workday. "This means both happy and healthy employees as well as a happy and healthy boss," he adds. PW PULLING IT TOGETHER TEAM DYNAMICS DYNAMICS

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