Transform Struggling Hourly Workers into Top Performers with Scott Greenberg

Reading Time: 20 Minutes

Get ready to learn about managing and motivating hourly workers, aligning generational values, and crafting a culture that turns a franchise into a flourishing enterprise with our guest Scott Greenberg.

Takeaways We Learned from Scott…

Meet People Where They Are

As Scott emphasizes, effective leadership begins with meeting people where they are, understanding their values, drivers, and mindset. To truly lead, we must enroll others in our goals by first understanding theirs. This empathy-driven approach fosters genuine connection and collaboration.

Self-Awareness is Key

 Scott highlights the importance of self-awareness in leadership. Recognizing when we’re driven by our own agendas allows us to pause, reflect, and adjust our approach. True leadership starts with looking in the mirror and understanding our impact on others.

Management Reflects Performance

When faced with underperforming hourly workers, Scott urges us to look beyond blaming the employees and examine the quality of management. Recognizing that performance issues often stem from inadequate leadership underscores the need for self-reflection and improvement.

Customize Leadership Approach

Hourly workers require a different management approach than salaried employees due to their unique needs and experiences. Tailoring leadership tactics based on individual circumstances and roles fosters better engagement and performance.

Define Tangible Culture

Scott advises bringing culture off the mountaintop and making it tangible for hourly workers. Abstract concepts like mission statements may not resonate; instead, define values with actionable behaviors that employees can understand and embody.

Soft Needs Matter

While monetary compensation may be limited for hourly workers, meeting their emotional and psychological needs is crucial. Understanding what employees want to feel in the workplace and creating an environment that supports these needs fosters loyalty and engagement.

Embrace Generational Differences

Rather than judging or fearing generational gaps, Scott encourages embracing differences and adapting leadership styles accordingly. Understanding the values and preferences of each generation enables effective leadership and team cohesion.

Balanced Management Style

Scott presents evidence that a balanced approach, focusing on both results and people, yields the most effective leadership. Striking a balance between driving outcomes and supporting team members enhances performance and fosters a positive work environment.

Credibility Through Character

Building credibility goes beyond job competence; it involves demonstrating integrity, respect, and authenticity. Leaders who embody these qualities inspire trust and loyalty among their team members, leading to better collaboration and performance.

Identify Personality Fit

Recognizing that different personality types excel in different roles allows organizations to make better hiring decisions. Matching individuals with positions that align with their natural strengths and preferences maximizes performance and job satisfaction.

About Scott Greenberg

Scott Greenberg is the go-to expert for organizations aiming to elevate their business and the people behind them. With a unique blend of strategic business acumen and human-focused leadership, Scott is the catalyst for holistic business transformation. Scott dives deep into the human elements that directly impact business performance. He equips leaders with a peak performance mindset, empowering them to lead more effectively and cultivate high-performing teams. His innovative management tool, 30-Second Leadership, has revolutionized the way businesses enhance employee mindset, skillset, and overall performance.

Scott Greenberg is the go-to expert for organizations aiming to elevate their business and the people behind them. With a unique blend of strategic business acumen and human-focused leadership, Scott is the catalyst for holistic business transformation. Scott dives deep into the human elements that directly impact business performance. He equips leaders with a peak performance mindset, empowering them to lead more effectively and cultivate high-performing teams. His innovative management tool, 30-Second Leadership, has revolutionized the way businesses enhance employee mindset, skillset, and overall performance.

A well-known international speaker, Scott has given presentations in all 50 U.S. states and throughout the world with clients including McDonald’s, the U.S. Air Force, TEDx, Allstate, Great Clips, Wyndham Hotel Group, RE/MAX, Salesforce, Cargill, Columbia Sportswear, Amgen Pharmaceuticals, Nike, Young Presidents Organization, and countless others.

For ten years, Scott was a multi-unit franchisee with Edible Arrangements. In addition to building a top-ranked flagship store in Los Angeles, Scott acquired a second struggling location and made it profitable within a year. His operation won the Edible Arrangements “Best Customer Service” and “Manager of the Year” awards out of more than 1,000 locations worldwide.

Scott serves as a contributing writer for, Global Franchise Magazine, and Nation’s Restaurant News, and is the author of the The Wealthy Franchisee: Game-Changing Steps to Becoming a Thriving Franchise Superstar as well as his forthcoming title, Stop the Shift Show: Turn Your Struggling Hourly Workers Into a Top-Performing Team.

Read the Transcript

Allison: Welcome to the Deliberate Leaders podcast. I am your host and executive business coach Allison Dunn. Our topic today is how to transform struggling hourly workers into top performers. Our guest is Scott Greenberg, he is the author of stop the shift show it turning your struggling hourly workers into top performing teams. He has an innovative management tool. It’s called the 32nd leadership, which has revolutionized the way that businesses enhance employee mindset, skill sets, and overall performance. Scott, thank you so much for joining us here today.

Scott: I’m so glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

Allison: My pleasure. I do love to kick these off with a deliberate conversation. What would be your number one leadership tip for our listeners today?


My number one leadership tip, I would say is meet people where they are at. I think that too often as leaders, we have our own purpose, our own vision, our own goal, and we expect people to meet us there before we plow forward. And it’s just not what works. You need to go where they are understand their values, their drivers, and then bring them towards you and enroll them in your goals, your value system and your thought process.

I think that’s you really can’t lead people effectively unless you’ve done that.

Allison: I concur completely. And I think the challenge is, is how do you actually do that in the present moment, when you realize you have your own agenda is do you have any quick tips on like, go in with the mindset of?

Scott: Yeah, well, first of all, you know, the way you were the question is, you said, when you realize you’re have your own agenda, that is the key moment right there. It’s that realization, but that requires self awareness.

But most leaders are too busy being busy to really think about how they’re leading or what their people need. They’re thinking, we got to get the pizzas out of the oven box and delivered, we need to get the widgets manufactured, you know, by a certain period of time, we need to get stuff done. They’re not stopping and looking in the mirror. They’re not stopping and like really looking beyond the surface of their team members.

So I think it’s that awareness that in and of itself is 90% of it. And then you can adjust once you realize, you know, where you’re at and what your people need.

Allison: Yeah, thanks for those insights. So your new book stopped the ship show? Obviously, it is regarding the hourly worker workforce that may be struggling. I’m just curious, why is managing hourly workers so hard? And how do we improve their performance?

Scott: That when we see underperforming hourly workers, we tend to forget that very often that as a reflection of the management that they’re getting, it’s really management that is struggling, the business has one or two lower performing employees, okay, so few people snuck through, who maybe aren’t qualified. But if it tends to be the workforce that way, at some point, in an environment where we believe in accountability, we believe no one should be entitled, well, that includes management, you know, your job as a manager is to get a great operation and get your team doing it. Well, team isn’t performing at some point, we need to look in the mirror, it’s back to that self awareness.

And so, so here’s the thing is most people manage, without any formal management training, they were competent on the job, and therefore they’re promoted.

But management itself was a completely different skill set, usually, then what the work that you know, the work they were previously doing, but we don’t get too much formal leadership training, where the average person who leads others does this for 10 years before they get any formal leadership training. So most people lead the way they were led. There’s this continuity of bad management. It’s this tradition. Right. But we want to blame workers, not that workers. There’s some fault there. But I think that we need better management. And the other thing I would say is that your question was about managing, you know, hourly workers, though it’s on shift. This is a completely different group than those on salary. You know, most businesses understand you don’t market the same way to all people, you don’t offer the same products and services to all people. So why should leadership and management tactics work for all people, you have to adjust based off of who you’re leading.

And so someone is on a salary, they’re having consistent hours, consistent, reliable income, the respect that comes from not punching in with all that predictability, they can build a life, make plans access credit, whereas hourly workers, you know, when things get slow, they might lose hours, when things are great, their hours still might change. And they’re more statistically more likely to be going to other jobs to volleyball practice, to be class to be revolving and other people. There’s less predictability, less income, so their lives are more chaotic. They’re doing a lot more juggling. There’s usually not as many opportunities to grow within the organization and the relationships with management tend to be for transactional, so because their world because their experience of work is so different, we really need to manage them differently in order to get the best performance from them.

Allison: What tips do you have specifically around how to manage them in a different way? Because I, I agree with everything that you just said. But I’d like to dive a little bit into exactly what in a really process we should consider as leaders and managers of people.

Scott: Sure, so a few tips, and really, the entire book is about, you know, is about doing that very thing. So I’ll try to pull a few tips from you.

So as I mentioned, first of all, they need better leadership, you know, in a white collar environment, there tends to be people with a lot more experience, right, you know, with those people. And people often come with a lot more of a skill set with more education, with more experience with an hourly work environment, because it’s people who probably have less of a skill set, less experienced maybe even less time on this earth, that we need to have a better understanding of where they’re coming from.

So they tend to skew younger, so they’re under 25, their brains are still developing. And so what we need to do is understand where they’re at and what they need. So that’s a big part of management. But let’s be even more specific. I think one thing is we need to bring culture off the mountaintop, and bring it to the floor. In white collar environments, culture tends to be as we describe, you know, mission statements and values and purpose.

There’s a lot of pageantry around that. And the concepts are very abstract, which works in that kind of environment. But a lot of hourly environments. You know, when we say, well, our goal is to change the world, that’s our purpose. And if someone is just fixing widgets on an assembly line, or they’re just mixing coffee drinks, they’re not going to believe that this is changing the world. Right. And so there’s gonna be a disconnect there to that higher purpose and so much better purposes, hey, you know, we exist to make people’s lives easier, we exist to brighten their day, one cup of coffee at a time. And that’s something can kind of wrap their brains around. But then especially with values, you know, we tend to have, again, these really abstract words like integrity, a lot of hourly workers may not know what you mean by integrity. So one of the tips that I give is for every value that you have, define it with a list of do’s and don’ts, behaviors that we can see and understand like for integrity, you might say, we only speak kindly about each other, we follow through with what we commit to, you know, those kinds of things so that we can praise them when they do it, reprimand them when they don’t, but have them understand what culture is.

So it’s tangible. These are the kinds of things that make a lot more sense in that environment. And also understand that you may not have the money to pay them like you do for salary people.

So you need to compensate in other ways. So we can’t always provide the money, but we can, we can meet their what I call soft needs, their hard needs, or money and perks and stuff, but their soft needs or their emotional needs, what do they want to feel in the work environment and it changes a little bit with every generation, we can identify emotionally, what’s going to create the ultimate work experience, well, then we can meet that need. And that’s we’re going to have more loyalty. But we can’t make assumptions about what those needs are and our needs. Soft needs psychological emotional needs might be different than theirs. So once again, we’ve to meet them where they’re at, get to know what they want, and then create a work environment that meets those needs.

Allison: Those are fantastic tips. One of the things that I just kind of picked up on just even the idea of maybe our hourly workers don’t have as much experience in the workplace. And so it brings me back to almost sometimes a little bit of a generational gap. So you know, kids these days effect of what we what we say are seeking to understand the values, like what guidance can you give for people who are feeling like there is a value generational gap between their management, their leadership and our lead?

Scott: Teams? Okay. So it’s a great question. So there’s that that gap has always been there for 1000s of years, pretty much since the beginning of trying to employ other people. Generations have always complained about the generations that come after them. So we say, you know, kids these days, and we see the differences. And not only do we judge them, but we fear for them thing and there’s no way they’re going to be able to survive in this world. And we certainly said that about millennials, right? For the last 20-25 years, we’ve said their soccer trophies and their screen addictions, and they’re so entitled, all those criticisms. They’re never going to survive in our world. Well, how millennials have done today, they have families, they own homes, they govern countries, they lead companies. They are a vital part of our society, and they’re doing just fine because they haven’t had to live in the older people’s worlds. Older people have to live in theirs world, and there’s no reason to think that it should be Many different with Generation Z, we want to say Generation Z, that they’re emotionally needy. And you know, they don’t listen to authority, that kind of thing. And, you know, brings to the question then is, you know, is Generation Z worse than previous generations? I say, yes, they are. And I’m a parent. So I get to say that my kids are worse, but my kids aren’t going to have to survive in my world, I have to, I’m going to have to live in their world, what I’ve learned is whether younger generations are better or worse, it’s the wrong question.

The question is, how are they different? How can I understand them, so I can better lead them. And values do change. You know, I’m Generation X. So I’m probably the last generation that prides itself and how much abuse it was willing to take and how much it’s suffered in the workplace. Right? It’s like a badge of honor to do that.

And younger generations, like know, what they value mores life balance, and maybe what us older people should have been valuable all along. They value safety, especially psychological safety, we tend to judge them and say, well, they’re snowflakes. And they’re thin skinned, and all that.

But again, the rest of us suffered, and it shows in, in suicide rates and divorce rates and heart problems, that kind of thing. Other generations, they value things that kind of matter a lot. And so we need to stop judging better understand them. They’re not into the same kind of formality. Like, do you really need a resume when someone’s applying for a job at an ice cream store? Ripe, it’s just a traditional way of doing things. So they’re questioning all that. And so we need to know, what are the values of every generation? And how can we adapt our methods in order to accommodate them? Whether we want to or not, whether we like it or not, doesn’t matter?

Allison: Let’s kind of dive into management style. So is a results oriented, versus a people oriented management style? Like which one’s better?

Scott: Great question. And fortunately, there is an objective answer to that. You know, when people are hear me speak, they know that I have a history as a motivational speaker, they’re expecting me to talk about soft skills. And I do because I think that soft skills really are the differentiator between people who are great. So A study was done with 100,000 managers, and they interviewed a million of their employees getting all this data about these managers, and then they rank them from most effective to least effective. So group that was identified as very results oriented, but not people oriented. Only 9% of them were considered among the top managers of a top 10% of all the managers they looked at, suddenly isolated, a different group, those who weren’t so results oriented, not so focused on getting stuff done.

But really people oriented, you know, elevating employees and building culture of that group, only 8% were considered by employees, among the top 10% of all managers. It turns out when employees like people are nice, they want to play for a coach who wins games, they want to coach and get things done. So when they found they isolated one more group, those who employees saw as both results oriented, and people oriented 82% of those people were considered among the top. The problem is to be both results orientated people oriented requires accessing and using different parts of the brain that typically don’t work together at the same time. So managers, no matter how busy they are, they have to stop and go back and forth between making sure that the widgets are getting produced, while also making sure that their teams are engaged and are focused and are doing okay, so it requires an effort, but those who are willing to do it, they’re going to save time because they’re going to have higher performing teams.

Allison: I love this statistic of like, you know, having a, you know, kind of Nast, that many people and it also like makes me reflect on the DISC profile. Are you familiar with what I mean, when I discuss Essman, of whether your task is task oriented or relationship oriented? And having that balance in someone’s profile, when you’re thinking about bringing a manager in and like, really having them accelerate? That’s, that’s fantastic. Yeah. You opened up the topic of soft skills. And I think that’s kind of where I’m going to lead this conversation next. So is there any specific way that a manager and or leader can boost their credibility with employees through character connection and competence on the soft side of things?

Scott: Yeah, so those are the three things that I talk about in the book. And so what a lot of managers think was, well, the way I build credibility is just being good at my job, like I’m the guy who can get stuff done. Right? I can, you know, I can get more dry cleaning done and out the door than anybody else here and I’m really competent the job. So that’s part of being credited with being credible, but pay employees also pay attention to the character of those who are leading them. You know, is this someone who tells the truth is this Someone who really respects the customer? Or is it someone who like is bagging on the customer behind their back, someone who is saying terrible things about other employees in front of employees. Right? So if you’re my boss, and you might be saying, you’re nice to me, but I hear you gossiping about other employees, even though it’s not about me, you suddenly go down in my eyes, because you’re that kind of person. So I want to work for someone who’s not only good at their job, but as a good human being, who inspires me not just to work well, but to be a good person, you know, that that’s really important. And so, you know, it’s sort of all encompassing the job of a manager, you know, we need to set boundaries. But we also need to connect to our people do the right thing and be good at our jobs.

Allison: I completely agree. We introduced I think, in the bio for you the 32nd leadership methodology that you you’ve introduced, can you share a little bit about exactly, I mean, 30 seconds sounds like an easy thing that someone can work through. So tell us a little bit more about that.

Scott: Yeah, it is easy, but we’re trying to emphasize the fact that it can be done quickly. Because the fact is results matter. And the pizzas do have to get out the door, right? So it’s not that when I say be a people manager that 90% of your time should be on that. I mean, heck, if you spend 10% of your time, focusing on the human side of management, you’re still ahead of most managers. But the fact is, you’re a manager, you’re busy. So I wanted to, along with the person I created this way, we wanted to create a methodology that was powerful, but also simple and easy. We had in mind a 19 year old assistant manager at a frozen yogurt shop, want to make sure that it was something that this person can use it to be that simple, yet powerful enough that a CEO can become a better leader by using app. So the idea is that every employee has certain skill sets. They also have certain mindsets, and they vary for tasks that are typical, typically, a manager will see these employees, there are superstars, and these people are struggling. But the superstar struggle at some tasks. And those struggling bad employees are actually really good at some tasks, but they’re not getting the reinforcement praise they deserve. And the great people aren’t necessarily getting the training that they need for where they’re struggling.

So we created 32nd leadership, which is a process for diagnosing an employee for a specific task by looking at hard skills and soft skills separately. And then based on your diagnosis, we have this color model to determine what is the best approach to coach them to improve the employee for that, for that particular task. But here’s the thing, it’s as great methodology, if people use it to the letter, it’s gonna make them such better managers. But if all they do is distinguish between is the issue with the person knows how the person feels, or both? If all they do is ask that question, respond accordingly, they’ll be way ahead of most managers. So it’s really about that is really before you intervene when someone is underperforming, is understanding the reason behind the their underperformance and then customizing your coaching approach to boost it and equally important, preserve it.

Allison: So what were the two questions that you had is whether it’s what they know, or how they feel about it?

Scott: Yeah. So is that the issue their competence, or their confidence, their aptitude or their attitude? So hard skills are soft, but I like to say is the issue what they know? Or is the issue how they feel? Okay. It’s almost like an intellectual or is it emotional?

Allison: Yeah. In your, in your book, you explore four personality types of hourly workers and how to motivate them. Can you shed some insight onto that force?

Scott: Yeah. And they always want to be careful that, you know, you mentioned that the DISC profile before, and then I realized that I was asking this question. They’re not correlated at all right?

Well, they’re kind of because the main point that I say in the book is, is this that what I want people to really walk away with, and I think DISC profile does this is it’s not that we should look at every single employee and say, You are a, you know, you’re a doer, you’re a thinker, you’re a connector, you’re, you know, those are might you know, these different personality types. And just like disk, it’ll say, you know, you’re a D, or you’re an AI or some kind of combination.

What’s important is when we look at employees, we understand that people have certain kinds of personalities, not better or worse, but different. And with these characteristics that are come certain advantages, and certain I’ll use the word weaknesses, you can call them opportunities, right?

And so the idea is to identify what are the positions you have and who are the types of employees who thrive most in that position. So I was talking to a lawyer yesterday, who employs receptionists and he employs you know, legal assistants and it’s I’m on camera. I can’t think of the word what’s the person who helps lawyers or paralegals.

Scott: Thank you very much. Yeah. Okay. We just saw a lack of skill set here paralegals, right. So what we’re talking about is that his best receptionists are outgoing people, right? Like what I call connectors and social people, right. And they’re really connect with people, you know, but those people do terribly when they have to work alone. His best paralegals are the exact opposite. They do really well working by themselves just kind of focusing on what they’re doing. But the problem is, in a job interview, we tend to go for people who we like, Well, someone who’s not quite as social, right, they’re not going to do as well in a social setting, such as a job interview, right? And so we need to adjust what we’re looking for in the job. And if so the idea is, for every position you have, what are the personality characteristics that best match for that you’re not interviewing a friend, right, you’re interviewing someone who stood to identify do they have the characteristics of personality type that goes with it.

So I, as an example, I list these four personality types like they are doers. And I would describe myself as a doer, where it’s all about getting stuff done. But the but the disadvantage of doers is, they’re so focused on getting it done, they don’t realize that they’re being rude, that they’re stepping on other people’s toes. There are people who are thinkers, they like to analyze things, well, they’re great for certain jobs, but they tend to be slower. Because until the data comes in, they’re hesitant to go for it and do it. I sometimes when I do leadership trainings for groups, I asked people to self identify these four groups. And I said, I want you to brainstorm a list of you know, all the characteristics, you know something about them, the doers, always get it done fast. The thinkers get it done last, because they’re too busy analyzing, right, but then I asked them to solve a problem together. And often the thinkers will be the first to do it, because the doers are so busy arguing, stepping on each other’s toes. So the main takeaway that I want people to walk away from is that people come with certain skills, certain personality traits, that make them well suited are better suited for some positions and not so much for others. And most work environments are going to need a combination. So just to be aware of that, and, you know, find the best match.

Allison: Awesome. I’m looking for, like the last gen piece of guidance that you would give for an organization that may have maybe more than their fair share of struggling hourly workers. What where should they start first?

Scott: If they have more than their fair share, I think they need to start by looking in the mirror? How are they managing? And what kind of culture would they like to have? How would they like it to be? And how can they change their mind? How can they redefine their actually redefine, maybe define it in the first place? Right, what kind of culture they want, and culture is not being nice to people or giving them stuff. Culture is, is specifically the way people talk to each other and treat each other the social norms, the group dynamic that exists within any group of two or more people, every group of Tomorrow People has a culture, the best by design, most by default. So if you’re an organization, you want to level up your culture, then you need to be very deliberate about designing it. And in some cases, that means redesigning it or changing it.

And that can be tough because it might involve changing some of the people if they’re not willing to embrace the new culture. But identify your sense of why what you’re trying to do, what are the values you care about? And that what are the behaviors that you’re going to insist on? Because they reflect that culture? And then start making the changes to, you know, to have that happen, and it’s going to it can take some time, there’s going to be some pushback, it’s good to get buy in, you know, get feedback from the group and say, Hey, how would you like things to be? How do you think we should talk to each other? How do you think we should? You know, resolve conflict together? What should our social norms Be? Be more deliberate about that? And then really, make that important, talk about it constantly connect area, every area of work to that culture, and have ongoing rituals daily or daily rituals that remind people the culture and reinforce it.

Allison: Thank you. I think my final question is if if we have organizations that are listening, during the podcast, and they’re questioning, is it somehow make a transformational difference if you move someone from an hourly to a salary, when would you suggest that that needs to be considered and what type of changes do you expect to happen when that happens?

Scott: Well, there’s some organizations where that’s not possible, some organizations where they have some people who it’s just a really high skill set that maybe requires certification or edge occasion or a level of experience, they’re not going to get working the front line. Right. And so it might be hard, you know, in which case, if you’re doing your good job, then you’re going to lose a lot of your hourly people because their skills will have grown, their personality will have grown, and they’re going to need something more than you’re able to provide. So just know that going into it and be okay with it rather than, you know, finding ways to keep those people. But if you do have room for people to grow, you know, you want to make sure you’ve given those opportunities before you lose them before they’re getting bored and complacent. I can’t give a timeline because I don’t know the specific employees are, what the tasks and needs are of the organization. But every leader is responsible for the ongoing performance and growth of their team members.

So you do have to figure out when is it right to help this person move on to the next step. And then give them the training they need for that step, especially if it’s some kind of leadership position. So, you know, typically, people are given salary positions when they’re valued more by the organization, and we need to value everyone, but certain people bring certain skill sets that are harder to come by that are more needed. And so salary, the concept of salary was created in the first place, in order to attract and keep those kinds of people, especially if the contribution isn’t something that can be quantified over time. You know, maybe someone has some level of creativity, or some kind of wisdom or ability to come up with ideas. It has less to do about time. And it’s more about that kind of contribution.

You know, though, you know, someone who can perform a life saving surgery in 60 minutes in the ER doc or something like that. It might only be an hour of their time, but that’s a really valuable hour. Right. And so, that’s why salaries were created. So it’s hard for me to say exactly when, but when you need to constantly thinking about for every one of my team members, what’s the next step for them? And how can I help them grow and develop to get them there, regardless of what the compensation model is going to be?

Allison: Alright, thank you. That’s outstanding insights. Scott, I very much appreciated our time together today and a deep insight into stepping the ship to show so thank you very much.

Scott: Such a pleasure. Thanks for having me.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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