10 Ways to Engage and Motivate Retail Employees

We need to talk about employee engagement and motivation in the retail industry. Why? Well if you’re a retail manager, chances are that you’re aware Quantum Workplace’s Employee Engagement Trends Report reported that just 65.1% of retail workers are engaged. And this is cause for alarm because the report also stated that a company with engaged employees experiences lower turnover, higher sales, and higher customer satisfaction.

Engagement levels in retail infographic



So what is employee engagement? Well it isn’t employee happiness or satisfaction, instead employee engagement is, “…the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” When employees have this emotional commitment then they’re engaged employees who genuinely care about their work and their company. Engaged employees don’t focus on the paycheck alone, instead they work to deliver the company’s goals because they want to see it succeed. 

Stop asking yourself how to engage retail employees or how to motivate your team in retail we have listed the top 10 ways you can do just that. These tips are easy to implement and won’t break the bank either, so let’s get started. 

10 Ways to Engage and Motivate Retail Employees

  1. Make their schedule available as soon as possible.

Our first tip might seem too simple to even be on here, but here’s the thing, publishing schedules in advance makes a huge difference to your employees. By having that schedule ahead of time, you’re improving your employee’s quality of life. How? They can create the ultimate work-life balance so they can make plans that don’t interrupt their work schedule. Employees can get a better night’s sleep if they have an early shift in the books. They can spend quality time with friends and family during the evenings or weekends. In every sense of the word, employees can live a better private life while working happily. 

In addition, a poor employee schedule directly leads to high turnover which in turn costs your retail business more money. In retail, there is a startling average turnover of 1.7 million employees per month. And a poor employee schedule plays a part in it because without a good and healthy schedule, employee satisfaction and happiness is at an all-time low. 

Good employee scheduling saves you money infographic



  1. Employee rewards and incentives. 

Boost employee engagement and motivation by rewarding employees for a job well done. Monetary rewards are great, but they shouldn’t be your go-to answer every time. Instead, switch it up and give your employees rewards and incentives they can appreciate. Such as employee of the month recognition, lunch or dinner with the boss, a team outing, scratch offs, movie tickets, company swag, and so on.

40 employee appreciation ideas for 2019


Taking the time to show your employees that you acknowledge and appreciate their efforts helps them feel great about what their job role, these positive vibes will also follow them home so you’re creating a work-life balance. Additionally, studies have shown that, “We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings.”

  1. Use an employee app. 

Running a retail business means you need to reduce the time spent managing your employees, easily keeping everyone on the same page, automating on-boarding, streamlining communication, and more. That’s where an employee app comes in and Connecteam is the best in the market. 

Connecteam is an all-in-one solution that packs all the tools to run your business and manage your employees – time clock, chat, engagement, in-app directory, surveys, scheduling, online checklists, training and so much more. Everything is located in one place, is easy to use and can scale with your business, plus it’s highly affordable. 

Scale your retail business with Connecteam

Everything you need to save time, increase employee engagement, enhance daily operation and more is available in one place – Connecteam’s retail app. It’s that easy to schedule shifts, automate processes, enhance communication, boost engagement and provide a great work experience for all your employees.

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  1. One-on-one meetings.

Having one-on-one meetings gives you an opportunity to gain feedback on their performance, to identify improvement areas, and to offer help with challenges your employees are up against. Make sure these meetings are held in private, away from customers and coworkers. When you don’t meet with your employees on a regular basis, they’re basically running on “autopilot” but could be heading in the wrong direction! 

A quick meeting like this helps build a better relationship between employees and managers. Employees feel comfortable sharing ideas and concerns, plus they can even vent if needed. This just helps to keep everyone on the same page so both of you can deliver the goals of the company, without any added issues. 

Time breakup of one-on-one meetings



  1. Foster open communication.

Another easy way to build motivation in the retail industry is to make sure you have an open line of communication with your employees. The best retail managers excel at communication and because they practice good communication, they give their employees a feeling that the manager is in control and can easily see the big picture. 

Good communication creates role clarity, which is a predictor of job satisfaction. Employees should know what’s expected of them and how to do their job best. If employees aren’t sure about their role then will are likely to feel stress and tension. However, when a manager is transparent and clear in communicating with others, then the entire team experiences a more harmonious work environment. Why Good Communication Is Great For Business Infographic


  1. Recognition!

Without recognition, employees can feel undervalued and that can even cause frustration, low morale and low productivity, and all that can lead to poor customer service. That’s why creating a culture of recognition is so important. Even if it’s rush hour, like during a holiday, it is still important to recognize a job well done. 

Using Connecteam’s employee app makes it super easy to offer recognition and for employees to do so as well. Send messages with social functions (likes and comments) after you see an employee going above and beyond, share positive customer reviews, share the employee of the month, and so on. Connecteam makes it simple to send frequent, social, and engaging recognition. 


  1. Encourage feedback.

Your employees are in the thick of it – they know every single customer complaint, compliment, and concern. Plus, they know what works best in the store and what doesn’t and on top of it all, they know what the customers like and don’t like. So use this to your advantage. 

Ask your employees to regularly offer feedback – from customer experience to sales ideas to their own employee experience. Listen to what your employees have to say and if they report back with problems, tackle them right away. 

how to give and receive feedback infographic


  1. Create an awesome break room.

It may be hard to create a nice break room, especially when you’re already short of space, but don’t overlook this as a tool for motivation in the retail industry. While it seems like such a trivial thing, a nice break room creates a calm space for employees to go after dealing with irritable customers – just being to sit and unwind for a few minutes can dramatically change an employee’s mood. 


  1. Create measurable, attainable goals. 

Boosting motivation in the retail industry should involve an easy way to establish goals for employees to reach. Like, getting a sale every hour or getting customers to sign up for a rewards program. However, don’t make the goal unreachable, that just defeats the purpose. When goals are measurable and attainable, you don’t have to ask yourself how to motivate your team in retail. Take time to create realistic goals and include the employee in the decision making. And be sure to provide feedback on a regular basis and help the employee if they are struggling. 

Use the S-M-A-R-T method:

SMART goals


SMART goals help keep everyone on the same page, keep goals public, creates a timetable to keep everyone on track, defines what is considered a success and allows you to gain feedback to optimize your goal setting.


  1. Encourage development.

Offer plans for employees to move up in the company, even if you have a small retail business, the opportunity for growth should be available. Encourage employees to grow within the company – for example, create an opportunity to learn about marketing so they can run your social media channels. This allows employees to feel engaged and motivated while they learn new skills and you can make sure that turnover rate doesn’t spiral out of control while gaining valuable skills to increase the bottom line. 

Offering career advancements will motivate your employees and helps to keep them around for the long-haul. Also, studies show that 37% of companies in the U.S. and Canada find that their employees understand how to further their careers and 44% of companies find that their employees even have any opportunities for career advancement. 

When looking at how to engage retail employees, remember that it doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or expensive task. It is entirely within your reach, as long as you remain committed and open. 

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Connecteam’s retail employee app is the best solution to have everyone on the same page. With our mobile-first platform, you can easily communicate with your retail employees in multiple ways, improve professional skills, provide an efficient on-boarding experience, get rid of pen and paper with digital forms, checklists and reports, and take employee engagement to the next level.

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