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.
What is Employee Engagement Really?
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 on how to motivate your team in retail are easy to implement and won’t break the bank either, so let’s get started.
These are 10 tips on how to engage retail employees and how to motivate your team in retail.
1. Schedules Should be Shared Promptly
Our first tip on how to engage retail employees might seem too simple to even be on here, but sometimes it really is the smallest things that make the biggest impact.
Retail managers must publish schedules in advance. 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 are at an all-time low.
In addition, some states in the US require you to share a predictive schedule anyways. But, in our opinion, it should just be commonplace regardless if you’re required to or not.
2. Offer Rewards & Incentives
When it comes to employee motivation in retail sector, you should work on boosting 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.
Taking the time to show your employees that you acknowledge and appreciate their efforts helps them feel great about 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.”
3. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Running a retail business means you need to reduce the time spent managing your employees, easily keeping everyone on the same page, automating onboarding, streamlining communication, and more. And when you aren’t looking at employee motivation in retail sector, you’re focusing on profits and customer satisfaction. There isn’t enough time in a day to get it all done.
This is why so many retail managers are turning to digital solutions to ease the burden, and Connecteam is the leading go-to employee retail management app.
Connecteam is an all-in-one retail solution that packs all the tools to run your retail business and manage your retail employees. For example:
- Run regular operational activities more easily with real-time access to digital reports and forms to gain clear oversight of your retail business. For example, employees can immediately fill out and complete open and close retail store checklist, share a refund report, report hazards in the store, etc.
- Streamline internal communication so nothing falls through the cracks. Start a private or group chat, send company-wide announcements from HR or headquarters, share fun informal communications to boost engagement like a positive customer review, share policy changes or new stores opening, and more.
- Create a healthy company culture to ensure your employees are set for success with material like manager observation reports, compliance practice worksheets, and even shine the spotlight on the employee of the month for a morale boost.
- Enhance onboarding and build up employee skills by offering direct access to all training material on the app. For example, read and sign to acknowledge materials, share videos, share quizzes, chapters that should be read, access to FAQs, and more like point of sale training, reading customer body language guides, etc.
- Make shift scheduling easy with features like ready to use templates, drag and drop, recurring shifts, and more. Include key shift information and tasks, send automatic reminders, create open shifts for grabs, etc.
- Ensure accurate time tracking with a simple clock in and out capability on the employee’s own phone or use a Kiosk station like a tablet. Easily export timesheets for streamlined payroll and send automatic reminders to ensure your staff clocks in and out on time.
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4. Hold One-on-One Meetings
Having one-on-one meetings gives you an opportunity to gain feedback on their performance, identify improvement areas, and 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.
The graph below offers insights on how to hold a one-on-one meeting so that it’s efficient and not a waste of time.
5. 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.
A few easy ways to do this include asking for feedback, creating an open-door policy, holding one-on-one meetings, weekly check-ins when relevant, and also measuring the effectiveness of the communication shared so you can continue to do what works.
6. Share Recognition Often
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 retail employee management 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
- Shine the spotlight on the employee of the month
- Allow employees to vote which peer performed the best
- Share individual and team success stories
- Include pictures, videos, GIFs, and more
Connecteam makes it simple to send frequent, social, and engaging recognition.
7. 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.
8. Have a Comfortable 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.
And when your employees have to deal with irritable customers, they can do this more efficiently when they’re in a good mood themselves.
9. 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 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.
10. Encourage Development
Finally, when looking at how to motivate your team in retail, look to the future.
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 the 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.
Looking Forward on How to Engage Retail Employees
When looking at how to engage retail employees and how to motivate your team in retail, 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. Look at what others are doing, hone your own managerial skills, consider technology to ease the lift, and sometimes just asking your team what they’d like can open the door.
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