Updated: Sep 8, 2021
The retail industry relies on frontline workers, as they are not only the direct contact point for potential customers but are the employees most likely to convert prospective customers into paying customers.
As we move forward from the pandemic, retailers are busy, working towards recovery while often working with a smaller workforce. Finding and retaining staff has proven a difficult task for many retail employers. But, attraction and retention doesn't have to be complex or time consuming. There are two ways retail employers can go about attracting and retaining staff: motivation and engagement.
Motivated employees are more likely to be productive, provide better customer service, produce more sales and will be less likely to leave. They will also tell their network and friends what a great place it is to work at. So, how do we go about engaging and motivating retail employees?
Open the lines of communication. Clearly communicate expectations and goals to all employees, make sure they have the tools they believe they need to perform the tasks assigned to them, and tie-in their contributions to the overall goals and mission of the company.
In these times of uncertainty, clearly communicate your expectations, and foster opportunities for employees to share their concerns and needs. Asking your employees for overall feedback, not only on their experiences, but also that of customers, will help you uncover the successful and less-successful areas of their retail experience. They are on the frontlines and will have fantastic input on how to improve and grow the business.
Finally, provide and communicate scheduling information to employees as quickly as possible, so employees have ample time to plan around their work obligations. Consider keeping schedules consistent across weeks to avoid unexpected absences.
An easy way to increase employee engagement is to invest in your employees, as this, in turn, encourages employees to invest in your goals and mission. Invest in your employees by giving them more responsibilities when warranted and spend on company cultural improvements that will directly benefit them, like break room upgrades.
Small acts of appreciation can have a big effect. Consider including micro-recognition moments into the workplace, like providing weekly free snacks on a given day.
Don't forget a simple and genuine 'thank you' goes a long way!
Recognition is a key element to keeping employees engaged and motivated, as this not only recognizes their efforts, but demonstrates that employers appreciate their individual contributions. To keep employees from feeling undervalued, create a culture of recognition in which employee contributions are regularly acknowledged and celebrated.
Recognize employee accomplishments through many forms, like peer-to-peer, manager-to-peer, verbal and physical recognition and rewards. Consider curating your rewards and forms of recognition to follow your company mission and values.
Providing personalized rewards shows you value the individuality of your employees. When rewarding employees for their efforts, consider a Rewards Program which would allow employees to select rewards that best suit their personal desires.
During this transitional time, employers in all sectors are looking for ways to motivate employees by continuing to be action-oriented, compassionate, transparent and present.