When it comes to the retail industry, your frontline workers literally can make or break the business. These workers are the ones that have the most direct contact with the customers, and they have the best chance of converting a prospective customer into a paying customer.
It makes perfect sense for retail managers to work hard to build an engaged and motivated front-line team. Both motivation and engagement have been linked to higher productivity rates, lower turnover, and improves customer services.
Unfortunately, a recent study reveals that more than one in three retail workers claim to feel disengaged in the workplace. To make matters worse, many in the retail industry work in busy, stressful, and high-demand workplaces. This type of chaotic workplace can make it difficult for managers to find time to foster engagement and build motivation with their workforce.
There are, however, several things retail managers can do that are fun, easy, and very effective at engaging and motivating retail employees.
1. Invest in Your Workers
Every good business leader knows that their employees are their most valuable asset. This fact is especially true in the retail industry. It's vital that you make investing in your workers a top priority. Start by making sure that your employees have the right training, technology, and support they need to perform well on the job.
Don't assume what your company offers now is sufficient. In fact, according to the latest State of the American Workplace Report, only 30 percent of workers state that they have the right tools to perform their job. Take the time to reach out and make sure your workers have the tools and equipment they need.
2. Develop Open Communication
One of the best ways to improve engagement in the workplace is to develop an open line of communication with your workers. Be sure that every employee knows exactly what is expected of them and what their sales and other goals, such as credit card applications, are and how these goals are measured.
Don't stop at just relaying individual goals to your team. You also want to share the company's goals, mission, and overall vision. Being open with your employees will make them feel like they are part of the team and motivate them to meet both individual and company goals.
3. Create a Culture of Recognition
Retail stores can be very busy, especially during the holidays and special events, which can make it challenging to make recognition a priority. The problem is that it's during these times that your workers need recognition the most. Otherwise, your workers can feel undervalued, which can lead to frustration among your workers and lower workplace morale, reduce productivity, and lead to poor customer services.
This point makes it extremely important to create a culture of recognition, so whether it is during the busy period or not, your team is getting the recognition they deserve. Consider using digital employee recognition software that makes it easy for managers to recognize employees for a job well done and even gives employees a medium to offer peer recognition. This software allows for frequent, social, and engaging recognition.
4. Reward Employees for a Job Well Done
Don't just stop at recognizing your employees for a job well done. Take the next step and reward them when you can. There are many types of rewards you can offer, such as monetary rewards, paid time off rewards, gifts redemptions, social recognition, employee-of-the-month, and many more. The dollar value of the reward is not as important as the process of rewarding your team for going above and beyond expectations.
5. Maintain a Nice Break Room
Maintaining a nice break room can be difficult for many retail stores, who are already short on storage space. Nonetheless, it's something that shouldn't be overlooked. On the surface, a break room may not seem like a major priority, but when you've been on your feet for hours, dealing with long lines and cranky customers, the opportunity to sit and relax during your break can play a major role in one's workplace attitude.
If you want your employees to stay happy and motivated, making sure they have a, not just adequate, but a nice break room to relax for a few minutes is a must.
6. Encourage Honest Feedback
Remember that your frontline employees have direct contact with your customers. They hear the complaints, compliments, and concerns of all your customers. These workers know what's working in the stores and what isn't. They know what the customers like and what they don't.
The good news is that you can know too, just by regularly asking your employees for honest feedback. It's important to encourage your employees to provide regular feedback and to provide them with an always-on employee feedback tool, that is engaging and easy to use. Not only can you gather their feedback on the customer experience, but equally important, the employee experience. Make it a priority to listen to your employees frustrations and address any signs of disengagement right away.
7. Take Appropriate Action
That last thing you want to do is to ask for honest employee feedback and then sit on the data. Failing to take action on employee feedback will not only encourage your workers to stop offering any feedback, but it will create frustration throughout the workplace.
Yes, retail stores are busy, chaotic, and stressful, but that is no excuse for ignoring employee feedback. Thankfully, today's technology makes taking action easier than ever. The right software can guide both managers and employees through the action plan process, by delivering bite-sized, personalized actions. Following feedback through with action can help to boost employee engagement and motivate your team.
Motivating and engaging retail workers does not have to be complicated or time-consuming, but it does require a commitment from the management team. Download the Shop Direct Customer Success Story to find out how Shop Direct, a multi-brand online retailer serving the United Kingdom and Ireland, was able to boost employee engagement by 17 percent with Achievers' award-winning employee engagement and recognition platform.