Retail workers who are motivated are more productive and can positively impact a company’s bottom line. And because of the customer facing nature of the job, they have the ability to directly influence brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.
This is why it’s so important to prioritise their motivation.
In this article, we discuss different ways business owners can motivate retail workers.
Recognise a job well done
No matter the size of your retail business, make recognition of employees a priority. This can be done weekly or monthly and also during peak seasons. You might feel like that is the wrong time to focus on recognition but this is one of the times it matters most.
During peak seasons, your staff will likely be busier and some will have to go above and beyond in order to meet the demands of the job. Recognition proves that you notice and appreciate their hard work.
Recognition can be combined with rewards. These shouldn’t only be given to top performers. At the end of a particularly busy period, reward top performers but also everyone who contributed to the effort.
In addition to rewards, incentives are a good way to motivate retail employees. Incentives that are tied to team performance can also improve team work, they can be bring some excitement to work and can create healthy competition between teams.
While money is a good prize, it is not the only one. There are several other incentives that can be offered; from gift cards and days off to a fully paid night out for the team. The latter delivers a sense of belonging, something all human beings crave.
Furthermore, incentives should always be structured carefully to make sure departments are being scored on a system that is equitable to their output.
Break the monotony
Retail jobs can get monotonous after sometime. In fact, it is mandatory in some that employees follow the same routine while handling tasks to ensure efficiency. However, this can result in employees working mindlessly.
In order to offer employees a new challenge, consider delegating tasks and rotating roles. This will expose your retail workers to new areas of the business and teach them new skills that can contribute to their development.
According to a study on retail employee performance and motivation, participants noted that nurturing employees, helping them grow and training them to fill the leaders’ shoes was a very good way to motivate retail employees.
Have a welcoming break room
Motivate retail employees by offering a nice break room. This shouldn’t be just a space at the back of the boxes but a decent place where they can relax on their break or in between shifts.
If possible, make sure that it is well aerated, has enough comfortable seats and a potted plant or two to complete the ambiance. Take into consideration that employees have likely been on their feet for hours and create a space that they will be glad to relax in.
Share schedules on time
Retail employees often work in shifts and knowing when they will be working well in advance, can help to keep your employees motivated. Abrupt schedules can be disruptive and lead to missed shifts or worse, employees abandoning their jobs.
Besides leaving the schedule in a place where everyone can access it, sending it to their emails or using a scheduling app can be helpful. A proper and well communicated schedule allows retail employees to plan and bring a balance to their lives.
They can spend time with family and friends and those studying can plan for their school work. This balance makes for more fulfilled workers who will be able to give their best on the job.
It is also helpful to get as much input as you can from employees while making the schedule. This ensures you avoid missed shifts and constant rescheduling.
Clear communication should be a priority
There are numerous benefits to be gained from open and clear communication and there are several ways you can take communication in the workplace from so-so to great.
Clear communication builds trust; it helps employees know what they need to do, who on the team can be called to report a change in schedule at the last minute and who to contact in case of a customer complaint. This motivates people to confidently do their work.
When communication isn’t clear, inaction and errors are soon to follow. Leaders should not just relay messages to their employees, they should get information from them as well. This can be in the form of surveys, group meetings or one-on-one conversations.
Take their feedback seriously
Taking employee feedback seriously is one way to motivate retail employees and help the business at the same time. Because your employees interact with customers daily, they have insights and sometimes direct information on customer needs and customer preferences. By listening to them, businesses can greatly improve the customer experience and encourage brand loyalty.
Listening to employee feedback also makes your employees feel like they are an integral part of the business and that they are making a meaningful contribution to the growth of the business. This is great for morale.
Employees are your first customers, incentivise them to consume your products
It is likely that the products you sell are products that your employees also use. Instead of having to buy these products at the regular retail price, motivate retail employees by giving them discounts to buy products from your store. Treat them like premium customers and give them first picks and lucrative points systems.
The importance of motivation in the workplace goes beyond just increased productivity. Motivated employees have greater reason to stay with businesses longer, they are a plus to the bottom line and they can affect their colleagues, causing their motivation levels to improve as well.
Employers in the retail space should prioritise communication, reward and incentivise employees as well as extend a little care with things like a nice break room to keep their employees motivated.