Engaging Retail Employees: How Small Changes Can Have a Large Impact on Employee and Customer Satisfaction
Happy employees are extremely important because they represent your company to the public. As customers, many of us have had an experience or two with less than satisfactory retail employees that made us question returning to a particular establishment. Maintaining a positive and upbeat atmosphere is undoubtedly one of the hardest challenges for retail management and staff. Even the largest and most successful companies in the world, who have endless resources, struggle with this challenge every day. Worst of all, it can negatively affect what is keeping everyone in retail employed, the bottom line.
I personally worked on both sides of the fence in retail. For several years I was a regular retail employee, and for several more years I was a retail manager. Below are some of the things I picked up as a retail employee and as a manager that I feel can make managing any retail environment a positive one for everyone involved:
Give Your Employees More Control
Making small, positive changes to how your employees give feedback and control their environment can go a long way. Gathering information such as scheduling preferences, point-of-sale menu layout and coloring, line flow, and product placement can help your staff feel more invested. Sometimes simply finding out which employees like working together and scheduling accordingly can pay off in a big way. You might find that making small changes like these can reduce some of the burden for management staff as well.
It’s extremely important to understand the goals of your employees. Modern retail and foodservice staffing will naturally create a diverse workforce. Some employees will be looking to learn and grow in hopes of advancing their career. These employees should be encouraged to take on new challenges and responsibilities, but remember that even new tasks can become old tasks after a while. You could consider rotating tasks between employees. This will result in a flexible, knowledgeable, and productive portion of your workforce while also preventing stagnant routines. As a good rule of thumb, remember that a good manager is always training his or her replacement.
Though it may not sound like setting expectations for your employees will contribute to a happy work environment, it is actually one of the most important steps you can take as a retail manager. Make sure that you have a solid list of expectations for all your employees, and that they know them well. Some employees are simply not interested in growth. Most establishments may have several staff members who are simply looking to go to work and collect a paycheck. This is NOT a bad thing. If these employees are consistently meeting productivity expectations, you should strongly consider letting them continue their normal routine, if that’s what they choose. If an employee is not meeting expectations it can negatively affect other members of your staff, and should be corrected. When your employees know that everyone is being held to the same standards and expectations, they will worry less about workplace politics.
Remember that the good and bad habits of managers and supervisors will often trickle down to other staff members. Avoid having closed door conversations out in the open at all costs. Few things can be more disruptive than having the right conversation in the wrong place at the wrong time. The employee would feel humiliated, and those that had to hear it will likely be upset. The original point of the conversation itself may as well have fallen on deaf ears as well. No one wins. Keep emotions in check and remember that management should be setting the examples for others to follow. As a manager, you are a role model to your staff. Be the best manager you wished you had as a new employee.
Article by: Tom Blackmer - SuitePoint! Point-of-Sale Product Manager; Fusion, 1st Quarter, 2016