Retail companies depend on positive interactions to keep customers coming back. If a solid foundation between employee and consumer is not thoroughly formed, or begins to collapse, the business will suffer as customers choose to shop elsewhere. Disengaged employees are overall less reliable, less enthusiastic on the sales floor and less likely to remain on a long-term basis.
Below are 5 employee engagement ideas to create a positive environment where employees feel valued and heard. Follow these steps, and you will soon see a rise in productivity and a renewed energy throughout the workplace.
1. Admit You Have a Problem
The only way to solve the problem is to admit there is one. Steer clear of generalized employee surveys to pinpoint the problem. While they may identify the unsatisfactory attitudes in the workplace, they will not offer a solution to changing them. Speak honestly with your employees. Tell them you realize there is a problem and need their help to solve it. Be upfront, but be careful to not place blame. Ask them why they feel the environment is negative and listen to ideas on moving in a positive direction. Showing them you are really paying attention and are prepared to make changes will gain back their trust and begin to raise morale.
2. Say Thank You
This seems like such a simple solution, yet is often overlooked. Showing appreciation to employees has been proven to re-engage them by 67%. A thank you can be in the form of words, bonuses or a handwritten letter. Post positive feedback on a bulletin board or company newsletter. Reminding employees that they are valued and respected for the work they do will boost them up and give them the confidence to perform well. Acknowledging a job well done fosters a solid relationship between managers and employees which builds a foundation of trust and support.
3. Encourage Employees to Recharge
Retail can mean long hours that are both mentally and physically challenging. All employees need the opportunity to take a step back and refuel. As a leader, insist workers take their full lunch hour or short breaks during their shift. Organize team building activities to begin the day on a positive note. But lead by example. Supervisors must also take a full lunch hour and be active participants in activities. Never slowing down demonstrates unrealistic expectations. Employees who see their manager’s human side develop a deeper camaraderie and are 1.3 times more likely to remain at their job.
4. Make a Great First Impression
From day one cultivate the excitement and eagerness you see from new employees. Instead of making them sit through hours of presentations and loads of paperwork, have them jump right into the job. By putting them to work, you show them you trust their ability, which gives them the confidence to excel. Pair them with a co-worker who is especially engaging and watch that enthusiasm rub off. From day one they will begin building bonds with fellow employees which creates an inclusive environment. Share with each new hire the philosophy and values you want the company to portray. Explain how each employee’s positive contributions make the company a success.
5. Be Flexible
If you truly trust your employees, then there is no need to micro-manage every aspect of their job. While retail requires employees be in the office, their scheduled shifts may be flexible. Give employees the opportunity to form their work schedules to best fit their needs. Allowing autonomy with adjustable schedules leads to workers who are less stressed, more creative and much more engaged with customers.