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Keeping Your Staff Motivated

Keeping your staff motivated and happy in their jobs can be a challenge. Your staff determine the success or failure of your brick-and-mortar store, and because they are the face of your business, lackluster staff can often equal lackluster sales.
By ensuring your staff are enthusiastic, you’re also ensuring a more satisfying experience for your customers, who are more likely to make a purchase, spend more time and money in your store, and more likely to come back again.

In fact, in the retail and hospitality industries, employee churn is regularly cited as one of the biggest problems for small business owners. Employee churn also costs a significant amount of money! The average cost to find, hire and train a replacement for a $10/hour retail employee is $3,328 [Centre for American Progress]. Not only does it cost time to hire and re-train new staff, it can be an unsettling environment for any long-term staff, and a bad look when customers start noticing.

So how do you ensure your staff are motivated while at work and make sure your staff are feeling satisfied in their jobs? 

The good news is retention and motivation is not just about wage increases, it’s about creating the right working environment for your staff. There are lots of different things you can do to ensure your staff are happy and productive.

Clear communication

This is key for providing your staff with a healthy working environment. By ensuring you’re approachable, you remove a lot of communication friction and frustration.

Whenever I talk to retail staff about their job ‘off the record’, it’s a recurring theme that they don’t necessarily want a wage increase, they want to feel appreciated, listened to, and valued in their working environment. Makes sense!

Tip: The best way to be approachable is through being open to casual conversation and prompting staff to talk about work by working it into conversation. But if it gets difficult to find the time, try establishing a set 15 minute time slot where staff know that they can chat to you about any concerns, thoughts, challenges, or new trends they’ve been noticing.
Not only does this help make your business run smoother - it also enables you to to get regular updates from your staff about what is and isn’t effective in-store, while simultaneously ensuring that they feel listened to.

Give your staff direction

Like every business owner you want your staff to excel in their role. The best way to encourage this is by giving your staff clear goals and direction. By ensuring your staff know what’s expected of them, and what their priorities are, they will feel far more confident in their role. Set goals that are achievable if they work hard, but also not to easy. And when they hit goals, make sure you celebrate this achievement.

Tip: Set goals that are important for your business and explain the importance to staff. They could be around sales targets, selling a particular product category, or signing up new customers to your database.

Reward a job well done

Rewarding your staff incentivizes them to excel at their job. As the Retail Doctor Bob Phibbs says: “No one wants to work harder so someone else gets a reward. Find a way to include everyone somehow – not just on a sales goal but in keeping the “attaboy” attitude, so everyone feels good about the job they do for you.”

You could offer an incentive, like a pay increase or bonus, or something a little less comital like a free coffee, or just a simple shout out for doing a great job. The important thing is, that they feel appreciated and know you are proud of them. This will give them a boost, hopefully encouraging them to work hard to achieve the next goal.

Tell your staff when they’re doing well

Retail can be hard work and some customers will be more challenging than others. Having a manager that actively encourages and notices good service is a great way to motivate your employees. Noticing your ’ good work is a great way to let them know you really appreciate them delivering exceptional service and it doesn’t go un-noticed.

Keep up-skilling

Giving your staff ongoing training not only keeps them up-to-date with your business’s practices, it’s essential to ensure they are delivering the best possible service to your customers.
Whether it be taking them through your loyalty program, your POS system add-ons, or just a new way of greeting customers, taking some one-on-one time with your staff is a sure-fire way to help them feel like they have an important part to play in your business’s success.