Working in retail is something truly understood only by those who have done it. A quick browse of Buzzfeed unearths lists like “25 Words That Have A Totally Different Meaning When You’re A Retail Worker” and “19 Ridiculous Customers Anyone Who Works In Retail Has Encountered.” It’s easy to see why the average shopper might perceive (wrongly, in most cases) retail workers as disaffected and disengaged.
But there are plenty of success stories to the contrary, and from some surprising sources: Nordstrom, Trader Joe’s and QuikTrip have all been cited for having satisfied, engaged employees well beyond what’s expected of retail and even other industries. Happy workers can even have a demonstrable effect on sales and customer satisfaction, with some going so far as to call employee engagement a “wonder drug.”
So what can you do to help foster employee engagement and give your customers and sales a boost of this so-called “wonder drug” while not breaking the bank? When it’s time to consider your staff, skip the clearance rack and go straight for the top shelf. There are many easy ways to boost engagement:
Show your appreciation: This one matters in every industry, not just retail. According to global employment firm Randstad, employees ranked personal recognition as the top benefit driving engagement. Employee recognition programs enhanced by fun freebies and other perks can help reinforce workers’ value to the company and enhance loyalty and job satisfaction.
Be a good neighbor: Part of employee engagement is making it easy for your staff to feel some ownership of your company’s greater identity. Recent studies show 67% of workers prefer companies in which employees can take the lead in sustainability, and 50% of millennials want to work for a company with ethical business practices. Embracing sustainability and diversity as a company can give employees a reason to be proud of representing your organization.
Prioritize well-being: A healthy employee is a productive employee, and retail settings can often mean long, hectic hours and a lot of physical activity. A stocked breakroom provides a place for employees to reenergize for that next customer interaction, and safety and wellness initiatives keep your workforce going for the long haul without incidents. If you’re looking out for your employees, they will look out for you, too!