Sometimes keeping talented employees happy is a challenge in a fast-paced retail environment. Skilled staff makes all the difference to your shop and your customers.
Every retail business woman knows how the right employee results in happy customers and more sales. This is true whether the employee is in sales, displays, administration, or any other role.
The good news is it all starts with you! Here are eight ideas that can help you keep your employees happy and motivated.
8 Tips on How to Keep Talented Employees
1. Lead by Example
As mentioned, it starts at the top. Do you want to ensure your employees are smartly presented while working in your store? Then pay attention to your own appearance. Your employees learn by observing you. This applies to the way you deal with conflict and the way you treat customers. It also goes a long way towards creating a team atmosphere.
The Harvard Business Review lists this as one of the three skills managers must do well to keep employees happy and motivated. Part of leading by example is sharing your mission and a sense of purpose with your staff. For example, if you express that your goal is to make every customer feel beautiful as she shops for lingerie, then your employees will look for ways to meet your goal. Every time they see you treat a customer like a VIP, they learn how to be more successful. People like to feel successful.
2. Create a Positive Team Environment
Sometimes the working environment means the difference between loyal employees and those who are looking for a step up.
So much of that is the personalities and people involved. Do your staff treat each other well? Do they have each other's back? Do they have fun together when appropriate? If they do, that translates to an upbeat and fun shopping experience for your customers.
Creating a positive team environment helps you keep talented employees and attracts the best and brightest to your store. Managing a team environment is an art, it requires a mix of recruiting the right staff, training, conflict resolution, and offering creative incentives (more about this later!).
We touch on this in our previous article, Four Tips For Motivating Employees.
3. Compensate Fairly
This overstates the obvious, in an ideal world every business owner wants to pay their best staff well. If the budget is tight and you can't afford to compensate generously, aim to compensate fairly compared to other small retailers in your region. Also, do everything you can to create a positive working environment and to offer creative incentives.
4. Offer Fun and Creative Incentives for Individuals and the Team
The Kellogg School of Management suggests incentives ranging from simply offering compliments for a job well done to competitions with high-value prizes. Celebrating team achievements through staff social events or treats in the break room are also fun incentives.
5. Invest in Your Employees' Career
Ambitious people thrive in work environments where they learn, grow and feel challenged. Ongoing training in sales, customer service, or any aspect of your business helps keep your team engaged.
Let's face it; some people see a job with a smaller retailer as a dead end job to pay the bills. When you exceed this stereotype, you have an edge on your competitors in the ongoing puzzle of how to keep talented employees. In addition, you can motivate your team by also investing into them as individuals and promoting wellness and self-care.
6. Promote Self-Care
We are in the business of empowering our customers to feel cared for and beautiful. Employees tend to burn out when they don't have time to take care of themselves. Employers who encourage staff to take care of themselves tend to value their employer more. This is part of the reason that larger corporations offer generous benefits, wellness programs, and gym memberships. This is more challenging for smaller business, but with a little creativity, you may find ways to help your employees take care of themselves.
7. Recognize Employees as Individuals
According to the Harvard Business Review, modern workplace interactions tend to be transactional. Since humans are social beings, a little kindness and human connection goes a long way towards staff morale. Getting to know your employees also gives you the chance to channel their talents and strengths. For example, you may discover that your part time sales assistant is a photographer who rocks Instagram. She may be able to create stunning images and stronger social media presence that results in more business.
This is one area where small businesses have the edge over larger corporations. Successful retailers and small business women know the importance of relationships. Chances are, you already treat your staff as individuals, but we can all use a friendly reminder. Treating employees with respect is the foundation of the next tip...
8. Deal With Problems Before They Grow Too Large
The Kellogg School of Management recommends that managers have more "difficult conversations." By respectfully facing small problems as they develop, you can boost employee motivation. New employees avoid developing bad habits and minimizes future problems. This results in keeping employees happy as they feel valued and respected.
Every manager knows this isn't always pleasant, but it is the best way to ensure the continued success and motivation for your whole team.
This list is just a starting point. Your business is unique, and you may discover new ways to keep your talented team happy.