Simple Solutions For Motivating Retail Employees

Motivating retail employeesAs part of our role as retail training consultants our team often will spend time in the field with a retail client’s store managers and regional leaders.  We do this so that we can ensure our custom retail training programs are addressing real-world situations and client needs, but it also allows us to solve some immediate problems that our clients may have.

In a recent set of visits, I observed that a client did not have any form of employee recognition program in place.  When I asked why, the response I got was “We used to have an employee of the month program, but we stopped it.”  The reason the client gave was that while the employee that was recognized felt good, other employees felt left out and that there was always someone that felt the boss was “playing favorites” and that it actually created a negative atmosphere.

This was interesting to me because many of the employees I spoke with felt that the Company was not doing enough to recognize them for their hard work, their tenure and their results.  It was a good thing that we were engaged to train on retail coaching and sales management – and now you can pick up on some of the ideas we gave our client.  So with that in mind, here are some things you can do to motivate your team members.


5 Creative ways to Motivate Retail Associates

1 – Use a “WOW” card:  Print up cards that say “WOW” on the front.  On the back, print a space where someone can explain what the person did that was great.   Attach a tear-off portion for the name of the person who submitted the card as well.  At the end of the month, the person with the most “WOW’s” gets a prize.  Then conduct a random drawing for someone who submitted a ‘WOW” card as well.  This not only encourages great behavior, but it also encourages team-work!

2 – Trade with other businesses and restaurants for prizes:  For example, if you are in the video game sector, you could trade a game prize for a gift card to the local pizza shop!  This keeps the prizes for your contests interesting and even gets others involved in recognizing your leaders.

3 – Use the “5 Coins” Program:  Each day, every employee starts out with five coins or tokens and they put them in their left pocket.  Every time they see someone doing something right they give that person a compliment and then transfer a coin to their right pocket.  The goal is to get all 5 coins transferred each day.  What a great way to create a positive environment in your business!

4 – Use a “Good News” board:  Whenever a manager or employee catches someone doing something that enhances the customer experience or builds the business, they jot down a quick note on a post-it or index card.  They then tack it to the good news board.  Anyone can recognize anyone else for a job well done and it creates a subtle reminder for everyone to strive for more without feeling singled out.

5 – Rotate Tasks & Create a Manager for the Day Program:  In some stores, employees can get caught in a rut because they do the same tasks day-in and day-out.  A great way to change this dynamic is to rotate tasks between employees so that they know just how tough each others’ job is.  This can even include switching roles with store leadership.  Just remind them that they need to catch people doing things right!


Great retail coaches understand the value of motivating their team members and these are just a few great ideas for keeping your team motivated and engaged.  If you are looking for more ways to improve your ability to lead and manage your team, you might want to consider enrolling in our online retail sales management training course!  Our Top Check Coaching system is perfect for leaders who want to take their business to the next level!