The Top 10 Concerns of Retail Employees

Our retail consultants frequently conduct training workshops designed to help retailers improve the quality of their employees.  Retail store owners, store managers, and field managers spend a lot of time and money recruiting new retail employees to staff their locations, so when they find the right sales associate or customer service representative they want to make sure that investment pays off. 

Therefore it makes sense to ensure that you are focusing on the things that are important to keeping your retail employees engaged with your business and your customers.   According to the American Society of Employers, here are the ten most important things for your retail associates:

  1. Recognition– Make sure that you spend a few minutes each day thanking employees for their hard work and let them know when they have met or exceeded your expectations!
  2. Clear and Fair Policies – Communicating how you want things done in your retail store is important…just as important is communicating why you want things done.  Then remember that you must always apply the rules equitably.
  3. Strength of the Team – Does everyone in your retail store know what your goals are for the business?  This includes daily, weekly, and monthly sales targets.  Even more importantly, is everyone working together to achieve them?
  4. Autonomy – As a retail store owner you have a right to expect that your team members execute effectively in return for their weekly pay check.  Conversely, shouldn’t your team members expect that you give them the room and time to execute those tasks?
  5. Fair Benefits – There is no doubt that providing some benefits can be an expensive proposition.  On the other hand, it is estimated that each time a retailer loses an employee it costs $10,000 or more in lost sales, overtime, recruiting and training costs.  Additionally many benefits such as merchandise discounts, monthly pizza parties, and flexible hours cost very little and go to great lengths toward driving employee satisfaction.
  6. Positive Management – Positive management does not mean no or lax management.  It means that retail leaders are focused on giving retail employees clear goals, the tools they need to achieve them, constructive feedback, and a genuine thank you when they are successful.  Then when they achieve the goal, don’t forget to set a new one!
  7. Manageable Workload – Everyone in the retail business recognizes that it demands working evenings and weekends.  The key is to set expectations about the work week and the work requirements ahead of time.  Then balance the hours and tasks between all employees.
  8. Job security – If you are establishing reasonable expectations and SMART goals for your team members and then they achieve them they should have a reasonable expectation for job security.  On the other hand, you do need to make sure that their goals are in line with your business requirements.
  9. Fair Pay – It is amazing how far down the list compensation is.  Retail sales associates – especially those who work in a commission environment – can make very good money.  But the truth is that no one stays in this business over the long term unless they like working with and serving customers.  As long as your compensation plans are fair and they reward productivity compensation usually is not a major factor in job dissatisfaction.
  10. Opportunity for Promotion and Evaluation – Former New York Mayor Ed Koch was famous for always asking “How am I doing?”  Well, the truth is that virtually everyone who is working for a supervisor wants to know the same thing.  Conduct formal reviews twice a year and make sure to have informal one-on-one status updates at least once a week!

Would you like to learn about other ways that you can improve your retail business results?  Let the Retail Advocacy Group and Retail Training Services assist you with implementing a great retail business plan.  Contact us for a free one-hour consultation and needs assessment!