In the ever-changing universe of the retail market, it has never been more clear that a business’ longevity, customer loyalty and capacity for growth is built on the foundation of its passionate and determined staff. As the boss, you’re the captain of the ship, so you need to be confident that your crew is going to thrive when challenged, keep motivated and have the desire to develop their experience to build confidence for future endeavors.
1. Get to know your staff
At a basic level, you have hired a person based on their credentials, but do you understand their needs to really get the best out of them? So often in businesses there are employees who have the right skills to add value and contribute effectively, yet lack the correct support from their superior. Being a good manager means communicating clearly and delegating appropriately. It also means being a familiar face that your employees can trust. A study conducted by ‘BusinessSolver’ found that a colossal “93% of staff would be more likely to stay if their boss showed more empathy.” Engaging with your employees regularly and keeping an open line of communication is only going to benefit your company and maintain the notion that your employees feel valued and trusted by the top of the tree. This is fundamental to our expert trainer, Tim’s style, as he focuses on the “strengths of the staff” rather than fixating on their flaws. By exhibiting empathy, you will learn what makes your workforce tick and gain the mutual respect required for them to want to deliver for your company
2. Money doesn’t buy happiness” – or job satisfaction!
This old sentiment doesn’t just serve as a life mantra; it plays a pivotal role in staff retention if negotiated correctly, as Tim, highlights: “You won’t keep staff in a poor working environment where they don’t enjoy everyday, just so they can earn an extra 50p an hour.” A minimal salary increase won’t rectify weeks or months or prolonged employee dissatisfaction; especially if the environment they’re accustomed to can no longer sustain their motivation as a result of poor management or structure. Yes, most
would welcome a pay rise in any line of work, but if that’s the only change you are willing to make is it really worth papering over the cracks for a temporary boost, only to reach the same outcome of underperformance? Instead, perhaps consider investing in new resources for your staff to work with, or even a team building exercise to boost morale. Recapture the interest of the team by refreshing things and refocus the positivity.
3. Encourage training and follow suit
As your business grows, the demand for new skills and forward thinking increases. Courses and seminars are a great way to keep your employees engaged, by learning new skills and providing the opportunity to expand their knowledge. Keep in mind; “As a base principle, managers should do the same training as their staff” Tim states. Staying up to speed with what your employees know is vital to the evolution and continued progression of your business. New material and content will continue to stimulate your employees by keeping things current and interesting. Inevitably, your time and money will not always allow you to personally dedicate the same attention to every course or initiative, but without any kind of take-away material for you to remain informed, Tim begs the question: “How will you know what to support?” By staying informed, you also give the right impression to your employees by showing an interest in what they do – knowledge is power!
4. Provide Progression but Have a Plan
Similarly, within the realm of training lies the opportunity for personal development, which can lead to the prospect of promotion (should you have the capacity for it). Whilst this should be encouraged for the more ambitious members of staff, it is important to be mindful of where the employees are most effective. Tim voices a very valid concern that comes up frequently within the retail sector, in that a “top salesperson” can emerge as an “awful sales manager”. When the time for progression arises, again, the standout question at the top of Tim’s agenda is: “How are you going to support them?” When a chance to progress materializes, a clear support structure should be in place to make that transition as easy and comfortable as possible for the employee whilst they undertake this new challenge. If the shoe fits, then this should be a great step up for the employee and fill a space positively within the business.
5. Manage expectation
Tim’s advice for small businesses is to “accept that you won’t be able to fulfill all the needs of very ambitious people”. Research conducted by the ‘IIP (Investors for People)’ revealed that “One-third (33%) of UK employees said they wanted to leave their job due to a lack of opportunity for career progression”. Assessing your employees’ aspirations an skill set is key to their happiness, as you don’t want to invoke unnecessary pressure to move up the chain if they are happy in their current role. Equally, it is important to address their contentment and put a progression plan in place if you have the capacity to offer it to them. All it takes is an open conversation for what you can offer to the employee so that both parties have a clear expectation of their current and future prospects.
If you’d like to read some more insightful staff retention and leadership advice, you might enjoy our blog on Putting People First.
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Statistics sourced from various studies, surveys, online public resources: