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Each year, organizations spend millions of dollars on employee engagement. Everything from performance-based incentives to Taco Tuesdays, employers understand the value of a connected team. But it goes beyond employee discounts and foosball tournaments; engaged employees feel connected, valued and perform better at their jobs, because they:
80% of businesses plan to improve their corporate culture in 2017, according to Virgin Pulse.
From a retailer’s perspective, employee engagement becomes even more critical when the competition for retaining high quality associates is fierce. Due to the nature of the retail industry, unengaged employees have lower loyalty and motivation, causing them to nonchalantly jump ship.
That’s why the majority of retailers, which only used to focus on improving supply chain and core business operations, now substantially realize the importance of staff engagement.
Engaged Employees in the Real World
Employee engagement is not only about bigger and bolder initiatives, but also smaller, problem-solving steps to make the work environment friendly and exciting.
Have you ever walked up to a register ready to pay for your items when the associate behind the counter points out your item is buy one, get one half-off? You most likely bought the second item and felt good about saving money. As a retailer, you value associate who are not only aware of sale items, but actively point them out to customers. It increases customers experience – they walk away with a deal – and store profit. Creating a place where associates can easily access weekly sales, upcoming new products, and company events helps to keep employees informed and engage better with customers.
Retail employees are busy with endless tasks. They generally don’t have time to access their desktop computers for updates from headquarters. But if they’re able to access internal communication on-the-go, this can make a huge difference in their ability to stay connected and informed. Using a mobile social platform to connect with departments, HR and coworkers will not only help to stay updated about what is going on, but it also keeps them on the floor with customers.
Why Has Employee Engagement Been Ignored?
Every retailers’ priority is to maximize profit and minimize inefficiency. Many companies don’t see the immediate benefit of spending resources on employee engagement and it gets diluted. They may not think it impacts their bottom line as much as other short-term profit factors, like daily sales numbers, labor hours and inventory. But the way competition is growing, retailers must look beyond offers and attractive discounts to increase profit margins.
Many retailers find it hard to break the way things have always been done and adopt a more modern engagement approach. They may find it difficult to get seasoned managers to be active in department communications or to schedule one-on-one reviews for their employees. The learning curve may feel too steep for some companies to try and face, so they stay with what has worked in the past.
In order to grow your company to the next level, it starts with re-examining your employee engagement strategy and finding out where you can make adjustments and improvements. Be open with your associates, managers and directors about what they would like from HQ. Are they feeling left out of decision that affect them? Do they know what’s going on with their whole department? The whole store? These are easy barriers to address once you understand their concerns and needs.
One of the most effective ways to open the doors of communications is to include a social platform into your employee engagement plan. With this tool, associates can stay informed with company updates and give advices and feedback to management. And mobile capabilities keep employees from feeling tied to their desk so they can get more face time with coworkers and customers.
Customers hold a higher standard for a positive brand experience. Your employees are the brand advocate who must feel connected to be loyal and engaged. These are the employees who will create positive lasting experiences. Whether they are informing customers of an item on sale or getting feedback from coworkers and managers to improve sales, they will most likely be more investing into the success of the store.
To learn more about how to design your employee engagement strategy, click here.