Retail employees have been drastically affected by the unprecedented times we are living in. They are working harder than they ever have before and many are facing layoffs, reduced hours (or for some small companies, increased hours, causing fatigue and burn-out) and also skittish customers who may be irritable and demanding. At this crucial time employers need to provide a positive experience for their employees to keep them engaged and happy.
Communication is a must for building a strong relationship with employees in any industry at any time, but now in the era of COVID-19, it is more important than ever. However, communication between an employer and employee that flows only from employer to employee will not work. Employers must encourage their workers to be active in the communication process. According to a Gallup survey, engaging employees effectively results in 41 percent less absenteeism, 17 percent more productivity, and a higher likelihood that workers stay with their employers for the long term. Let’s look at some things you can do to foster effective and productive communication in your store.
Consider Using Games – Gamification is a growing trend in employee engagement that uses a digital environment to help employees reach certain goals and objectives. It is an excellent way to bring you and your staff together in friendly competition and to form bonds which will help your employees feel like they are part of the whole team and are valued as such. Search “gamification for employees” online to bring up all sorts of resources you can use for this strategy.
Hold Theme Days – This might include “Taco Tuesday” or “Pizza Friday” where you host a team lunch and serve your favorite local restaurant’s tacos or pizza. You can spotlight certain departments or individuals at these team lunches. Have an “Employee of the Month Day” where one employee is selected and is given small tokens of appreciation from all other staff members such as a packs of gum or candy or handwritten notes of appreciation for what they do for the company, and a badge to wear designating them as “Employee of the Month” (to be worn the entire month, of course).
Share Store News – Sharing information about the store and what events are coming up, any great reviews or compliments the store has received online, etc. can help employees feel more in tune with your company as a whole and will foster pride in their workplace. They will feel more invested in their work when they’re connected to leadership, their organization’s mission and values, and their peers while they share these news items with one another.
Boost Employee Morale – Encourage employees to share successes with you and the rest of the staff. They will feel recognized and appreciated when allowed to share their good news with the rest of the staff. Allow all employees to direct questions to leaders and managers through designated communication channels and you will find that there are fewer rumors flying around the workplace caused by misinterpreted messages. Above all, remember that employees want to be included and they want to feel that they can communicate to company leaders anytime with any concerns they may have.
Retail employees have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis in many ways, but if you keep them engaged and happy in their work and workplace by implementing even a few of the suggestions above, they will always remember how you handled this situation by encouraging and empowering them – and that is how long term employer/employee relationships are built.