5 Steps to Creating Happy, Loyal Employees
As a retailer, you know that your staff is your most crucial asset. Fostering higher levels of employee retention means less time spent recruiting and training to fill the same position–a revolving door that can be as costly as it is exhausting. Inspiring employee loyalty boils down to actions that demonstrate your staff is valued. Here are five simple ways to reward talent, build motivation and reinforce an optimal employee culture, according to four successful CEOs.
1. Show your gratitude. Acknowledge that you appreciate your staff’s efforts by thanking them. “Offer simple ‘treats’ to celebrate business milestones and acknowledge the team as a collective,making people feel like they are a part of the success,” says MariaHatzistefanis, founder of Rodial. Not only can they be used to create fun and friendly competition, “rewards programs are a terrific way to boost excitement, inspire and incentivize people,” adds Gina Rivera, owner of Phenix Salons.
2. Inspire, don’t intimidate. Instead of threatening your staff, motivate them by helping them tap into their strengths and thrive. “When employees feel good about their accomplishments at work, the morale will organically be positive,” says Rivera. “Create an environment where people feel empowered and engaged,” says Amy Shecter, Glamsquad CEO.
3. Empathize with your employees. Step into their shoes for a moment and don’t forget those “in the trenches,” notes Rivera.It’s important to understand their perspective.
4. Demonstrate the bigger picture. Employees need a reason, other than their paychecks, to remain loyal. “People want to be fairly compensated, but money isn’t the reason why employees stay or go. Employees want to feel like they are making a difference and adding value to the mission of the company,” says Shecter, who encourages creating an ongoing education program, company-wide recognition and seasonal events for bonding (and fun) with all team members.
5. Encourage communication. “It is essential that employees feel they are heard, this really is key,” emphasizes Hatzistefanis. “The more that you listen to your employees and give them freedom and scope within their roles, the longer they will stay with you,” she continues. “Creating a culture of support, open dialogue, collaboration and education is essential,” adds Shecter.
Hiring Holiday Help
Hiring seasonal help can make or break your business during the busiest time of the year. It's important to take careful stock of your staff before the holidays, the same way you would a product inventory. To start, determine if you actually need holiday help. Ask yourself honestly if your current staff is equipped to handle your business on your most active day. Next, establish how many clients your store can comfortably serve at one time before you inadvertently forfeit customers and overwhelm staff. Then calculate how many team members are needed (and for how many hours) to maintain the ideal environment in your store. Give yourself both a conservative and liberal number, ultimately landing somewhere in the middle. Remember that some of the profits you expect to gain from increased sales will have to be budgeted towards new hires.
To get ahead of the season, pick an appropriate time to begin recruiting new staff, factoring in training time. “Typically, holiday help is hired in November on a part-time schedule to support the team with ringing sales and helping clients,” explains Elizabeth Barrett, store manager at beauty retailer Shen. While the time spent training seasonal employees should be factored in, there is generally no separate training required. “The training is the same,” confirms Barrett, who notes that seasonal staff is “paid in the same pool as the full-time employees.”
While all staff, seasonal or otherwise, should be vetted and interviewed accordingly, hiring candidates that know they are only there to fill a seasonal position comes with an increased risk. Holiday help may feel less allegiance to the company and might be generally less motivated at work. “There’s a risk for theft or absenteeism--failing to show up for scheduled shifts,” Barrett notes. To combat this, encourage communication and remind seasonal employees that there is a potential for more permanent work after January. Or you can inspire the best in seasonal and regular staff while contributing to your bottom line by hosting a friendly competition, in which employees compete for sales. Recognize top sellers with perhaps a gift card or other reward!
Photo by Heidi Sandstrom.