Employees play a vital role in the success of businesses in the retail sector. They can be the biggest drivers of retail productivity, and the more productive your store is, the better it is for your bottom line.
Without employees your retail store can’t function. Their direct interaction with customers is more important than ever before, especially with the proliferation of online shopping. Retail employees need to be providing experiences within stores that meet customer demand and satisfaction. They can be the biggest drivers of retail productivity – and the more productive your store is, the better it is for your bottom line.
That is why it is important for your employees to have developed the right attitude towards work. There are a number of ways to motivate workers. And, as increased motivation will increase employee productivity, your store will benefit. Developing their skills and improving their efficiency should be a priority if you want to meet your targets and goals.
Here’s how to make employees happy and productive at the workplace.
How To Overcome The 7 Biggest Employee Productivity Challenges
There are a number of factors that can affect employee motivation and productivity. Understanding them can help you put the right solutions in place to help your staff flourish – and this helps your retail business to grow and succeed.
Knowing how to increase employee productivity to unlock a lot of potential in your business. Some solutions will be easier than others, and a few will require some investment in either time or money – perhaps both – to see the effect you want, but the results will come. You don’t have to do everything at once, but identify the areas that could benefit the most and prioritise those.
1. Communicate Clearly
Employee satisfaction and productivity will always be low if you aren’t communicating in the right way with your staff. In the retail sector, you will undoubtedly have a mix of staff who work different shift patterns. Some will be full-time. Some will only work weekends. And some will work longer hours.There will be vital business information you need to communicate to your team in an effective manner. If you rely on sporadic communications or (worse still) word-of-mouth, information can be lost or mis-interpreted.
Invest in a communication tool that allows for real-time updates and monitored communication. Teaching staff how to communicate effectively means you can be in control of the information that goes out and see who has received it, leaving no room for error. Making your communication method a two-way function will allow information from your numerous staff members to be sent back to you. This keeps you on top of your business, having a 360° view.
2. Don’t Over-Rely on Manual Processes
If you are stock-taking, inventory checking, task managing and scheduling using a manual system, you are directly affecting your staff productivity. All of these processes can be digitised to boost employee productivity.
Freeing your staff up from manual processes will allow them to focus on the most important factor within retail – their relationship with the customer. Creating customer-focused experiences and good customer service in store will enhance face-to-face interactions, leading to more purchases.
A cloud-based digital system for manual processes will make you more efficient and ensure you are on top of the back-end of your business. Whilst it might incur an initial investment, it will save hundreds of hours which can be redirected into the customer-facing area of your business.
3. Engage Employees
If your workforce is disengaged, they won’t work at their optimum capacity and are unlikely to want to solve problems. Employee disengagement also adds to low staff morale and can increase turnover. None of these will help increase employee productivity as the performance of your team will decrease.
Disengagement can be countered by motivation. Motivating your staff can be achieved through recognition of staff achievements and rewards. Have a system in place that regularly highlights staff members when they’ve done a good job. For instance, an employee of the month can be a really effective incentive for employees to increase productivity .
When you appreciate staff, their productivity levels go up and they achieve more during their working hours. The importance of employee engagement cannot be stated enough.
4. Provide Training
“Education and training is the number one way to improve staff productivity. This is more than just product knowledge. Sales professionals need to meaningfully connect with each customer that walks into their store.” Ray Riley, CEO of Progress Retail
What Riley is saying rings true as you need to go beyond keeping your staff updated with what’s stocked in your store. In today’s competitive retail environment, you need to focus on staff training so they know how to relate to customers, giving them the tools to engage in conversation and show genuine interest in the customer as a human being.
How can you teach that to your staff? Look at learning experience platforms and learning management systems that will provide a comprehensive learning programme that is right for your staff members. Again, it might seem like an expense at first, but staff training and development will pay off in the long run.
5. Never Use Outdated Tools & Technology
Having the right tools and technology in place will always increase employee productivity, as outdated tools and technology are often slow and create unnecessary frustrations.
If you’re not sure exactly what your team needs, ask for their input. They might have a more informed opinion on what would help them from their experience dealing with customers. A good communication tool, for example, can help boost employee productivity. At the very least, ask employees what they feel is holding them back. Getting input from your staff makes them feel more involved and that their opinion matters – a great motivator.
6. Encourage Independent Working
If you are constantly breathing down the necks of your employees, you won’t create the most productive work environment. Resisting an overbearing helicopter approach will create more autonomy within your team. Most employees will appreciate and relish more independence so encourage this within your workplace.
You can make room for an autonomous approach by using digital solutions and communication tools. Staff can then be in control of their communications, requesting leave, agreeing to shift patterns and completing tasks digitally.
7. Prevent Work Toxicity
A toxic environment is not a nice place to be in and won’t be conducive to employee productivity. Toxicity can be increased if there is low morale or employees feel underappreciated.
You’ll probably be able to tell if you have unhappy employees but it’s worth asking them in anonymous surveys what they think. Provide an environment that encourages your staff to air their views. If you ask for their opinions, be prepared to act on any issues.
Once you’re identified what is wrong, look at ways to improve your workplace. Any of the previous six points might come up but there are many solutions to quite common problems. Just be prepared to listen and to act.
How To Increase Employee Productivity In Your Retail Business
There is definitely a direct link between your staff productivity levels and your bottom line. Focus on increasing employee productivity and you should see more cash in the till. Keep inspiring your employees, communicate with them openly and regularly, and use technology wherever you can.