02. May 2016
One of the biggest problems for companies, especially in retail is employee turnover. If 15-20 years ago it was natural for people to work on the same position for 5 years or more then today it’s very likely that people stay on one position for 1.5-2 years and then move on to somewhere with better challenges and work conditions. PayScale, the online salary, benefits and compensation information company, reported that 82 percent of companies were worried about employee retention, up from 60 percent in early 2014. Never mind tax regulations—it’s workforce retention that’s keeping employers awake at night.
New trends – Leadership innovation and employee motivation
There have been several discussion on how to solve this problem and keep your employees working for your company for more than a year or two. One of the biggest new trends is leadership innovation – new ways to lead and manage your employees. Banning and commanding is no longer an option if you want to be a good leader, you need to learn to delegate and give more responsibility to your employees. To implement this in your company you should train and coach the leaders to be most up to date with management skills. That’s also why we have started to offer coaching and training for leaders carried out by Ester Eomois.
Another important trend is raising employee motivation. There’s even technology and apps available today that allows to measure employee motivation.
Employee motivation has become so important that many companies have created work environment where employees can feel as it’s their second home. This usually involves entertainment for lunch time and after work as table tennis, team lunches and monthly team events, celebrating birthdays and important events for company, open fridge for beer on Fridays after 3pm and much more. This shows a lot can be done about working environment and team effort.
If you do not have possibilities to offer this in your work place you definitely can do a lot about team effort by organizing events and keeping people engaged with companies’ overall activities.
Highest employee turnover in Retail
Let’s be honest, companies in retail have the highest employee turnover. One of the issues in retail is the age of your salesforce.
Millennials – the generation that doesn’t care about interpersonal face to face experiences, brand value or loyalty. It’s because they have been schooled that retail is all about price, location and speed. Millennials will easily quit their job if there’s something not to like or they feel they need a holiday, simply assuming they get another job when they want to. Unfortunately most often they are right.
At the same time you are tackling with previous generations who do not want to adopt with new technologies, strategies to improve sales and customer experience cause they have used to the old ways and why should they change?
Salary is usually to be blamed when it comes to retail but it’s not always about the money. If it came down to wages alone nobody would work in retail, would they? A lot of people choose to work in retail as they simply like helping people and everyone likes to feel useful. Others like to be challenged, getting in-store discounts or working with products they like. You need to create an environment where people would feel rewarded and encouraged and understand what your employees are looking for besides the wage.
If you can’t offer more than minimum wage you must offer your employees the tools, knowledge and life skills they can’t get from any other competitor and that’s much more than ‘how to stock a shelf or do an inventory stock’.
Another reason for high employee turnover is lack of confidence. When you hire new sales representatives and ask them to approach clients in shop ‘How can I help you today’ without them feeling comfortable to do so you can be sure they don’t stay for long.
You need to start from trainings and making your employees feel that they learn something new, put the learned into practice and see the results. Then engage with them asking their feedback and opinions what they think could be done better. When people don’t feel good about what they are doing, possibly about themselves, and certainly their ability to engage strangers it’s very difficult to make them stay with your company. Make sure you have proper employee onboarding training in place and ongoing strategy to keep employees excited and trained.
Communication is the key
Very common complaint from staff members is that they don’t know what’s going on. This usually frustrates management as they feel they are communicating information on staff meetings but the knowledge staff members lack isn’t just day to day information but a high’level look at where the company is heading. A management team that has open lines of communication is more likely to instill confidence in their employees and make them feel valued. Few people want to feel like just a worker bee. Just as you’d communicate with your client to build a solid relationship, offer your employees the same.
Flexibility is highly valued
Flexibility is a critical factor in retention, either in retail or any other sector. Retailers typically need employees after 5pm and weekends since those are busy times. Employees often need schedule flexibility to work around family, education and personal needs. If both parties bring a collaborative approach, a mutually beneficial set up is possible. By accepting that employees have lives and demands outside of work and scheduling in-kind, you more likely find employees willing to work days and nights when they are needed. Retention is also better if employees feel like you understand them personally.
When it comes to office workers you can even take a step further and allow more flexibility in office hours and work home policy. If your employee needs to go to doctors or take care of the children when they are sick, allow them to work from home in that occasion if that’s an option. This means you both won’t lose time on commuting from home to work to doctors and back to work which makes up quite a few lost hours. Working from home is becoming more popular but requires high self-motivation and control at the same time. If you try it once and the results are the same as working from the office you can occasionally offer this option as a benefit for your employees.
We have now covered flexibility, better communication, both employee and management training, improving work environment and creating team spirit to engage and motivate your employees to stay with your company. All you need is more creative approach and time as investment to build the motivation package.
The same way as you don’t want your clients to leave you for competitors you should take care of your employees. Create a work environment and jobs that are not only dependant on salary.