Retail is known for having a high staff turnover, which can be costly and damaging to your brand. How do you turn this around and ensure your employees remain engaged and committed? Agency owner of Frontline Executive Retail Recruitment, Tania Greig provides tips on how to retain your top talent.
Training should be one of the first steps when introducing new staff to your retail environment. “Often new team members are thrown in the deep end to sink or swim,” says Greig.
“Consider putting your sales and management recruits through a thorough induction and training programme prior to being let loose on the sales floor. This initial investment will be well worth it to ensure they adapt seamlessly into your store environment and are familiar with your customer service and sales expectations, as well as your company standards.”
Greig says training is an important part of identifying areas of potential weakness, which you can then strengthen to avoid issues further down the track. On the flip side, it can highlight strengths you can maximise on.
“A formalised onboarding programme ensures all new team members start on an even playing field, and it also sets the scene for cementing your company culture.”
Training shouldn’t stop at new salespeople; Greig highlights the importance of training senior managers and higher ranked employees too.
“The saying that people don’t leave a company they leave a boss is often true. Make sure your managers understand what being a good leader is. Teach them how to set guidelines and expectations for behaviour, while providing training, support, motivation, and encouragement. Effective retail managers also know how to lead from the front, listen to the team's concerns and how to empower them to make good decisions.”
Having a strong company culture and ethos allows for new, and previously residing, retail staff to feel involved in the bigger picture.
“Create a strong team atmosphere by celebrating the wins. You can do this by setting up a reward and recognition programme, or developing rituals around acknowledging sales wins” says Greig.
“Everyone loves to feel valued and everyone loves to be acknowledged for significant achievements, as well as for the small things they do that make a difference. This creates healthy competition but it also creates camaraderie and a sense of belonging.”
Frontline Recruitment Group, with its 42 agencies across Australasia, uses acknowledgments of good work to show deserved recognition for its team members.
“Every week we can vote to acknowledge someone else in the network for their contributions, and at every annual conference, the person with the most votes wins the overall award, as voted by the team. As well as the recognition of receiving votes, it is a really good mindset shift to stop once a week and think about someone else that did something of value to assist the network or yourself.”
Salary and incentives
Unsurprisingly, one of the best ways to retain retail staff within your business is to offer incentives to keep them growing within the company.
“Promote from within,” says Greig. “Show your team members there is a career path within your organisation.”
Greig acknowledges that this will not always be possible as staff may not be ready to advance and you may require some external expertise, but she stresses the importance on bringing outside staff in respectfully.
“Manage the expectations of your team in advance so in cases where they are unlikely to be promoted they are not disappointed – if you want to keep them in the organisation find some other way to recognise and acknowledge them and maintain their loyalty.”
Most importantly, Greig says pay fairly; otherwise expect more movement as staff are enticed elsewhere.
“It’s not all about money, but the simple fact is that if team members feel they are fairly rewarded they are more likely to be loyal. If you are paying below market rates, expect a higher staff turnover – your employees will use you to gain industry experience then move on to a company offering more. Consider whether the cost of continual training and on-boarding, plus lower level service delivery outweighs the salary savings.
For some retailers, it’s a lot easier to attract new hires due to the cool factor of their product and brand image. For others with a less aspirational appeal, but just as valuable a retail service, your secret to success can be the culture you create within your organisation,” says Greig. “Develop an internal community of positivity and success and become famous for being an innovative and fantastic place to work with strong career opportunities.”