By Katherine Wellman
No matter what the industry, employees are the face of a company. Sure, the products you are selling are why customers first visit your business, but it is employees that keep them coming back. Engaged and happy employees improve the customer experience, which results in loyalty and increased revenue and growth. Unfortunately, if your staff is aloof, it is costing you. According to a Gallup study, over 70 percent of all U.S. workers are disengaged in the workforce. These employees are costing business owners billions of dollars every year. The following are three approaches you can take to keep your staff engaged from the start.
1. Be flexible
Creating an engaged workforce does not have to take a lot of effort. Your staff will react positively to even the smallest gestures. For example, allow staff to submit availability weekly, before you create the schedule. This helps employees create healthy work-life balance. The retail industry relies heavily on part-time employees who often have other activities such as school, another job, children and sports packed into their days. Flexibility at the workplace allows people to live fulfilling lives outside of their place of employment, which results in a happier workforce. Accepting availability from your staff will also give you great insight into which staff members are the most engaged. Keep an eye on the number of hours your employees work from week to week, who is continually switching shifts and who picks up the offered shifts, as these three things will give you great insight.
2. Involve your staff
Encourage two-way communication. All too often, managers are delegating tasks and not listening to what their employees are saying. Your staff is on the front lines of your business every day, and they quickly learn what is working and what is not. Ask them for feedback often. Use employee reviews as a time to gain valuable insights from your staff. This should be a time for you to review their performance, and for them to review your business and you. They may have amazing ideas on how to sell your products, run your business, engage your customers and increase loyalty. While gathering this feedback, it is extremely important that you take their suggestions seriously and implement changes based on what they tell you. As they see you making adjustments to your business based on their ideas, they will feel included in the decisions you are making, and be encouraged to continue to share their opinions with you.
3. Create brand ambassadors
Give your employees the tools they need to promote your company and products. When your staff has the knowledge to speak authoritatively to customers about your store’s policies or products, they will be more confident in their job. So often within small businesses, there is very little organization when it comes to product knowledge, documents and policies. Leverage technology to keep these documents in one easy to manage location that is available to every employee, no matter where they are. If your employees are properly informed, they can speak of these policies with authority, passing this confidence along to your customers.
For more ways to increase employee engagement, download Shifthub’s ebook, Solving HR Problems Without An HR Department.