A common theme being emphasized in the business world now more than ever is that what happens on the inside of an organization and amongst employees is often felt on the outside by its customers. The retail industry is especially familiar with this idea. With turnover rates reaching 67% for part-time retail employees when compared to other industries, it’s no secret that retail owners and operators are scrambling to find a sustainable solution to protect their business.
The financial burden of finding, hiring and training replacement employees alone is enough to wreak havoc on an otherwise successful operation. When examining the negative impact this disruption of staff has on the customer experience as well, it’s obvious why success is not easily sustained.
To make a comeback, retailers must understand the value of employee retention and the role it plays in performance, output and ability to scale. Here are five workplace management strategies you can integrate into your operations to boost employee retention and increase customer loyalty.
1. Establish well-defined team roles and responsibilities.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? The best way to ensure employee productivity, satisfaction and retention is by providing them with clearly defined roles, responsibilities and expectations from the moment they are hired. When employees have a clear understanding of the role they play in a business, they feel more confident. This confidence not only improves their performance and the customer experience, but the way employees feel about their job. Additionally, employees crave meaning and ownership in their work, with 49% of employees stating that they would trade a portion of their salary to continue in their role with an added sense of purpose. When a team is striving toward a common goal, productivity spikes, improving customer satisfaction.
2. Foster a positive workplace culture.
A consistent and aligned workplace culture can directly impact employee productivity, making positive culture a key factor for business success. This also improves the overall health of the business and allows retailers to better connect with their customers. To build a positive culture, management must offer opportunities for employees to engage with their leaders and peers. In fact, 71% of executives say that employee engagement is critical in their company’s success, and companies with a highly engaged workforce are 21% more profitable. Once a workforce is engaged internally, that same engagement can be reciprocated externally, increasing customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
3. Prioritize open two-way communication.
Effective and efficient workplace communication is crucial. One study shows that 80% of the American workforce feels stressed as a result of ineffective company communication. Meanwhile, improved management transparency can lead to up to 30% higher retention. This proves that effective communication helps retailers identify workplace issues and gaps in employee engagement or performance, gauge team and customer satisfaction, and more.
One helpful way to support two-way communication is by utilizing one primary communication source rather than multiple. By providing an easy-to-use, one-stop platform, retailers can eliminate confusion and operational errors that stem from juggling too many touch points.
4. Streamline workplace operations.
When daily workplace operations are a struggle, the overall customer experience suffers. That’s why it’s important to strategize and provide streamlined workplace operations through a centralized tool. Studies show that there are many pain points in workplace operations that directly affect employee retention. One states that 40% of workers said they left a company because they lacked access to state-of-the-art digital tools. In addition, 45% of employees complain that outdated technology keeps them from being productive.
It’s important for retail employees to fully understand the systems in place so they can use their time most effectively. This becomes exponentially harder when they are tasked with managing too many platforms at once. Investing in a centralized, one-stop-shop approach to workplace operations will increase output and enhance customer experience. Together, this better serves the business as a whole.
5. Reinvent employee training.
Aside from the interview process, the training process is one of the most important pieces for fostering a well-equipped team, especially in an industry with high turnover rates. Despite this, only 37% of companies consider their training to be effective. Proper training requires education and experience. For long-term results, employee training should be continuous, consistent, well organized and informative. Implementing a performance and assessment-based training program that provides employees with feedback and rewards for skill development is a great step toward producing desired and sustainable workplace outcomes.
Overcoming major pain points such as employee and customer retention can seem daunting to many retailers. Taking the time to evaluate your operational strategies is the first step to achieving success and growth for your business. Building a more positive and employee-centric workplace will help you retain top talent and in turn increase customer loyalty.
Matt Goebel is a multi-unit franchisee and the Founder and CEO of Woven, an all-in-one workplace management tool for multi-unit franchising founded to keep franchise operators focused on growing their businesses. Today, the Woven platform delivers accountability, consistency and productivity to all of its customers, including Planet Fitness, Massage Heights, Sun Tan City and more. Follow @Woven on LinkedIn for more information.