For any business, irrespective of its size, disengaged employees are considered to be bad. Especially in the retail business, where customer service and customer experience are crucial for success. The main reason for this is that disengaged employees are typically unproductive employees.
As per the 2021 Gallup U.S. Employee Engagement Data, just 36% of US workers are engaged workers. This number drops to 20% for employees all around the world.
However, there’s definitely room for improvement.
So, let’s look at how disengaged employees can damage your retail business and the five things that you can do to prevent this.
How Disengaged Employees Affect Your Retail Business
Disengaged employees can negatively affect retail businesses. The consequences of this can be anything, starting from one like higher employee turnover to high-impact ones like the complete destruction of a brand reputation. Let’s have a look at them all:
Lower Productivity and Profitability
Low employee engagement is equal to low productivity. And low productivity is equal to low profitability.
The link between productivity and employee engagement and profitability is evident in all industries, especially retail, where customer satisfaction is paramount.
Looking at the latest Gallup insights, you’ll find that engaged employees are, on average, 18% more productive in sales and 23% more profitable.
Higher Absenteeism Rates
There is a strong correlation between absenteeism and employee engagement. Calling in sick more often is one of the first red flags you’ll notice among your disengaged employees.
So, if you find that some employees have a high absenteeism rate, they may be lacking commitment and may be coming “just for the pay.”
These workers may also leave their jobs prematurely or recklessly when faced with a more lucrative offer.
Poor Customer Service
With engaged employees, there’s a high chance that they will provide much better customer service. Subsequently, there will be a diminishment in the number of customers leaving empty-handed, which will boost your revenue and profitability.
On the other hand, disengaged staff will not care much about making your customers happy and there’s a high chance that they will drive them away.
Higher Talent Acquisition Costs
Disengaged staff means higher employee turnover rates. Obviously, retaining an employee cost less than hiring a new employee. Therefore, higher turnover will result in higher talent acquisition fees.
Permanent Damage of Brand
In retail, satisfied employees act as brand advocates. Unfortunately, disgruntled employees can do the opposite.
After all, disengaged employees can permanently damage your brand and leave an image that is hard to erase. Once you’ve developed a reputation for being “untrustworthy,” “poor,” or worse, it’s hard to change people’s minds.
Tips on Preventing Disengaged Employees in Retail
Now that you might have known the actual cost of keeping disengaged employees for your retail business. Thus, we could find out what we can do to prevent it.
Proper Scheduling of Work Shifts
Working in shifts is common in retail stores. As per 2022 pew research, the lack of flexibility to choose working hours was one of the major reasons among the three top reasons for employees resigning from their jobs in 2021.
What’s more, many retail owners even today schedule their employee’s shifts manually, which results in inadequate working hours distribution, overlaps, missing shifts, and last-minute shift changes. All of these things can be solved technically.
For example, good retail scheduling software can provide some structure to your retail staff shifts. You can use a similar kind of application to automate shift scheduling, generate timesheets, ensure proper compensation, save time and money, and ultimately keep your employees happy.
Implementing a Customer Feedback System
Implementing a retail customer feedback app will let you know and understand people’s experience with your brand and frontline staff. Accordingly, you will actually want to find areas that are lacking and thus will act immediately to fill in the gaps.
Such a type of software or application is particularly helpful for retail or eCommerce stores with different client assistance specialists in direct contact with purchasers. It will help you understand which of your support agents is providing a better service and which one of them is lacking engagement.
Listening to your customers and solving their concerns is important for success in retail. And what can be a way out to do that consciously, asking for retail feedback (through a retail customer feedback system) on every interaction.
Using of Technology for Engagement
The next thing you can do is take full advantage of the latest advanced tools and technology for staff engagement and retention in retail.
Here, we are discussing software and tools that straightforwardly draw in your representatives as well as tools that utilize information and examination to assist you with following your staff’s commission rates.
Retail customer survey tools to collect your employees’ feedback
Employee recognition tools that reward performance
Goal tracking and performance monitoring tools
Acquisition tools to help new hires
Communication software for inside utilize, for example, group building or gatherings
A dynamic shift planning app that allows you to receive instant notifications (in case of last-minute changes)
Game solutions and friendly entertainment and participation in contests
Learning and development platform for further education and professional development
Recognizing and Praising Employees for Performance
You have to recognize your top-performing employees on time. In fact, it would be better if you could give them kudos right then and there, on the spot.
Timely recognition of employees, whether privately or publicly, will greatly increase your employees’ morale and give a boost to their ego. This will encourage them to work harder.
Positive reinforcement creates a better sense of teamwork and ensures that people feel part of the company culture.
Here are a few reward and recognition ideas you can try:
You can praise verbally
You can provide monetary rewards (bonuses, promotions, etc.)
You can arrange competitions related to goals or tasks (employee of the month or similar)
You can give other rewards such as gift cards, event tickets, weekends off, extra vacations, free classes, etc.
Finally, ensure open two-way communication with retail staff. Your representatives need to feel seen and heard, and they need to know that their opinion matters.
Open communication is important for transparency, staying informed, and receiving feedback about retail. According to the latest data from Gallup, solid communication throughout the company is one of the top four factors of employee engagement.
So vertical communication is allowed, and everyone can give feedback to a C-level executive. This will foster an inclusive and open company culture where everyone feels heard.
Working in the retail industry means working with several individuals. In this industry, representative experience and client experience are closely related and thus have an impact on each other.
And it all starts with employees. Unhappy employees are equal to unhappy customers, and unhappy customers are equal to less profit.
We trust this short guide will help you to boost engagement and productivity and will help you prevent disengaged employees from destroying your retail business.