4 Ways To Effectively Manage Retail Employees
Effective communication in the workplace is such an integral part of making your retail business an unmitigated success. But, while how your team members relate to each other and your customers is essential, it really all begins with you. As manager of your retail space, you are responsible for setting the tone that will then affect nearly every other element of the business.
Improving communication in the workplace is among your responsibilities, sure, but you also need to be mindful of how you communicate to everyone around you. This lets your team know what’s acceptable and allows you the chance to hold your team to a higher standard. Your retail team productivity largely hinges on your ability to work together, after all.
So any communication problems in the workplace may in part be traced back to your management style. How you approach your business may either be adversely affecting your business or present you with a sweeping opportunity to really enact some change among your workers. In fact, you may singlehandedly be able to enhance not only your company’s communication system but also the way in which your team members conduct themselves at work.
Imagine how much more pleasant and productive your business would be if you and your team were more engaged to the work and each other. Why wouldn’t you want to leverage your ability to make things better with just a bit of realignment in your management style?
If you are on the lookout for some strategies for communication in the workplace, then you’ll be pleased with today’s discussion. Here are four easy-to-implement ways in which you can more effectively manage your employees.
Involve Your Employees in the Process
Perhaps the biggest complaint most employees, retail or otherwise, have is that they don’t feel valued. That’s where your management style needs to build from. Every member of your team has their own perspective, and when you open up the lines of communication, you may discover that they have come up with an idea no one has thought of, one that could conceivably greatly improve your business.
Ask your workers for their thoughts on your products or processes, and publicly acknowledge their contribution when it makes sense to do so. Immediately you’re building a relationship of respect, trust and collaboration that will make your team feel proud of what they’ve accomplished and motivate them to continue onward.
Incentivize your workers to hit certain goals. Then reward them with not only compliments but tokens of corporate appreciation. A gift card or something of similar value won’t break the budget but definitely helps.
It also helps to incorporate a bit of mentoring into your role as manager. If you can’t do this yourself, then pair your workers off so that they can establish a work friendship and help learn from each other. At the very least, you should always aim to provide training to incoming workers away from customers, since it makes the process more of a learning experience than a stress-filled one.
In keeping with your efforts to foster growth and involvement in your workers, you also need to hold them accountable to their actions. If something works out, great. But if not, they need to know they will face consequences. It’s the only way you can be certain that your team will continue to work hard and be happy doing so.
As a Manager, Position Yourself as Team Leader
You may think you’re already leading a team as being the manager, but actually managing a team and being a leader are two very different things. No worker likes when a supervisor micro-manages them. So, although we encourage you to hold your team accountable, you need to also give them the space to get the work done. Self-management needs to be a part of your philosophy with your team. Otherwise, you’ll just wind up burning yourself out.
- Create milestone goals, and communicate the standards you’re expecting from your team. In this way, you can make it clear to your workers where their roles consist of and how well they should be doing. You want to always strive for your workplace to be one where consistency and transparency are earmarks.
- Acting more like a leader inspires your team members to follow suit in how they get the job done. You don’t want to have to hold anyone’s hand at this stage. So instill a sense of teamwork in your workers. Divide the tasks at hand reasonably, and delegate those responsibilities to your team.
- Don’t forget to make sure that workers in different areas understand each other’s roles. Create opportunities for cross-training and a sense of respectful cooperation will emerge. Every one of your workers brings his or her own distinct personality and skill set. Ideally, you want to place each team member in just the right position among the group. You’ll be amazed at the doors that will open when you leverage the unique qualities each worker can bring to your business.
Invest in the Tools You Need
Back in the day, you had precious few options for how to accomplish a particular task. But thanks to technology, the possibilities for process improvement are essentially limitless. Of course, you know this is true on the customer side of things, wherein consumers can browse, select and order a given item without ever leaving the comfort of their own couch.
Still, you may not be taking advantage of the modern tools you have available to you for the back-end side of your business. You may be wondering how employing technology amounts to a substantial upgrade with respect to your team. However, think about how much happier your team members would be if they finally had an easier, streamlined way to get their work done.
More and more, corporations are outfitting their back-end teams with solutions that consolidate, expedite and otherwise optimize everything from payroll and scheduling to inventory management and order processing. Communication is a natural fit for such an update, seeing as your retail workload tends to never stop moving. Your team needs to be able to connect at a moment’s notice, and in today’s world, that may mean investing in mobile devices or something similar to ensure that your workers are always on top of their work.
As a result, they’ll be empowered to take action when they’re needed and play more instrumental roles in keeping your business moving along nicely. Plus, your customers will enjoy more attentive, timely and effective service than ever before. Talk about a situation in which everybody wins.
Adapt When Necessary
In any industry, the first companies to fall off are the ones that remain stagnant. The market is always changing, and as a manager, you need to be willing to switch it up too. And we’re not only talking about the technology you use (see above). On a much grander scale, you need to learn to know when something just isn’t working and be flexible, especially if you expect your team members to. This can mean working late or even on nights or weekends. It might mean that you should heed your team’s feedback and drop or reconsider a certain process. Basically, you don’t want to close yourself off to any opportunities to do better, many of which will come directly from your team. If you are open to hearing them.
Once again, communication comes into play. But more than just connecting with your workers, you need to be aware of your own surroundings. Pay attention to your team, and you’ll likely come to your own conclusions about how best to handle managing your business. So often, what isn’t said is even more vital than what is.
Attune yourself to your team in the way you always strive to notice behavior changes in your customers, and you may very well discover answers you didn’t even know you should have been looking for. Your business is operated by humans. Just as the people you work with may develop or change their responses, you must be ready to allow your business to evolve just the same.
Manage to Do It All
Retail sales employees by nature tend to be more disconnected from their work. It’s no surprise then that retail companies have one of the highest turnover rates out there. While we’re by no means assigning blame, most employees who leave a job do so because of their dissatisfaction with their boss.
As the manager, you really have to step it up to attract and keep the best workers you can find.
The above tips barely scratch the surface of the techniques you can use to connect on a deeper level with your team members. To achieve such profound collaboration is a daunting task but one that can be reached when you foster your workers’ investment in your company’s future. Therein lies the importance of effective communication in the workplace.
So much of what constitutes a winning management style can be traced back to how managers relate to their workers. Poor communication in the workplace may not be behind every issue your company faces, but we’re confident that you’ll see a noticeable difference once you make extra effort to connect to your workers.
Working retail can be stressful. So you need to combat that by emphasizing each worker’s connection to the company as a whole. Then you’ll witness first-hand the benefits of effective communication in the workplace. The difference is staggering.
Your team — and, by extension, your customers — will never look back. And, as a manager, you’ll be able to enjoy increased productivity, enhanced employee morale and a less chaotic workplace yourself.