| 5 min read

Improving Employee Engagement in the Retail Industry

Employee Engagement

Meet Kate. Kate is a full-time employee in the tool department of a large inner-city branch of a nationwide hardware retailer. She’s been working in the store for four years and while she loves her team and her job, she feels a bit like an alien when she walks into any other branch of the business.

Now meet Dion. He’s a casual employee at a regional branch on the other side of the country where he has been working on the cash registers for six months. Dion is just happy he got a job for extra money while he’s studying online full-time, as casual positions can be hard to come by in town. He doesn’t know or care much about the business.

Two very different retail employees.

How would you go about getting both of these people on the same page of the company, when Kate appears situationally engaged, and Dion doesn't appear engaged at all?

This is one of the challenges facing retailers that operate over multiple locations.

When employee passions or simple enjoyment line up with overall company ethos, you can experience excellent sales. If not, missed opportunities abound in terms of customer service efforts.

Today we take a look at some strategies to boost employee engagement with company goals and vision, all leveraged by technology - in particular, a well-designed, modern Intranet.

See also our Use Case with Kmart.

1. Breed community spirit in each location

An employee feeling like an integral part of the store’s (and team’s) makeup is just as important as feeling like part of the wider organization. By encouraging in-store community spirit, you can create initiatives in line with company goals and vision, to help each store work together as one towards these initiatives.

To breed community spirit within a given store location is made easier, as people are co-located. There are plenty of face-to-face team building activities to try out, but this doesn’t mean that we can’t use technology to further push these community bonds.

In action

Events

Have an events calendar, announcements, and overview on your homepage, with the ability for employees to add an event or announcement upon approval from their manager. This helps to build a more engaged, and temporal-based community.

Employee spotlight

Have employee spotlights featuring a different employee every week on your Intranet home page. This can be a headshot and a bio about the person including how long they’ve been at the company, position/team, hobbies, and outside interests, etc. Put the spotlight feature on your homepage every week for high visibility.

Time-sensitive visibility for in-store initiatives

Via your Intranet, give greater visibility to time-sensitive in-store initiatives, such as fundraising or volunteer days, sales and other in-store events, learning dates, etc. with news feed items and an always-current calendar. Set reminders for employees for upcoming events.

Foster group interest environments

For most people, work is a big part of their lives, and the people they see at work can be like family. Instead of simply leaving them to form social groups and bonds on outside social media, you can implement enterprise social networking on your Intranet, with the ability for employees to create their own groups - such as a Thursday night netball team, party committee, or managers-in-training group. By allowing employees to take the lead here, you empower them.

2. Appeal to employees inner desire for a sense of belonging

According to the recent Inclusion Survey compiled by CultureAmp and Paradigm, a sense of belonging is intrinsically tied to a “person’s workplace commitment, motivation, pride, and recommendation.”

Want to align employees with your goals and vision?

Make them feel like they really belong there, that your business is the perfect fit for them.

In action

This has a lot to do with how teams are structured on the ground, and team building activities at the store level. While every team, store, and location are different, there is no reason why fostering a wider sense of community can’t be achieved through nationwide efforts.

Here’s where technology comes in. Building an online community to bring the entire retail staff together helps break down those remote bonds. Businesses should identify key retail worker personas across the organization (there may be 4 or even more) and think about user experience (UX) and interest for these people.

Various online community-building efforts 

  • Enterprise social networking to connect people in disparate locations

  • A tailored news feed that features stories from across the business

  • Higher-level online training modules available for everyone using workspaces

  • Stories about successes and innovations (and even failures) submission for all teams

  • Store swap application form for a one or two week ‘sabbatical’ at another store (see next section)

There is also the suggestion that higher levels of disengagement can be apparent among part-timers, casual workers, and those with second jobs. It is important to craft messaging to appeal to these people.

3. Encourage healthy competition

When you have various retail outlets either state-wide or nationwide, a way to bring teams closer together is actually through competition between stores. By first identifying stores, or even departments within stores, that are fairly similar in size and projected revenue, you can encourage teams on the ground to want to ‘beat’ the competition. If and when team members visit their competitors (which is a great idea for role-swaps if possible), they can see how they work in practice.

This not only appeals to those with a competitive spirit, but it can also help boost sales, too.

In action

Figures and competition tracking

You should already have all the data needed for matching similar stores and/or departments within stores. Create easy to read dashboarding and reports on your Intranet that team members can browse and see how they’re tracking against competitors. Have these available directly from your homepage or main screen. Make sure to include team performance over time, plus deep dives into product-by-product sales directly available, too.

Store-swap initiatives

As mentioned above, for employees to see how other teams work, you can provide temporary store-swap online applications with automated match ups and/or direct calendar availabilities.

Reward and recognition

HIghlight when teams or individuals have outstanding efforts, either with sales, customer service, cleanliness, etc. Broadcasting this to the wider organizational community (plus the reward given, if there was one) can boost self-esteem and make others strive harder. While you can do this in person with things like badges and awards events, there’s also the ability to add recognition to a personal profile on your Intranet’s team’s directory. 

How CentricMinds can help

With our Intranet solution, available both on desktop and mobile, employees have always-on access to the features mentioned above. You may make it a mandatory activity; that each employee checks their personalized Intranet on each shift - so they can take in the latest news and goings-on with your business. Providing floating tablets or remote access from their personal mobile devices, using the CentricMinds mobile app,  is the best way to achieve this.

Take our Intranet for a test drive with our free trial, or get in contact for a live demonstration and walkthrough.

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