When it comes down to it, employee satisfaction is a cornerstone of good retail. It makes sense from every angle; when customers talk to someone that can represent their brand with a smile and a charming demeanour, that customer has a better experience. And customers with great brand experiences walk out as your company’s best advertisements.
Happy workers are on average around 12% more productive than stressed and unsatisfied workers, according to a study conducted by a team from the University of Warwick, which has recently been published in the Journal of Labour Economics. They also generate a 37% rise in sales if they work in retail, a figure that can be the difference between a major retail company and their competitors.
So how can you make sure your employees are happy at your company?
Generating a Happy Working Culture
The first – and perhaps most obvious solution – is to provide good pay. It is essential that your employees are on a wage that allows them to establish the life for themselves that they aspire to.
Realistically, most companies can’t offer jaw-dropping pay packets to every employee that walks through the door, but you can work with that. Make it clear that promotions are attainable by incentivising hard work with bonuses, commission-based extras and customer appraisals.
Take a look at the way that CostCo do things. Over in the US, the wholesale brand are currently winning the war with their main rival Walmart, and it’s all to do with the way that they’re treating their employees.
According to information provided by Glassdoor, CostCo employees are on a starting wage of $11.50 an hour, ten per cent higher than the national median of $10.29. 70% of their warehouse managers – making an average of $22 an hour – started out in a lower standing at the company.
Not only has CostCo mastered the art of keeping their employees happy by paying them fairly and providing them with a propitious career, but they have also developed a brand loyalty. Since managers have worked their way up in the firm, they have already familiarised themselves with the company values and have earned a superior position not through grades or interview confidence, but through hard work.
Pay, however, isn’t all you should be providing your employees; benefits are just as important. Joe Alfano, a former retail employee of Apple, told 9to5Mac that his “best experience” with the brand was “getting flown across the country to work at Macworld on Apple’s behalf. All expenses paid. It’s experiences like this that don’t get factored into wages, so they are easily overlooked”.
Benefits help employees feel valued beyond their monetary worth, which is especially important if that monetary worth is relatively low.
Show That You Care
It goes without saying that you should be providing your employees with adequate welfare facilities. Clean toilets and a warm, comfortable rest area are the bare minimum facilities that you need to offer.
Demonstrating that your company has a caring side and takes its environmental responsibilities seriously is also a good way to boost employee engagement levels. Whether it’s fitting energy-saving bulbs, allowing your staff to work from home for a certain number of days per month in order to save on electricity, or simply introducing company-wide recycling policies, you should do everything within your power to show that your attitude towards CSR (corporate social responsibility) is positive.
Empowering Your Employees
In the grand scheme of things, pay and benefits are just one piece of the puzzle. The bigger picture includes the ways in which you can show appreciation to loyal employees by empowering them.
CostCo, as we have already discussed, has displayed a readiness to empower their employees, a value that should be reproduced throughout the industry not just for the benefit of the employee but for the customer.
Market Metrix carried out research with employees in hospitality to see how the concept of employee empowerment could contribute towards overall job satisfaction.
The results spoke for themselves. The most common emotion that loyal employees attributed to their job satisfaction was feeling “powerful”, which 46% of satisfied employees reported. The report also showed that feeling appreciated was a major factor for 30% of loyal employees.
If an employee is granted the power to offer on-the-spot discounts, refunds and advice, it rewards both the customer and the company. Empowering your staff in this way will make them feel valued, and this positivity will certainly rub off on to customers, so everyone’s a winner.
Kristin Hodgkinson is the digital marketing manager for Direct365, a company who specialise in supporting the workplace when it comes to facility management, supplies and being environmentally friendly. Be it recycling or waste collection, Direct365 can help businesses of all sizes.