Ten Tips on Employee Recognition: Reduce Retail Turnover; Improve Customer Relations

It's no secret that retailers face high turnover rates and the cost of replacing an employee is high – sometimes up to 10 percent of the employee's salary.  Research also shows that motivated employees can have a strong impact on your customers' experience.  We have learned that happy and engaged employees are undeniably linked to more satisfied and loyal customers, which leads to growth and profitability.  Below are the top 10 ways you can bring employee recognition to your retail workforce.

1. Recognize achievements and contributions: Annual review time is not the only time when you should acknowledge the work of your team. Take time regularly to recognize people individually. When possible, offer recognition on-the-spot to link the praise with the behavior.

2. Encourage creative thinking: Listen to your employees' ideas and implement them when you can. This helps to build a more collaborative and innovative work environment.

3. Get to know your staff: Remember your team are humans first, employees second. So get to know them personally by asking them questions. And find when you find out what motivates them the most, look for ways to incorporate that into your recognition strategy

4. Make work fun: Whether it is through elaborate employee appreciation events or simply providing treats during a break, your team will remember the fun times when they might be having a rough day. This can make all the difference to someone considering a job change.

5. Be transparent: Provide a clear picture of your company's vision, mission and strategy. Not only will this help your employees understand the direction the company is taking, but will also help them to project your vision and mission with customers.

6. Provide positive reinforcement: Don't focus on the negative. People are more apt to respond to positive cues than negative. Like the old adage says, you are likely to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

7. Celebrate successes: Going beyond individual recognition, it is important to publicly celebrate your teams' successes. Did you exceed your quarterly sales goals? Don't wait until the end of the year to celebrate everything, treat each success as its own special accomplishment.

8. Be flexible with scheduling: Work with your employees and do your best to accommodate their individual needs. Doing this can help illustrate to your team how much you value their work and dedication.

9. Let employees have freedom, but hold them accountable: Do you really need to have strict rules in place? Or do you trust your employees to know how to act professionally? You hired them to be the face of your business. Show them that you believe they know how to do what is best for the customer and company.

10. Provide growth opportunities: Give your people the opportunity to attend industry events, conferences or training programs. Not only will they learn new things, but they will also have the opportunity to socialize with their co-workers and industry peers. Events are a great place to spark innovation and ideas.

While most people say they would work harder for extra cash, according to research non-cash rewards are more motivating. Tangible/non-cash awards elicit more frequent visualization, which leads to both greater performance and higher goal commitment. While the assumption is often made that low-income earners are best motivated by cash, we have learned that tangible rewards still have a greater impact on desired business outcomes. Cash quickly becomes an entitlement, whereas non-cash rewards provide long-term motivation.

Kara Simon is general manager of 3Cheers Recognition & Rewards, a division of Maritz Motivation Solutions, which offers businesses of any size an easy-to-use, points-based motivation platform designed to engage people with meaningful recognition and memorable rewards.
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