We know, through survey results, that
motivating employees is very high on the list of challenges faced by
retailers. It's no wonder that motivation is very important when you
think about the fact that your store employees are meeting your
customers every day; representing your brand and your company every day.
If your customers are to enjoy a positive shopping experience and be
inspired to purchase whatever it is you have to offer it really makes
sense that your store employees feel like valued members of your team.
They may not necessarily be happy all the time - some things we simply
cannot control - but they certainly need to feel properly and fairly
treated by their employer. In other words, we don't want them to have
negative thoughts toward their employer (or management) just in case
those negative thoughts should come across in their words and behavior
when interacting with customers.
Experts agree that some elementary
requirements of employees (hygiene factors-there are a few categories of
these, we are just going to take one-physical or comfort aspect) need to be addressed before
actual motivation can take place.
Here is some food for thought regarding
some of the Hygiene Factors you may encounter in a retail environment:
Many retail stores, particularly in malls,
have very few square feet dedicated as "non-selling" space. Naturally,
with the high prices demanded by landlords, retailers want to have
maximum square footage available for displaying merchandise for sale.
Unfortunately, that means that retail store employees have very few of
their hygiene factors taken care of. For example...
cupboard for personal items: Retail employees cannot
keep their personal items with them during their time at work. A woman's
purse, for example, must be kept off of the sales floor. A coat, a
toothbrush and toothpaste, an extra pair of shoes must also be kept off
of the sales floor. The employee should be comfortable knowing his/her
personal items are safely stored.
premises: Retail employees often have to use public
washrooms that are quite a distance from their workplace.
A place to
eat: Some backrooms are too small and too crowded to
allow room for a table and chairs so retail employees have to squat on a
small stool or perch on the bottom step of a ladder if they do not wish
to leave the premises to eat their meal.
A place to
store and heat meals: A small fridge and a microwave
should be considered basic necessities, and not luxury items as many
retail employees prefer to bring their lunch/dinner to work instead of
spending precious time getting to a food court where there are not a lot
of healthy choices. Packing a lunch is also more economical in most
cooler: It costs very little to provide water for
associates and a rented water cooler doesn't take up a lot of space.
People get thirsty and making pure, cold water available to them should
be the norm.
Employees who go to work in, say, an office
or a school, a hospital or a manufacturing plant take these things for
granted, and rightfully so.
If retailers wanted to take care of some of
the missing hygiene factors it could easily be done. In fact, the retail
employees themselves have probably given a great deal of thought to how
certain things could be done in their own little backrooms. Just ask
them for ideas and you will be surprised at what they come up with.
Installing a washroom may not be possible, but it is very likely that
there is room for a small refrigerator and microwave. A small table, a
couple of folding chairs and a water cooler would work wonders.
Providing these things is nothing special,
it should be seen as the employer's duty to provide them. Many retailers
spend time and money trying to motivate their workforce. Until hygiene
factors are taken care of, it's pretty much a waste of that time and
money. For the vast majority of employees, motivation comes only after
needs are met.
DMSRetail.com has a page on motivation with
some high level considerations. You will also find information about a
couple of very good books/guides on the subject. You can go there by
clicking the following link:
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