How to motivate the employees in your retail store

Cast your mind back to high school of college. At some point, you will have heard of Abraham Maslow, and Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.

At the bottom of the pyramid are our survival needs. Food, water and shelter. Move up a notch, and it’s all about safety. These two steps of the hierarchy are what we technically need to function.

If you start to move up the pyramid, you encounter social needs, of belonging and love, followed by Esteem and Self Actualisation.

What has this got to do with motivating your staff?

I recently received and email from the lovely Emma, who told me that she’d been using the Bringing Business to Retail show and the associated downloads as staff training. In the few weeks that she’d implemented it, her team were more enthusiastic, sales were up and there was a general feeling of renewed energy in her store, though she wasn’t quite sure why.

Which got me to thinking. And that thinking took me back to my uni days, and Abraham Maslow.

As I mentioned before, on the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid are survival and security. In order for your team to have these needs fulfilled, they need the basics of food and water and in addition, the security of a regular income, along with a safe workplace.

If this is all that is motivating someone to come and work for you, they are disengaged employees. They are only ever going to come to work, do a half-hearted attempt at their job and go home. They’ll likely bring down the buzz in your store and turn customers away with their attitude. And that’s NOT what you want, right.

Rest assured, there are a few things that you can do, to avoid that situation from appearing.

When we move up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we come to belonging. For you, the store owner and employer, it’s about creating an environment where everyone knows they are part of a team, even if they happen to work in the store alone. It’s up to you to foster this team spirit, create connections and to instil pride.

Now if I’m sounding more text book that realistic, when I spoke to Emma, by her own admission, everyone in her store was in a bit of a rut. It wasn’t that anyone didn’t like going to work, they hadn’t moved down to the demotivated category, but they were on their way. It was same ol’ same ol’, every day.

Moving up another step of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we get to esteem. Sometimes it’s called recognition. When you move up the ladder to this level, this is where you’re starting to get really engaged employees. To get to this level, you need to be handing out responsibilities, chances for your team to prove and improve their skills. Give them a sense of accomplishment, and tell them when they’ve done something well. Offer guidance and advice rather than criticism. This team member knows they are a vital part of the team. The key words to keep in mind when you’re at this level are recognition, achievement and responsibility.

So what’s the key to a super engaged employee. The one who will work extra and not expect anything for it. The one that every store owner wants. The team member that sells your business because they love working there?

When you hit the top of Maslow’s pyramid, you’re at the section he called self actualisation. I like to call it personal growth. It’s where your employees have the same values as your brand, and as a result, they have a personal connection with what they have helped to create, because let’s be honest, if you didn’t have a team, you’d either be rocking back and forth in the corner, or burnt out.

The team member at this level is confident and enjoys coming to work. She knows that she has a challenging environment that allow her autonomy and the ability to make decisions. She even loves helping new people come on-board, to share what she knows.

Now getting your team to those upper levels is hard. It’s going to require to you let go of the reigns a little, but not just walk away. It’s ok to delegate, but you need to make sure that the person has been provided training and feels confident to keep going. If you overlook the training, you’ll overwhelm that person and send her back down the pyramid, rather than up.

And, this is where Emma started using Bringing Business to Retail TV, and the weekly downloads. She has instigated a quick team meeting each week. She even ensures that’s it’s super easy to attend, by broadcasting the meeting on skype, so all of the team members can be present, without having to be in the store.

She says she either gets them to watch the episode, or she does a short paraphrase of the episode, and then they spend 5-10 minutes discussing how they can incorporate the ideas into their store, and who will be responsible.

To me, that is great leadership. Emma has almost outsourced the learning part, by utilising someone else’s content, which is going to saver her loads of time. However, she also realised you can’t just get staff to read something. You need to talk about how it will work in your store.

So, Emma get’s my gold start for the week.

If you’ve found this information useful, let me know. I’d love to show other retailers how Bringing Business to Retail tv is helping your retail biz.

If you’d like to chat with other retailers on all things business come join the Bringing Business To Retail community. We’re a bunch of retailers chatting all things business. Best of all, it’s free.

This week, I’d love you to go back through the archives of Bringing Business to Retail tv and see which episodes you could use for team training, so you can start to boost employee engagement.

Until next week

Be profitable

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