Your business is going well, your team seems happy enough, no one complains, they turn up for work and you haven’t been asked for a pay rise. So when a staff member comes to you and tells you their leaving, it’s a big shock.
You don’t quite know how to react, and the first question that you blurt out is probably “why?”. But you don’t know if you actually want to know that answer, because it will unearth a big flaw in your business.
People stop working for you because they are unsatisfied.
There are so many factors that can lead to not being satisfied if we’re speaking in general terms, the three reasons that people leave their jobs.
- They don’t like the workplace culture
2. They don’t like the job they’re doing or can’t see any career path
- They feel they aren’t getting paid enough.
So, how do successful retailers keep their team members happy, and secure them for a long period of time?
Start by addressing workplace culture.
I hate to say, but this one is down to you. As the owner of the business, it’s your job to be perfectly clear about what your brand values, and how people behave. Many retailers simply overlook this step when they start their business, because they often don’t even know what values they want their brand to align with. But overlook this at your own peril.
Not being crystal clear on how you want your brand to be perceived, how you want your customers to feel, and most importantly, how your team project those values to the customer, can create a lax workplace culture that will often attract staff that simply don’t align with what you envisaged for your store.
This in turn leads to team unrest, infighting and resentment, resulting in an unhappy workplace, and a perfect reason for someone to leave as soon as a better offer comes their way.
A job shouldn’t just be a job.
One of the key benefits of working for an independent retailer, is that you have the the ability to train your staff in a variety of roles. Every small business has to be customer facing, but there are a multitude of other roles that you can expose your team to. Posting products on Instagram, visual merchandising, product research, website updates, and even managing inventory.
Work out what each team member is good at, and enjoys doing, and incorporate a portion of that into their role each week.
This will allow them to hone their skills, feel like they’re making an active contribution to the business, which in turn, creates a sense of ownership in the business. And with that sense of ownership, comes a feeling of satisfaction.
Pay rises can be a tough one. You’ll need to look at your cash flow to ensure that you can sustain a permanent increase in an employees wage. Remember that you may need to factor a few other things, on top of the actual pay rise. Here in Australia, superannuation is payable as a percentage of an employees wage, so there would be an additional weekly premium, in addition to sick leave, holiday pay and potentially long service leave.
Speak to your accountant about what implications a pay rise for your team would present for your business.
However, even if you can’t sustain a long term pay rise, you can look at smaller, on-off rewards, such as a gift voucher, or even some store credit to thank a team member for their hard work.
One of the ways that I’ve said thank you to my team, has always been through training. As a business owner, you may think that your team would never be interested in learning something new, but you might be surprised. SEO courses, workshops, visual merchandising training, all of these have actually benefitted my business, whilst at the same time, upskilling my team, and letting them learn more about particular topics. And when someone feels good about themselves, they become more confident. Confidence is probably the number one thing that I’ve always been great at fostering, and you can do it too.
No one wants to have every move they make scrutinised, so allow your team to have a little autonomy.
Show them how to do a task, create a process they can come back to if necessary, then let them have a go.
Having to find and train new employees, is a costly exercise. The actual monetary expense, coupled with the downtime during the process, all add up to a perfect reason to love our team and keep them happy.
Creating a safe place for your employees to build their confidence and satisfaction, will address those key factors that encourage your team members to stay, resulting in a happier workplace culture, engaged employees, happier customers, and most of all allow you to work less time IN the business.