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Tools and Techniques to Increase Employee Retention

Employee Communications
Digital Signage

We all know that turnover can be killer. Retailers spend time, money, energy, and resources training people, however in some cases it’s all just to see them leave. In fact, we know that retail suffers from one of the highest turnover rates, sometimes exceeding 60, 70, 80 and even 90 percent. This can equate to some serious dollars spent on simply replacing those who leave.

The brands with the highest levels of turnover will probably be those with the poorest employee engagement scores. Why? Because your front-line workers are the face of your brand. When they don’t feel empowered, they fail to deliver good customer experiences, leading them to be dissatisfied with their role, looking for a way out versus the way to stay.

Those businesses have an empowerment, engagement and retention problem. Based on our work with dozens of retailers, we know that replacing a front-line retail employee can cost as much as $3,500 to replace each one that leaves. It’s not just the fact of getting someone replaced, there are fixed and variable costs associated with every aspect of training that take time and cost money. For a retail brand with 60,000 employees, that’s a lot of money.

If you’d like to see how we get to these numbers, there’s a free tool online that allows you to put in your own numbers and see what turnover is costing your organization.

There are three key areas where we can dramatically enhance empowerment and overall development with the following employee engagement tools:

  1. Communication
  2. Recognition
  3. Growth

Employees crave information, they want it at their fingertips instantaneously, and communication is key to getting employees the information they require. A striking statistic is, “Sixty-four percent of working employees say that the communication bottlenecks or lack of our information negatively affects productivity.”

What kinds of communication and employee engagement tools work? It can be anything from a brief two-minute video that helps them do their jobs better to regular updates from the CEO and management teams about the direction of the organization. When they feel connected, they feel like their role has an impact on the success of the organization, and can be empowered enough to offer discretionary effort that exceeds the customers’ expectations.

There are couple of best practices to increase the likelihood that your communication efforts will be successful. When it comes to videos, we know videos they have to be searchable, timely, concise, and relevant. It’s an added bonus if they are viewable across mobile devices as well.

By using modern communication methods and employee engagement tools, individuals and teams are given access to the relevant information needed to help them do their jobs better, and to feel that they make a difference in the brand.

Number two is recognition and rewards.

When recognition by a manager or by peers occurs, it can carry much more weight. If this is done right, the organization as a whole is better off, as those being recognized elevate their performance and the performance of those around them. 

There are many ways in which recognition and rewards can be rolled out. There are standalone, cloud-based apps that allow you post kudos for the recipient and others to see as well as fully-baked employee recognition solutions that allow API connections into other solutions, including breakroom TV. Regardless of the method by which employees are recognized and rewarded, as long as they are visible, relevant, and timely, it will elevate the performance of everyone involved.

A sound employee empowerment strategy would not be complete without growth and development. Answering the questions of “why am I here, and what am I expected to do are critical ingredients to a employees’ well-being. But also providing ways to strengthen the employee with timely, convenient, and relevant training materials is even more important.

On any given day, a customer clearly having done their research enters a store looking for a specific item or items. If the customer has a specific question about the item, they are going to expect that any employee can answer that question. If this is not the case, it will diminish the experience of both the employee and the customer.

On the flip side, if employees are given access to relevant training materials about specific items, they can create a better customer experience which also creates a better employee experience. When employees are given ways to improve themselves and also understand their value to the organization, they will continue to go the extra mile, making themselves and their organization better.

Just like the other areas, there are solutions which your organization can leverage to make training, growth and development actually work in your organization. It is important to remember that the solution you choose must deliver relevant content in a way that is timely and convenient to consume. Otherwise, what good is it anyways?

When we provide avenues to better communicate, better recognize and reward (as appropriate) and provide ways to grow and develop, the person, their peers, and the organization are better off now and long into the future.