7 Tips for Enhancing the Performance of Your Retail Staff


Jane Hurst
Guest Contributor

Your staff has the ability to be a true differentiator for your store, and a critical few hiring, training and nurturing tips can dramatically increase performance and retention.

Not everyone is cut out to work in retail, but there are ways to make sure you have the best team possible for your retail business. You need to hire the right people, and this doesn’t always mean hiring people who have several years of experience under their belt. Sometimes, the greenest employee is one of your best employees. Today we are going to take a look at seven tips that will help you to hire the employees who are going to perform the best, and keep them performing at their best.

1 – Hire for attitude

As mentioned in the introduction, the best choices aren’t necessarily those who have experience in retail. For one thing, you may train your employees differently, so they are going to need to be retrained anyway. Look for the people who have the best attitudes. It is much easier to train someone who has a positive attitude than someone who already thinks she knows everything there is to know about retail.

2 – Get to know them

The more you know about your employees, including how they think, the better able you will be to tailor your training program to get the best from them. Look at each candidate’s customer service resume to begin with, and then start asking them about what motivates them, how they learn best, what interests them, etc. The more you know about what motivates them, the better able you will be to get them motivated.

3 – Ask for their input

All employees like to feel they are valued, and you can do this by asking for their input. Not only is this going to make them feel better about their work, it is also going to help you. After all, who best to ask for input about company operations than those who work on the front lines? They will have a unique viewpoint on what is working and what isn’t, and they can also offer insight as to why products aren’t moving, why others are selling fast, etc.

4 – Give plenty of training

Obviously, you are going to need to train your new employees on the way your company does things. But, training shouldn’t stop after orientation. Studies show that when you offer ongoing training to employees, it helps them to develop their skills, and it shows them that you value them enough to invest in more time and training for them. If you are moving an employee to a specialized position, always offer additional training.

5 – Provide incentives

Everyone loves to be rewarded once in a while. So, offer your employees incentives, such as bonuses or prizes. Run sales contests that will encourage them to work harder and better, and make sure the prizes are something they are actually going to want to work for. It doesn’t have to be much. It could be as simple as a $10 card to a coffee shop for every credit card account opened. Give them something they want, and show them they are appreciated.

6 – Don’t mess with the schedule

There are going to be times when you need to call an employee in on short notice, or send someone home early if things aren’t busy. But, you should never take too many liberties with the schedule. Employees hate it when their schedules are not properly managed, being on-call, being regularly asked to work on days off, always being asked to stay late or come in early, etc.

7 – Conduct regular and ongoing performance reviews

Employees need to know what is expected from them in order to be motivated to do their jobs. They also like to know when they are doing a good job, and if they need development in certain areas. Regular performance reviews will allow you to do this, and also talk to them one-on-one to get their opinions about how things are working, what they like about their jobs and what can be improved upon, whether they want additional training, if they want to advance, etc.

About the writer: Jane Hurst is a writer, editor and avid traveler from San Francisco, CA. Find her on Twitter.

Join the #retail, #inspiringretail and #SmartStore conversations on Twitter @RetailNext, as well as at www.facebook.com/retailnext.