Engaging employees and its spin-offs
In today’s competitive environment, engaging employees has emerged as a vital driver of corporate success and an important differentiator.
Engaged workers provide several benefits to retailers, including improved yearly sales, and consumer loyalty and satisfaction. Studies show that listed companies with highly engaged employees beat their competitors’ earnings per share by as much as 147%.
In this respect, the contribution of employees is very important. The human experience is more crucial than ever, whether it be a friendly face greeting a client at the counter or someone making an effort to help a consumer acquire what they need. Human-centred shopping experiences in the retail environment are becoming increasingly important for the following three reasons:
- Intent – while knowledgeable shoppers are aware that financial considerations are at the heart of most contemporary retail operations, they value human agency, positive sentiment and care during their shopping experiences.
- Effort – the impact that employees have on customers when they knowingly go out of their way to assist
- Authenticity – interacting with employees who have used the product or are aware of alternative products helps boost confidence in a retail brand.
While the benefits of engaging employees and the impact this can have on improved sales are well established, research also shows that engaged employees are more conscientious and contribute to the bottom line through the following cost savings:
- Reduction of wastage by 9.8%
- A 19.6% reduction in lost profits through avoidance of out-of-stock situations
- Shrinkage decreased by 12.6%
- Cash loss decline of 9.5%
The role of well-motivated employees in helping companies both secure business and manage operational costs highlights the value that engaging employees can bring to companies.
The Impact of Not Engaging Employees
Employee disconnection is one of the main drivers of monetary loss and value erosion in businesses. It presents a particularly acute challenge to companies operating in the retail space as employees are the first point of contact with customers. It’s highly likely that a disengaged worker will fail to connect with customers leading to poor service and potentially loss of sales.
Disconnection can also manifest itself in other ways:
- Increased employee turnover – as high as 40% in companies with very low levels of engagement
- Lower productivity – output lowers by 18% where disengaged employees are involved
- Growing absenteeism – the number of workers absent from work can climb to 37%
- Poor quality of work – studies show that 32% of the work week is taken up by personal social media usage by employees in companies with poor engagement levels. There is often a link between employees distracted by social media and poor quality of service.
Disengaged employees can have a serious impact on a retailer’s ability to offer excellent customer service and negatively impact its overall performance.
Ways of Engaging Employees
Collaboration, wellness, and job performance deteriorate amongst employees due to a lack of opportunities or channels to engage with each other and a company’s leadership. Weak engagement can cause employees to feel misaligned with the purpose of their work. They are also five times more likely to leave their jobs.
There are several actions companies can take to set themselves on the path of engaging employees, these include:
Putting programmes in place to understand employees – some employees care about the environment while others are more concerned with social initiatives. Utilising surveys and opinion polls to learn more about your employees’ interests is an important step in this regard.
Adopting a multi-channel communication channel – retail employees in particular are mostly on the move away from a desk or computer that allows easy access to email communication. Utilising digital employee engagement software will aid companies in not only targeting appropriate engagement messages but also facilitating the gathering of data for analysis purposes.
Leading by example – most employees will join in when/if their manager or supervisor eagerly participates in engagement initiatives. The attitude of senior leaders is also important in driving programmes aimed at engaging employees.
Connecting people to your company – celebrate corporate successes together in order to connect your company’s mission to employees and highlight the role they have in bringing it to life.
Build collaborative workplace relationships –building cross-functional teams (even if only for special projects) gives employees an opportunity to get to know each other and build relationships that can lead to workplace collaboration.
Regardless of a retailer’s size or industry, it is critical to commit the time and resources needed for engaging employees in order to ensure they enjoy work fulfilment and can therefore contribute to building a strong retail brand.
Engaged employees are a retail organisation’s biggest brand assets as they are more enthusiastic about their work. Customers benefit from this in the following ways:
- Improved customer service at key touch points
- Interaction with knowledgeable employees who promote solutions and not just products to customers
- A focus on making customers feel valued and respected as an individual
- Improved levels of after-sales service
By engaging employees, retailers can ensure they have a strong outward focus on customer service excellence.
The Bottom Line
Unsurprisingly, high levels of employee engagement may increase a company’s profitability as outlined below:
- Profit growth is three times faster than competitors
- Profit levels are 21% higher
- An 18% improvement in sales
In a highly competitive business landscape engaged employees offer retailers the ability to provide improved customer service that ultimately translates into improved financial performance for all stakeholders.
Engaging employees in the retail sector is not only beneficial in terms of improved sales but can also yield positive results via a more considered approach to resource utilisation by these employees. By avoiding or addressing any engagement disconnections companies can improve their customer service and improve employee productivity and the business’s profitability.
Talk to an expert to determine how we can help you with engaging your employees.