Company News • 14.01.2021

How to Build a Culture of Employee Engagement

What Retail Associates Care About

We all know that frontline employee engagement is important for retailers. Not only are engaged associates committed to their jobs—staying with the organization longer and often going above and beyond to support the whole team—they’re also more proactive, knowledgeable, and invested in success, resulting in better customer experiences and higher sales.

But what makes an associate engaged versus disengaged? How can you foster a culture that promotes in-store employee engagement?

Logo: Reflexis Systems GmbH

Reflexis Systems GmbH

Kokkolastr. 5-7
40882 Ratingen
Einzelhandelsmitarbeiter bei der Arbeit
Source: Reflexis/istock

Understanding What Retail Associates Care About

 Well-intentioned engagement efforts will go astray if they don’t align with employees’ needs, desires, and interests. As you start an employee engagement program, the first and most important question you need to ask is “What do employees really want?” And, while every associate is unique, there are some common themes.

For example, most team members want to do well in their role, with easy access to the resources they need to excel; 92% of retail employees report that formal training improves their job engagement. Offering easy access to clear, consistent SOPs, as well as identifying opportunities for cross-training and upskilling, can boost any retail employee engagement program.

Additionally, retail associates want a job that works for them, not just a job they work for. Being able to maintain a work-life balance is key for employee engagement. In fact, 78% of employees report that flexible work arrangements encourage productivity. In the field, associate self-service scheduling tools have been shown to reduce turnover by as much as 8%!

Empowering Frontline Managers

Store managers should also be at the forefront of any engagement plans, as 74% of employees think a good relationship with their supervisor is key for employee engagement. Ineffective store managers make work more difficult for associates, and even good managers are often stuck being rigid task masters because of how information is delivered to them from corporate. Associates who are frustrated with their managers are unlikely to go above and beyond, so improving these relationships is vital.

One of the best ways to improve manager-associate relationships is to streamline communications. At the corporate level, this means creating a more targeted, role-based communications strategy around in-store promotions, new in-store program roll-outs, safety procedures, product recalls, and more, so that important updates and messages can be shared directly with relevant frontline associates. At the store level, this reduces the need for store managers to manually sort through, prioritize, and relay messages to each affected associate—a process that often causes delays for critical information or floods associates with irrelevant messages. Cutting through this noise with better targeting means store associates receive updates faster and are less likely to be frustrated. It also translates to significant time savings for store managers that can be used towards coaching associates and better serving customers.

Ultimately, engaged employees stay with the company longer and know more about their jobs—resulting in lower costs, improved sales, and better customer experiences.

To learn more about building a culture of engagement, download our infographic or reach out to us today at to learn how our workforce scheduling and communication solutions can help you empower engagement at your stores

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