4 Ways to End Employee Turnover


Many retail stores’ employees are always in flux. One chain’s, which I can’t name, average employee lasts just six months on the job. How can a retailer serve customers when employees are turning over at that rate? How can any product training happen? It’s a very hard issue; but something that needs to be solved if a retailer wants to maximize the customer’s experience.

Here are some ways many retailers have thwarted the turnover bug:

  1. They have team leaders or managers who listen and pay attention to their employees. I know you’re busy, but it’s tremendously important to pay attention to your employees. They are talking to customers. They need (and usually want) training. Manager, schedule time with your employees. I was working with a client and spent time in a highly performing big-box store. The team leaders and the manager made a point to listen (not just talk) to every employee, every day. It created a tremendously friendly and service-oriented culture. Plus, the managers/leaders knew their people’s strengths.
  2. Show them you care. We all like compliments. We all like to know we’ve done the job well. Let your people know how much you appreciate their work. I had an employee who was OK, but not outstanding. One day I gave her a specific responsibility within a specific area of the store. She did a great job—in fact she did it better than I thought she would. I raved about her work. She became one of my best, most-loyal and customer-focused employees. Attention, compliments and finding her doing things right was all it took to raise her from OK to fantastic. Try it.
  3. Have some fun. Create some contests, give away prizes (usually the suppliers will give you free stuff), send them to observe other retailers, etc. Whatever you do, create a fun atmosphere. When your employees are having fun, so will your customers. And, when customers stay longer in the store, they usually buy more of what you have and tell others about your store. The old Wal-Mart fight song may seem corny, but it works. Don’t be afraid to have some laughs.
  4. They like to know what’s going on. Be open with how the business is going. You never know when an employee can make a suggestion that will either save you money or increase your sales. I created a simple way to communicate results to people and developed a small incentive for them if we made our numbers. It wasn’t too long that I was getting all kinds of suggestions and good ideas for savings and sales. We had record-breaking performances once the employees felt involved and able to contribute.

Nobody likes employee turnover. These four steps will get you a long way to developing a loyal, customer-centric work team. It will also reflect in your customer’s view of your store and their desire to return and recommend.


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