Retail can be a difficult industry to work in. There are endless forums in which the heartbreaking comments from both customers and employees are shared.

As with any industry, you get what you put in. If your staff aren’t smiling, don’t expect your customers to be either. If your shops and displays are constantly messy, your customers are less likely to care about the clothes they just knocked onto the floor.

You and your staff create the atmosphere in your store, so keep them motivated and keep your atmosphere upbeat. Let’s take a look at six easy ways to achieve these goals.

Support your staff when they think of new ideas

Staff only think of ways to improve things when they care about them. If your retail staff have come up with a new way to merchandise the shirts, then at the very least reward their idea with a “thank you for your suggestion”.

If it’s something that’s going to work for your business, implement it. Supporting staff and giving them the chance to try out ideas can be an excellent staff motivator. In addition, it helps staff take ownership of their projects and encourages them to motivate other staff members to keep standards high.

Companies like Google allow staff to work on a project of their own choosing every so often. It keeps them motivated and allows them to take ownership of their own work

Create a positive atmosphere

If you want your staff to sell your clothes and act like fashionistas, your retail space has to look right. If your fixtures are tired and falling apart, your staff aren’t going to be feeling particularly inspired. Cultivate a neat and tidy environment that is built around well-maintained shop displays. Achieve this, and both your staff and your customers are more likely to respect their environment.

Create a space that reflects your brand and the lifestyle you are asking your customers to buy into. This will help your staff stay motivated and make them want to keep things tidy and take pride in their work. An attractive atmosphere, combined with the right attitude from your staff, will help you sell more.

Make the right noises

MusicWorks found that 77% of businesses get more out of their staff when music is being played. Music can be particularly motivating when staff are allowed to choose it themselves. As well as creating a positive environment, it also helps staff find positive energy and motivation to drive them through the day.

There are, of course, a couple of factors to keep in mind. Firstly, the music that is played needs to positively contribute to the atmosphere of your shop. If the music is heavy metal and you are running a high-end jewellery shop, it’s not going to work. Secondly, the music needs to be appropriate – so definitely no swearing!

Talk about the bigger picture

Regularly give your staff an overview of the bigger picture. It helps staff feel more valued and respected. In addition, it is particularly relevant to millennials. An understanding of where the company is going and why staff are being asked to do things gives your staff a greater sense of purpose.

Well informed staff not only feel more valued; they also offer better service. If staff have been forewarned that an online promotion is happening, they will be ready to process the codes when they are presented with them at the till.

Be flexible

Staff rotas can be difficult enough as it is, but offering flexible schedules can be beneficial. Recent studies have reported that many millennials will sacrifice pay for flexible scheduling and increased holiday allowances. If you are in a position to be able to do so, consider allowing your staff the option to swap shifts with each other to allow them more flexibility.

Offer feedback regularly

It doesn’t have to be presented like a parent-and-teacher evening, but staff like to regularly know what they are doing well — even if it is a simple compliment on how quickly or how well they completed a task.

If you can review a staff member’s progress regularly and set them targets, it will help them keep sight of the long game. A yearly appraisal is a good starting point, but a six-month or even three-month review is much better.

If you get your store environment right and consciously seek to create a positive atmosphere, you will motivate your staff. By encouraging them and rewarding them, you can help your staff take pride in their work. The more you can inspire your staff, the more you will get from them.

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