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Keep staff happy to avoid the gloom

Retailers caught in the grip of the downturn face a difficult challenge in preventing the deterioration of staff morale.

Morale affects performance, and during a recession retailers are threatened with a double-edged sword. At the same time that sales are contracting, staff morale threatens to make matters even worse. In such times, maintaining staff morale, and even boosting it, is a priority.

With this in mind, here are some top tips to motivate, improve morale and guarantee 100% commitment and dedication from staff.

First, focus on the positive, because if all you’re talking about is how bad things are, then that’s all your staff will be thinking about.

Training and upskilling your staff helps them feel challenged and valued. It also provides deserving staff with extra responsibilities. Cross-training boosts productivity and flexibility, as staff will possess the skills to cover for each other in the event of an illness, holiday or termination.
Games and contests help prevent your top performers from growing stagnant and encourage the entire sales team to improve their own performance by creating a healthy, competitive environment.

Increasing staff communication reduces anxiety and can stabilise, if not improve, morale. Staff appraisals offer an excellent opportunity to show staff members that they are being heard.

Finally, making your staff feel rewarded, recognised and appreciated can be as simple as saying thank you and congratulating them on a job well done. Monetary rewards, such as salary raises or bonuses, make the ‘thank you’ even more appreciated.

Nick Waller is sales and marketing director at consultancy Retail Performance Specialists (RPS)

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