To survive on today’s British high street, customer experience is king – and that begins and ends with the staff of the shop floor.
While creating memorable moments and hosting events helps bolster business, nothing compares to having an engaged and motivated workforce that want to partner with you to make the store a success.
So, what are you doing to encourage staff longevity?
Here, we ask directors from leading firms to reveal their top tips for keeping staff engaged…
Craig Bolton, director, Mappin & Webb
I would like to mention two things. The first is breakfast meetings. Every quarter we choose a subject and host breakfast meetings with around 12 people, who are not managers, and they have been completely invaluable. We look at the stats, and we think, why are we losing people? Why is this group not so happy? And we get those people together to try and solve the problems. I think what has been really great for those people is that they have seen that so much of what they have said has been introduced. So when they say they hate this element of the company, or we would love to change this, we will try and change it. So there are things we have changed for the customer and there are things we have changed for the team, which I think has been extremely useful.
The second thing in terms of reward, the best thing we ever did was introduce an online portal that we call our ‘Brilliance Scheme’, which everybody is in on. We don’t allow brands to come in and pay people cash to sell products because it is so wrong that they should divert our people into selling the customer the wrong product just to earn cash benefit. Instead, we allow staff to take part in our scheme where they can earn points to get a prize of their choosing. They can have almost anything they want in the world;they can have a holiday or a new car if they make enough points, or they can buy a new toaster for the kitchen. Throughout the year there are opportunities to earn points through promotion schemes, or even by being nominated as team member of the month for doing well by our values. Points then go into the online portal and they can log on and see how many more they need to get the prize they want, and they can keep saving throughout the year and beyond, or cash the points in every month or so if they prefer. We’ve found it is much better doing that because people choose the gift they want. It’s a good way of engaging people.
Hayley Quinn, UK managing director of consumer goods, Swarovski
For me, you need to just treat staff as individuals. You need to listen to them to give them an opportunity to give feedback and feel they can influence what’s happening in the business. You need to then action some of that feedback. But just giving them an opportunity to feel they have a voice within the organisation, particularly when you’re a big organisation, that’s the bit that makes the difference.
Pam Aujla, UK managing director, Trollbeads
One thing we’ve initiated is an internal communication system called Slack, and that’s made a world of difference. Just having that communication has energised the team. We have an ideas group, which makes everyone feel like they’ve got a voice, and it has really helped us celebrate success. Now when the store staff have a customer come in and spend over a grand on gold, a little Slack message comes out and no matter where you are you can be part of that achievement and celebrate. It has also enabled us to bridge head office and the store and bring everybody together.
Jeremy Hinds, sales development director, F Hinds
We introduced engagement surveys two years ago and it has been really good. It gives people the opportunity to answer questions and feedback completely anonymously. We then sit down with the teams and discuss it and share that information and work together to solve any problems. Also, just trying to visit as many stores as we can. For us, family is a big part of our business. We have a twenty year dinner, so when someone has been with the company twenty years they come and have dinner with the family and we just try and keep the personal family element to the business, which the bigger we get, the harder it is to do.
Jo Stroud, owner, Fabulous Jewellers
I am a bit different to these guys. I have never ever paid commission, I completely and utterly disagree with individual award schemes. I reward everything at team level, so every time a brand comes along and wants to incentivise our staff, I have always said that’s fine, but we need to reward them as a team. We don’t measure individual performance, it is completely against team spirit. At Fabulous the staff get rewarded as teams, so if they beat their store target they get money to go out together. For me it is absolutely about that team getting on together, because that is their life, the people in the store with them.
This conversation appears within a roundtable sponsored by Klarna, published in the September issue of Professional Jeweller. Click here to read the full article.