In part one of this two-part series titled What A Healthy Employer-Employee Dynamic Looks Like & Why It Matters, we began the post with a brief breakdown of each component our workforce management software is comprised of: scheduling software, time clock management, payroll software for small businesses, a task management interface. While we encourage you to take a look at that post (along with perusing our site at your pleasure), the long and the short of it is that we are independent retailers ourselves, which is significant because everything we do at Scheduling+ is designed to make the life of our clients, independent retailers, easier. As former and present independent retailers ourselves, we have a mission for identifying and resolving common inefficiencies that we’ve observed over the years. We’ve engineered workforce scheduling software that is easy to use, saves employers time and money, and simply helps you manage your business better.
Strategies For Retail Managers
In the second part of part one, we were more conceptual with the topic at hand, giving our employer-readers advice with regards to dealing with difficult employees. There are plenty of aspects that are outside the control of a retail employer, among them being disinterested employees and a high turnover rate that pervades the industry. It’s easy for any employer who has been around for a while to let those facts inform the reality of the situation, which leaves us jaded and perhaps bitter. Conversely, there are more than a few elements that are within a manager’s control to some degree or another. Not all retail environments are the same, so we can’t speak for each and every situation, we’ll readily warrant. What we can do is help our fellow independent retailers out with some practical advice as to how to foster healthy employer-employee relationships.
Setting Your Employee Up For Success
Not all employees are equal in terms of their performance. You don’t have to be the best manager in the world to understand that fact. But all employees need to be treated equally in the sense that each person on your staff needs to be given the chance to succeed. Some employees might need more hand-holding than others, whereas other new hires might be so eager to become self-sufficient that they need to be told to slow down and ask for help when they don’t understand something.
Either way, a good employer figures out a way to adapt their own management style to the needs of an employee. There is a give and a take which must occur interpersonally with each relationship, and the best way to learn how to give each employee what they need is by paying attention. Pay attention to what they say, how they act, what they are confident in and where they are unsure. Every employee has a hierarchy of basic needs that must be met to a certain degree. From safety and security to belonging, love, and self-actualization, the first step is to understand that an employee is an investment — you need to put in the work to net positive performance.
Respect And Reliance: A Two-Way Street
You may have heard the terms “mutual respect” and “mutual reliance” thrown around in management training courses at some time or another. There’s a good reason for that — they are vital to the culture of a workplace.
When it comes to mutual respect at a retail store, you want to make sure you establish a natural hierarchy of leadership while still instilling a culture of camaraderie. That balance can be difficult to strike, especially if you are part of a more relaxed working environment. One way to avoid any dissonance is to make sure that those who have been a part of your organization for a long time are still treating you with respect. How does one do this? Follow the Golden Rule — treat them with respect, and consider rewarding them with added responsibility, authority, and pay (when possible) for their dedication.
If the delicate balance between employer/employee reliance becomes tipped too far in a certain direction, it can lead to big trouble. Most of the time, big problems started out as small problems which were the result of good intentions.
Example: you aren’t in the mood to retrain your new employee for the third time in the last two weeks how to close down the POS and cash register for the day. They should be able to remember by now, so instead of explaining it one more time, you do it yourself. That, in and of yourself, isn’t necessarily even a small problem. But what if you begin to do your employees’ tasks here and there, and that “here and there” turns into a habit! Then you become known as a manager who micromanages, a manager who has to do everything themselves because no one else can do the job right. Nobody likes that person. And you as the manager don’t want to work for people who, even if it’s in the back of their minds, have the mentality that they don’t need to learn how to perform a job well because their supervisor will take care of it later. Worse still, they might begin to be intentionally poor at certain tasks in order to get out of them. Yikes!
On the other side of this coin, being seen as an important, integral member of a team is key to employee satisfaction. Taking that away can lead to unenthusiastic employees who don’t see a connection between their effort and the success of the operation at large. That is a recipe for frequent turnover if we’ve ever heard one.
We’ve talked about effective communication in previous blogs, but it’s a fundamental aspect of any social environment, and your retail store is no exception. Effective and open communication begins with trust and relationship, which occurs by investing in one another’s lives. Before employees open up, they need to know they are secure and that you care about them as individuals, not just laborers.
Getting to know someone takes time, as we all know. So what can you do? While it might be slow-going at first, you can lay the groundwork for a healthy, communicative work culture by making sure you have open relationships with your staff members who have been with you for some time. If your shift supervisors (whether they’ve been given that title or their influence is more informal) speak highly of you and operate with integrity while you aren’t around, that informs those new to the scene that they are in good hands. This can dramatically accelerate the process of having a work environment where employees feel at liberty to speak candidly. Of course, you had better make sure you are personally ready to receive criticism, because as we all know, opinions are like belly buttons!
At the end of the day, we want to be a part of how you can better manage your business. Whether it’s through our employee time clock software, online payroll software, or through a strategy-laden blog post for managers, everything we do is to save our clients both time and money. If you are interested in learning more about how our services and products better equip independent retailers with the tools they need to do exactly that, contact us today for a free trial or a live demo. We’d love to learn more about your business and make a plan you are excited about!