Seven Employee Recognition Ideas for the Retail Sector

Recognition and reward in a challenging sector

It’s no secret that the retail sector suffers from poor wages and high staff turnover. Low morale and demotivated staff can lead to unhappy customers, whereas research tells us that a happy, motivated workforce is linked to satisfied and loyal customers - which leads to business success.

So, how do you motivate your employees so that your customers have a positive experience, and keep coming back to your store? Below are seven top tips form our recognition and reward experts.

1. Recognise achievements and contributions promptly

It is important that rewards correspond to the behaviour they're intended to reinforce. Recognise the achievement quickly and don’t let too much time pass between the action and the presentation, or the reward won't have the positive impact that that it should have. There are loads of great options out there for on-the-spot rewards, like vouchers that can be handed out spontaneously, or digital codes that can be in someone's email inbox instantly.

2. Get to know your staff

Your employees are individual human beings, so encourage managers to get to know their team members personally. Having a boss who is interested in you personally can be very motivating. And once they know what motivates their employees, they can incorporate this knowledge into their recognition and reward strategy, making sure rewards are as relevant to each individual as they possibly can be.

3. Make work fun with some gamification

There will always be busy days in retail - but sometimes the slower days can be even worse. Keep things lively with challenges and games that keep staff motviated and inspire a little bit of competitive spirit. Even something as simple as a race to complete a task in a creative way, or a product knowledge quiz with fun prizes, can make a big difference to a slow day on the shop floor.

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4. Think little perks

Little perks, such as bringing in a massage therapist to give 15-minute chair massages for all staff, can really make a difference - they break up the day, and give people access to something they might not have the time or money to experience for themselves. And perks can be even littler still to be effective - a free round of morning coffee or ice cream in the staff room during warmer weather can give people the little boosts they need to get through the day.

5. Pay-it-forward box

Even if you don’t have a formal peer to peer recognition programme, encourage your staff to notice the extra effort and contribution their co-workers put in with a pay-it-forward box.Employees just put a note in the box when they see something and the notes can be regularly read out and displayed. You can also give a small reward, such as a £10 gift card, to the employee who's accumulated the most notes each week.

6. Provide development opportunities

Give your employees opportunities to develop themselves and their careers. This doesn’t have to be attending expensive training courses - it can include things such as attending a conference or industry event and reporting back on it, get involved with training new team members, or taking the lead with a new product. The ability to learn new things, socialise with industry peers, or take on extra responsibilities can be very motivating.

7. Organise an employee appreciation event

Annual employee recognition award ceremonies highlight employees’ achievements - and can be tax-free up to a spend of £150 per employee per year. Encourage people to dress up for the event and use it to recognise individual and team performances. It's a fantastic way to bring people together for a social event, and recognise people who have really gone the extra mile.

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