Cultivating a positive workplace culture in retail

It’s been a rough time for retail workers; uncertain working conditions, changing rules and regulations, lockdowns, vaccination mandates, and customer abuse have all been hallmarks of working on the frontlines in retail throughout the pandemic. 

Because of this, it’s no surprise that the industry is experiencing ‘The Great Resignation‘. Employees are jumping ship to better opportunities elsewhere, just as retail is racing towards recovery. 

So what do ‘better opportunities’ look like to candidates?

A survey conducted by Linkedin found that 42% of candidates in Canada consider company culture a top priority when picking a job. 

Many elements create a positive company culture and enhance employee experience, with some of the most common themes only needing a few tweaks in process or behaviour. When the benefits of a positive culture and happy, engaged employees can lead to increased productivity, improved sales, improved safety and reduced operating costs, what is there to lose?

Explore the below ideas on improving the culture across your retail business.

Wellbeing

Employee burnout has been a recurrent theme throughout the pandemic, but it’s been a rising issue even before that. Classified by the WHO in 2019 as an ‘occupational phenomenon‘, for some it can look like mental and physical exhaustion, stress, and can lead to a drop in productivity and wellbeing. Workplace wellbeing can be supported in many ways through:

  • Professional counselling support, like services offered through Employee Assistance Programs
  • Wellbeing or wellness allowances 
  • Flexible working (where possible!)

Learn more: 11 employee wellness programs that work – Culture Amp

Values

Business leaders are rethinking their entire working models, cultures, and company values. Employees are rethinking not just how they work, but why.” – LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2022

How do you communicate your business’s purpose and values, can your employees articulate how they contribute to it? McKinsey suggests exploring the relationship between an individual’s purpose and their work to identify opportunities to establish a connection. This could be as simple as championing how your business contributes to the wider community, or (if you’re keen to go big picture!) how it has a positive impact on the world.

McKinsey - employee purpose diagram

Creating moments where this comes to life in the day to day (think: how you recruit, onboard, in meetings, in front of customers, etc) will set the stage not only for cultural development but business growth too. 

Innovation

Innovation has been at the forefront of how businesses have responded to the events of 2020 and beyond. Imagine if those same invaluable employee skills that helped your business adapt could be used to reshape processes or ways of working?

Workplace innovation doesn’t have to be a top-down effort. Some of your company’s most successful initiatives could come from the ground up. Qualtrics covers ten ways to do this:

  1. Make sure you have ways to gather ideas
  2. Identify your creatives and support them
  3. Show the outcome of an employee’s great idea
  4. Be careful when adapting other people’s ideas
  5. Eliminate the fear of failure
  6. Make innovation a part of recruitment and onboarding
  7. Reward innovation
  8. Create a sense of ownership among employees
  9. Create memorable experiences
  10. Gamify the creative process

 

Fostering a positive workplace culture requires new ways of thinking, new ways of working, and a keen focus on the employee experience. Investing in initiatives that support, embrace and champion your workforce means you’re on a sure-fire path to business growth in 2022 and beyond.

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