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Is a Sense of Ownership the Key to Strong Retail Teams?

Oct 17, 2022

During the past years retailers have struggled with supply chain disruption threatening their business deliveries. But today, talent has become the main shortage. How do you build a team strong enough to make people want to stay?

In 2021, the Great Resignation was born. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, last year more than 47 million Americans quit their jobs voluntarily. Surveys by Microsoft and McKinsey report that 40% of US workers are currently thinking about quitting their jobs. One in five workers globally are planning to quit this year, according to a massive worldwide survey by PwC.

The result of this is that earlier this year there were a record 5 million more job openings than available workers in the US alone.

This means there is fierce competition for the best candidates. Companies are also realizing that they are only as good as their employees – whether they are frontend or backend teams.

So how do you create strong retail teams in a time when workers are thinking carefully about whom they work for?

Give Staff a Stake in What They Do

It’s important not to underestimate the valuable role your staff play in your business. Research from Retail Technology Show found that 40% of UK shoppers say that store associates ‘make or break’ the customer experience in-store.

One way to create a culture that people want to be a part of is to give them a stake in what they do. Typically, this approach has been focused on bonuses, which may or may not be suitable for your business model.

However, there are other ways that you can give employees a sense of ownership in the business. For example, giving in-store staff access to communication tools can enable them to build up a relationship with customers rather than just processing transactions.

This empowerment should also extend to the rest of your organization. Backend and development teams are often overlooked when it comes to providing context around how their work feeds into the rest of the business.

In traditional e-commerce set-ups in particular, teams are usually organized around specific things like databases, the frontend, and the backend. The result is that many developers’ work is just sending and resolving tickets between these different teams. Taking a more modern commerce approach can help to solve this by creating smaller teams focused on a specific function – for example, the customer profile. This gives the developers on that team end-to-end ownership of that element for greater job satisfaction.

Listen to Staff Ideas

It’s important not to overlook the things that matter to your staff, such as wages, job security, benefits, and working hours, when it comes to creating an attractive working environment.

But a sense of purpose can make a big difference in job satisfaction and effort levels. Rather than just stacking shelves in a disconnected way, you can create a culture that empowers associates to make recommendations and suggestions on how to improve things.

Bear in mind that the staff that deals with customers every day have a better understanding of what’s good and bad about your retail experience. The development teams dealing with tickets know where improvements need to be made. Rather than always dictating from the top, taking a teamwork approach allows for insights to flow in both directions.

The more that your staff feels connected to the business and that their work has value, the more likely they are to want to remain a part of it.