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Managing Retail Employees: How to Keep the Good Ones

By Chris Coopman, writer
May 01, 2018
Image Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
> Human Resources

Retail has high turnover, but here are six ways to retain the ones you want.

It may seem impossible to retain good employees in the retail industry. It's common for good employees to get snatched away for a little extra pay or a promotion. It is important for your business to find ways to keep your good employees right where they are meant to be – with you!

So how exactly can you do that? It starts with good leadership. Good employees need good leaders. Good leaders bring out the best in their employees. They challenge their employees to rise above their self-imposed limitations. They encourage their employees to grow, both as employees and as people.

If you want to retain your best employees, then keep the following in mind.

1. Resist feeling threatened by them.

Your good employees are often motivated and ready to show they have what it takes to move up. This sort of energy can be hard for some leaders to deal with. Some leaders and threatened co-workers may even sabotage the new employee from the beginning. Resist this urge, and stop anyone else's efforts to derail the new employee. This is the quickest way to lose talent. Remember, these types of employees are assets, and they'll help you look good as well.

2. Fully train them.

Just because they are meant to be superstars doesn't mean they don't need to be trained. A big mistake is assuming they'll know how to do everything. They might, but don't assume that they do. It's also important to remember that they probably won't be perfect at everything the first time you show them. A great training program isn't just a requirement for good employees; it could turn average employees into stars as well.

3. Get to know them.

You don't have to be their BFF, but it's a good idea to know what their professional aspirations are. Be the person who helps them reach their goals. If their goal is to be a manager one day, then start grooming them for that. Does it mean that they won't be with you forever? Maybe. It also means that you are helping them succeed, and they will work harder for you because of it.

4. Trust them.

It's important that they feel trusted. Your trust in them increase their confidence in their abilities as an employee. It also gives them the confidence to take initiative.

5. Give them room to make mistakes.

One of my favorite quotes by Thomas Watson sums this up: "Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. 'No,' I replied, 'I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?'" If you know when Watson was alive, you'll know this was a huge sum of money at that time.

6. Learn from them.

I've spent a lot of time teaching university students the ins and outs of business and leadership. One of the first things I tell my students each semester is that I learn as much from them as they learn from me. And it's the truth! It's important to for me to recognize that, even as the "expert in the classroom," there are dozens of students in there with unique perspectives and experiences worth listening to.

It's the same in your business. Your employees each have unique perspectives and experience that can help you grow your business. Don't be afraid to capitalize on this. They will feel respected and valued. It will encourage them to invest in the success of the business as well.

Retaining good employees should not be difficult. If you provide them with a safe and challenging work environment and help them reach their goals, they will be less tempted by that other job with a 50-cent raise.

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Chris Coopman
Chris Coopman
See Chris Coopman's Profile
Chris Coopman is a leadership expert and entrepreneur. Chris’ need to understand how to overcome small business leadership challenges drove her to pursue an MBA in Leadership and a PhD(c) in Organizational Psychology. Chris’ most recent adventure combines two passions: her love for social media and growing insurance agencies. When not actively running her business, she’s helping others run theirs. Chris welcomes speaking opportunities involving small business leadership development.
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