Many retailers in Australia are experiencing challenging times, impacted by the shifting retail landscape and economic impacts from international markets. Retailers and their teams are undoubtedly feeling the pressure, which can lead to a severely demoralised workforce. During these hard times, it’s crucial to focus on building strong relationships with your team. Investing in strong team relationships not only promotes performance and productivity, it also allows leaders to better understand the aspirations and motivations of their teams, so they can boost the perceived benefits of their additional or discretionary effort.
Encouraging team involvement and contribution is key to championing team achievements, as it is the responsibility of retail leaders to be the source of team encouragement and motivation. Leaders who spend considerable effort in guiding, supporting and facilitating staff development receive the best team performance and achieve organisational goals and objectives.
However, keeping a team motivated can be challenging as motivation can be internally or externally generated. Internal motivation is sourced inside the individual (when the individual is passionate about the work), while external motivation is sourced outside of the individual (when the individual is given a punishment or a reward). Consequently, leaders have the option to create a situation where staff are highly engaged and empowered, allowing their internal motivation to take charge, or utilise external motivation to reward desired behaviours and punish undesired ones.
The majority of retailers utilise methods of external motivation and attempt to increase the level of teamwork and synergy taking place by changing individual rewards to team rewards, i.e. financial bonuses are the result of the entire team reaching budget rather than the individual. However, we are seeing more and more retail leaders championing individual and team performance through measures not linked to money, and instead offering a variety of benefits to high performers, which include:
- Access to highly desirable opportunities within the business
- A mentoring relationship with a coveted senior manager
- Invitations to interstate or international brand events
- Opportunity to attend store openings
- Attending external learning and development programs
- Sharing their success in internal brand magazines and communications
- Promotion and advancement
While all staff are motivated differently, they all appreciate some form of recognition for their efforts. Hence, retail leaders are responsible for reinforcing high levels of performance that appropriately acknowledges the individual’s motivation, contribution and achievements.
Pandora is an example of a retailer that effectively recognises and champions team achievements, with remarkable results. In 2014, Pandora implemented their Retail Excellence program, a program that acknowledges their high performing store managers and potential store managers. This leadership and development program covers leadership from three perspectives – self, team, and customer. During this program, participants focus on the type of leader they want to be and leave with an individual development plan on how to achieve this.
Participants receive individual coaching, and are allocated a group project which is presented in the second half of the program. Many of these projects have been adopted into the Pandora organisation as time saving, cost saving, and innovative ways of operation. This program provides a foundation of leadership skills that move high performing store managers to the next level, creating a network of world class leaders representing the brand.
Although this program has specific criteria for selected participants, it recognises high performing staff and appreciates their success by investing in their career development. Not only does this program create a pathway for success for employees, it also adds value to the business by retaining loyal and talented staff.
How do you champion your teams’ success? The ARA Retail Institute provides industry leading workshops for steering retail success.
Find more information about the services provided by The ARA Retail Institute here.