Employee Motivation in the Retail Sector

Employee Motivation in the Retail Sector

Employee Motivation in the Retail Sector

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The retail sector is very challenging for employees, customers, and the organizations operating in this sector because of a very unique set of conditions that characterize it. The retail industry is highly price-sensitive, has high competitive intensity, and is customer service-orientated.

Not to mention there are three other major factors that make it difficult for employees to work in retail stores. These factors include: maintaining employee morale, meeting multiple stakeholder expectations, and establishing a sense of purpose.

This article provides an insight into what should be done by both the retail workers and as well as the human resources team and retail managers to ensure job satisfaction and motivation at the workplace through suitable practices.

What Are Employee Motivation And Employee Engagement?

Employee motivation refers to the level of desire and willingness of employees to participate in organizational processes, effectively, and productively. It is a psychological state that leads to taking action. Employee engagement on the other hand is an emotional connection that inspires people and their co-workers to give their best at work.

In simple words, employee motivation occurs when employees are able to fully use their capacities and skills towards the attainment of the company's goals. When this happens, they perform better. The term 'employee engagement' was first coined by Gallup Incorporated back in 2001 and it has been increasingly used as a competitive advantage for organizations ever since then.

Employee Motivation in the Retail Sector - Happy Employees

What Is The Main Motivation Of An Employee?

The most basic type of motivation is the extrinsic type where materialistic gains i.e. money, facilities, rewards, or other benefits motivate an employee to put in more effort in the workplace. There are enough studies that indicate how offering monetary incentives to your employees is an effective way to increase their motivation. For employees working on mundane tasks, outside motivation can be more necessary because these tasks provide no opportunities for personal satisfaction and growth on their own.

Intrinsic motivation is where employees are motivated by doing things that interest them, relating to their job or the overall organization's goals. This occurs when employees have a high degree of job autonomy, feel trusted or important in their role, or are passionate about the field of work.

Employee Motivation in the Retail Sector - Coffee Shop

How Does An Employee's Motivation Affect The Company's Performance?

Employee motivation not only affects their performance but also has a direct impact on the company's bottom line. When employees are motivated, they put in more effort and this leads to increased productivity. Motivated employees align with organizational goals and make better business decisions as well. They become more creative at work and solve problems faster which helps the overall growth of the company.

Employee Motivation in the Retail Sector - Awards

What Are The Different Types Of Motivation?

Understanding the different types of motivations is beneficial for employees and employers. There are five different kinds of motivations: external, introjected, identified, intrinsic and integrated.

External Motivation

Employees act on their own to achieve a positive outcome such as a bonus or raise which might be beneficial for them but would not necessarily contribute towards organizational goals.

Introjected Motivation

An employee acts due to a feeling of guilt or fear, for instance, if their boss threatens them with dire consequences if they do not perform well on an assignment. This would compel that employee to put in more effort.

Identified Motivation

Employees are motivated because they want to achieve a personal goal that is not necessarily beneficial for the organization. For instance, if an employee works on a marketing team and decides they want to earn an MBA after a few years, their motivation to put in the effort at the workplace would be directed towards earning enough work experience to then apply for an MBA program.

Integrated Motivation

Employees find both internal and external motivation from doing a particular task. For example, if an employee believes that this task contributes towards organizational growth and sees a potential for personal benefits (such as recognition for his efforts), this is referred to as integrated motivation.

Intrinsic Motivation

Employees get motivated by doing things that interest them and in a manner in which the tasks contribute towards the organization's goals. This type of motivation occurs when employees have a high degree of job autonomy and feel trusted and important in their role. For example, if a person who loves animals becomes a veterinarian, they would be intrinsically motivated because their work aligns with their personal love for animals.

Employee Motivation in the Retail Sector - Trophy

How To Motivate Your Employees In Retail?

Retail is a competitive business. A lot of creativity is needed to survive in this industry. To ensure better engagement from employees, retail companies need to make their workforce feel valued and provide an opportunity for growth and self-actualization. Here are some examples of how retail companies can motivate their workforce:

Give Employees Greater Responsibilities

One of the best ways to motivate retail employees is by giving them autonomy. This will give them a chance to act in accordance with their own decisions. This also provides an opportunity for their personal growth. It would not only make your employees feel empowered but would also encourage innovative thinking to meet your organization's goals.

Build A Culture Of Recognition

When your employees have suggestions, ideas, or even complaints, listening and honoring these suggestions can not only help the company increase its revenue, improve customer service, etc., but it also helps create a positive company culture. When you see that your employees put in a lot of effort or do a very good job, a little recognization for their efforts really goes a long way. Utilizing an employee recognition platform is an effective way to achieve this. When you see that your employees put in a lot of effort or do a very good job, a little recognition for their efforts through the employee recognition platform really goes a long way. This will keep your employees engaged and provide them with a positive sense of your leadership and the company's brand.

Encourage Feedback & Communication

Ensure that the work environment is collaborative so employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas, suggestions, and opinions. Open communication fosters creativity and innovation in the workplace. In order to achieve this, it is important to ensure that there are no inhibitions within the workforce. Be accessible to your employees, provide opportunities to talk to you, and define channels for communication.

Encourage Career Development

Staff members get motivated when they are given a chance to learn new things. Make clear-cut goals so employees can work towards them with full dedication. Create opportunities for your employees to grow within their roles.

You can also set sales goals to encourage them in their current roles. Monitor these metrics to keep track. Employees can look at the scoreboard and watch their professional development.

Employee Motivation in the Retail Sector - Career Development

Spruce Up Your Break Room

Employees spend a lot of their lives at work, so having a nice place to sit down or eat their lunch can make a big difference. You can make your break room a relaxing and conversational area by providing comfortable seating, snacks, coffee, or boxed water. Creating a good atmosphere in the break room gives employees a positive view of the company, especially if efforts are made to cater for employees with unique needs. For example, by providing plant-based snacks such as dark chocolate popcorn for vegan staff or gluten-free alternatives for those with celiac disease. Happy employees will lead to happy customers. A positive work environment has been shown to improve employee engagement and morale

Make Work Schedules Available ASAP

Retail employees should have their work schedules available as soon as possible so they can plan. Many retail employees are part-time workers. Outside of work they have families, some have school, hobbies, and some may even have other jobs to go to. You can also consider giving the employees opportunities to change shifts or choose shift preferences. Check out flair's shift planner to make your scheduling process effortless!

Surprise Them

Surprise your employees every now and then on a special day by organizing a team lunch or a surprise gift. You can also consider planning fun events outside the office, such as an employee sports game. Other surprises like gift cards or an extra workday off are a great way to motivate workers.

Retail Personal Development Opportunities

By providing your retail employees with opportunities to grow, you can improve their engagement levels and productivity at work. This leads to lower turnover rates. Encourage your employees to participate in workshops or training programs.

Employee Motivation in the Retail Sector - Thank You Card


Motivating your employees improves their employee engagement, increases their productivity at work, and lowers your rate of employee turnover. It also ensures that customers receive higher quality service, which is what every retail business aims for. Therefore, ensuring your employees are motivated is extremely important.


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