How to Combat Quiet Quitting Among Hourly Workers
Quiet quitting is a trending topic across corporate America. And the retail sector is experiencing its own wave of workers eager to set boundaries with employers.
Whether you call it quiet quitting, coasting, or plain old checking out, unmotivated employees aren’t new. Workers who lack support, resources, and work-life balance also lack incentive to go beyond minimal job requirements. And in the retail sector, unengaged hourly workers create operational inefficiencies and poor shopping experiences for customers, leading to a negative brand perception over time.
Therefore, this holiday season retailers must find ways to keep workers engaged and motivated during the busiest — and most profitable — time of the year.
Unengaged Employees, Unhappy Customers
In the retail sector, the quiet quitting trend involves much more than the losses commonly associated with unproductive employees. Retail workers are the face of your brand — the individuals who interact with your customers every day — and that makes an unengaged retail worker a potential catalyst for an inferior customer experience.
And at a time when consumer expectations for service and convenience have never been higher, one bad interaction with your employee could mean one more customer for your competitor.
How to Better Support Your Holiday Workers
You can avoid dissatisfaction on the sales floor when you equip employees with tools to be productive, demonstrate your appreciation for their efforts, and give team members a sense of ownership over their work.
Here are three ways to position your hourly workers for success and deter quiet quitting — during the holiday season and beyond:
1. Help employees work smarter, not harder.
Stress from the holiday rush can quickly lead to burnout if your workers are stuck doing menial tasks. Jobs like inventory management and product information updates are time consuming and can easily overwhelm employees who are already scrambling to support an influx of customers.
The right digital solutions can reduce busy work so your stores run more efficiently and your employees feel productive. Retail technology platforms leverage existing infrastructure to digitize operations for better in-store maintenance and management, freeing up employees to focus on more meaningful tasks. For example, automation capabilities support instant updates to prices and digital labels, while real-time shelf monitoring takes the guesswork out of where to find items or when they need to be restocked.
If you support omnichannel shopping, digital retail platforms also ensure consistency across channels with listed specifications and reviews for all products. A reliable source of information gives employees everything they need to quickly help customers locate the right products. And when shopping for a last-minute holiday gift, efficiency is critical.
2. Acknowledge and reward increased workloads.
Technology solutions alone may not be enough to keep pace with customer demands during the holiday season. There’s a good chance some of your hourly employees will need to unexpectedly work overtime or pick up extra shifts. When that happens, show appreciation for workers’ flexibility and offer incentives to acknowledge their commitment.
A concerted effort to celebrate people who go above and beyond creates a supportive culture where employees are happy to step up and help their peers. There’s no shortage of ways to show appreciation. Verbal recognition from managers, social media posts highlighting exemplary work, and company-wide awards are all effective ways to celebrate employees who act as team players.
You can also tie rewards to logging overtime and filling in for extra shifts. Small gifts in appreciation of extra work help employees feel more connected to their jobs and teams. While you may not be able to provide big raises right now, small moments of praise go a long way toward preventing quiet quitting.
3. Open lines of communication.
Many instances of quiet quitting start from poor leadership, with decision-makers neglecting to act on employees’ concerns or suggestions. Your employees want the ability to influence changes in working conditions or inefficient processes — especially during the holidays when these feelings are more common. Team members are more motivated when they play a role in creating meaningful workplace improvements.
For example, pulse surveys surface perspectives about what’s going right and wrong in a store’s operations. Survey topics could include line management during peak holiday shopping hours or the accessibility of information on holiday deals/specials. Sharing and addressing survey responses company-wide lets workers know their participation and candor make an impact.
Managers and supervisors can also provide updates on morale among hourly workers so leaders know when it’s time to intervene. If an individual’s job performance is declining, instruct their supervisor to schedule a conversation with the employee. The manager may learn about pain points and can invite the employee to help develop solutions.
Unmotivated employees are an ongoing challenge for business leaders. This holiday season, an engaged, motivated workforce could make the difference between presents under the tree or coal in your stocking. To ensure a happy holiday season for all, combat quiet quitting by investing in your employees and recognizing that their work keeps your stores operational.
Loubna Bibrine is North America HR manager at SES-imagotag, a leader in electronic shelf labels and IoT solutions for retail.
Loubna Bibrine is the HR Business Partner for retail digital-solutions provider SES-imagotag North America where she leads the growth, support and development of the tech company’s North American workplace and culture. Loubna has been with the retail tech company for nearly 10 years helping it grow from its early growth phase in France to its current North America offices. In her tenure, Loubna has seen first-hand what employees of both corporate and hourly retail workplaces need from employers and has been a part of initiatives that aim to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace to support them. Loubna continues to find ways to improve employee engagement and retention while continuing to support the mission of SES-imagotag of helping retailers turn their physical stores into digital assets.