How to Create a Genuine Workplace Culture
Turnover is an ever-lingering threat to the retail industry. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover program, the turnover rate in 2017 is already on a pace for a 10 percent increase over the average annual rate of the past decade. Despite the troubling trend, it’s possible to inspire your employees to stick around for the long haul.
The key to inspiring your employees lies in creating a workplace culture of “B.A.M.” — Belonging, Affirmation and Meaning.
We want to fit in somewhere. We’re hardwired to belong to groups. It’s natural to want to be a part of something greater than ourselves. When we spend most of our time around other people, we want to identify with them.
One great way of creating a sense of belonging in your company is by giving your people the opportunity for shared experiences. Perhaps that’s through a weekly outing to a local pub or an annual retreat. Each opportunity is a chance for your employees to bond over those shared experiences. The more you’re able to help your employees create new, positive memories together, the more they’ll feel a sense of belonging alongside their colleagues.
Everyone wants to be appreciated, but not everyone likes receiving appreciation in the same way. Some people don’t like being stood up in front of the entire company for acknowledgement. We want to be appreciated for our efforts, but not in an impersonal way. Generic recognition doesn’t offer the same sort of personal affirmation that strikes a chord deep inside us.
There are a couple tools you can start using today to help give your employees the affirmation they need. First, listen — really listen — to what your employees have to say. Try repeating back what you’ve heard so they know you were listening and not just waiting for your turn to talk. Additionally, get into the habit of offering specific appreciation about why your employees are doing a good job. Instead of the generic “great job today,” try “that was a difficult customer, but I appreciate you staying professional.”
We want to know that our work is making a difference. In the retail industry, this means putting thought into each detail of how your customers are experiencing your products and services. People can buy nearly anything online today, but the positive experience of a physical store environment can turn a good day into a great day.
Embrace that meaning as a part of your culture by sharing stories of happy customers whenever possible. Give your employees the opportunity to share their own stories of how they and their colleagues have succeeded in making someone’s day better.
To get different results, you need to provide something distinct. Every company gives their employees a basic paycheck, but few go further to truly meet their team’s needs. When you create a culture of B.A.M. to inspire your workers, you’re setting them up for success.
Piyush Patel, author of the forthcoming "Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work," is an entrepreneur and an innovator in corporate culture with more than 20 years of experience. As the founder of Digital-Tutors, an online training company, he has helped educate more than 1 million students in digital animation, with clients including Pixar, Apple and NASA.
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