Local Store Marketing: Employee Recognition

By: John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc.

Looking for a way to invigorate your store staff and sales?

Employee peer recognition is often more influential among your workers than achieving actual prizes or monetary rewards.  Developing ongoing peer recognition programs will keep your employees excited about their jobs and their enthusiasm will translate into continual sales growth for your store. In other words, happy employees mean happy customers.

Recognition can be based on employee job performance that can be both qualitative and quantitative.   A qualitative recognition strategy recognizes employees who go beyond the scope of their job function. Exemplary behaviors in customer service or job performance should be recognized on an ongoing basis in order to motivate your staff. Quantitative recognition is based on sales revenue generated by a particular employee.  Both employee recognition strategies invigorate not only the recognized employee, but their peers.

Make It Actionable: There are a number of ways to create low-cost recognition programs for your employees.  One method is by communicating a monthly employee newsletter highlighting the best employee accomplishments for the previous month—heightening the awareness for your team.  This can be in the form of a printed newsletter distributed monthly to all employees or in the form of a recognition board that is placed prominently in the store for both customers and employees to see. A customer compliment regarding an employee is a fantastic item to include in the newsletter.

Move The Goods: Product sales contests are another way to inform customers of expanded product lines, increase your store sales, and invigorate your sales staff.  Sometimes, just creating excitement with your employees by highlighting a suggestive sales item will get their competitive peer juices flowing. Challenge your team to see who can sell the most cookies at lunch or pairs of socks with every pair of pants. Healthy competition amongst employees is a powerful motivator, and being recognized as the winner of a sales contest is the ultimate reward.

Create Incentives: Beyond recognition, some employers raise the bar on by providing a $25 gift card from a local electronics store, for instance, as added incentive.  At the end of the year, reward those outstanding employees at a year-end event.  Monthly winners should also be submitted to your local newspaper for public recognition. Peer recognition of employees will help drive sales for the store and developing a financial model for incentives will depend on your store-specific targets.

Plan For Success: In advance of the month, set targets and goals for employees to achieve, i.e. # of combo upsells, # of gift cards sold, etc. At the end of the month, produce a recap that commends those employees who hit their targets. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so be sure to include key performance indicators with every incentive.

Employees that are respected by management and their peers will be engaged and a positive influence on the success of your location. By creating an atmosphere of healthy competition, employees will feel empowered to prosper in their workplace. A motivated staff exudes professionalism and attentiveness to all potential and existing customers.

John Matthews is the founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc., a strategic planning and marketing services firm that specializes in helping businesses grow in the restaurant, convenience and general retail industries.  With more than 20 years of senior-level experience in retail and a speaker at retail-group events throughout the U.S., Matthews has recently written two step-by-step manuals, Local Store Marketing Manual for Retailers and Grand Opening Manual for Retailers, which are available at www.graycatenterprises.com.

 

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