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10 Retail Team-Building Activities That Reduce Employee Turnover and Theft

Posted by Pekin Insurance on Jun 06, 2016

These simple and fun retail team-building activities will improve employee morale and encourage your staff to work together because they want to, not because they have to.

In the words of Mary Kay Ash, "If you honor and serve the people who work for you, they will honor and serve you."
The retail industry is infamous for employee turnover and theft. This is no big secret to anyone working in retail management. Employees call in sick, don't show up, work with you for four months, and move on to another job. Or, even worse—you catch them stealing. The right retail team-building activities can play a part in stopping the flow of personnel (and cash) that walks out of your front door. 
Let's begin with a moment of truth about working in retail; team-building activities won't resolve problems provoked by bad working conditions. It is your job as a supervisor to create an environment that encourages teamwork, employee development, trust, and mutual respect. Here's how you can do it:

1. Meeting moments 

Start your staff meetings with an ice breaker. This doesn't need to be lengthy, but it does give your team a chance to learn something about each other. Ask your staff to start by telling each other what book they are currently reading, their favorite food, or the last concert they attended. 

2. Employee of the month

Stop right there! Naming your favorite staff member as the employee of the month doesn't count. Let staff nominate each other. It just looks like picking favorites if management chooses a winner. When employees nominate other employees, it is a valid recognition of someone's work ethic, teamwork, and leadership capabilities. 

3. Rest and relaxation

Spend the day at an amusement park, go to a baseball game, or tour a local brewery. Changing the scenery with a fun activity gives your team and you a chance to bond and strengthens working relationships.

This can be tricky, though. Small retail shops have the luxury of autonomy. Choose a traditionally slow day to close so everyone can join in the fun. Larger, corporate retail companies may need to hold two or three retreats so all staff members have an opportunity to attend. 

4. Cool competition

Hold sales competitions and reward the top three winners with gift certificates to a local restaurant or a monetary gift card. Have some fun with a Halloween costume contest and let customers vote on the winner. Hand out tokens for perfect attendance that can be traded in for a day off. The options are nearly unlimited. 

5. Mentor team-up

Assign an experienced and high-performing salesperson to work with new or struggling team members for a portion of every shift. This takes some of the performance pressure off the new employees and offers experienced employees an opportunity to share their expertise.

6. Quote collective

Share daily motivational quotes and ask your team to contribute their favorites. A few quotes won't alter your turnover rate, but in conjunction with other positive workplace factors, they can help set the tone. A positive environment can work wonders for staff morale and positive customer experiences, too. 

7. Spies like us

Send your team on a spy mission to other retail locations. Ask them to report back with detailed notes about their experience. How was the customer service? Was the space clean and efficient? Was the staff knowledgeable? 

This can be both a fun "mission" and also a good learning experience for your team to discover where others perform well and how they could improve. 

8. Promotion motion

Your team will feel more appreciated and recognized if they have at least some input into promotions. You don't always need to heed the suggestions, but they are certainly worth considering. When your team has a voice in these decisions, they have an incentive to stay engaged and connected. 

9. Learn, learn, learn

Retail team-building activities don't need to be limited to your specific retail environment. Ask your vendors for opportunities to learn more about their products. Invite the local Red Cross in for CPR training. Create a lending library of retail sales books (anything from Seth Godin to Henry Ford will work). 

10. Don't negate; compensate 

Depending on the organizational structure of your company, you may or may not have a hand in compensation. If you do, don't ignore the power of proper compensation. Wages are clearly one way to encourage employee retention. Employees who are paid fairly are also less likely to engage in theft. 

If you are not in a position to influence wages, however, there are other ways to compensate employees for their contributions, even within the confines of a highly regulated retail store. Make sure everyone gets to take their breaks. Offer to fill-in for an employee that is having a rough day and might need to take a 10 minute walk. Bring in a bag of fresh peaches or strawberries for your team to share for a sweet treat.

Retail team-building activities have a reputation for placing too much focus on making employees work harder and more efficiently for the benefit of the company. Turn that around. Focus on making the job work for the benefit of your employees and everyone wins.  

Happy employees create happy customers. 

One way you can stand out in the retail world is by offering your staff insurance. Employees who are taken care of are more likely to take care of your business in return. Take care of all your business insurance and employee health benefits needs in one place with Pekin Insurance.

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Let us know in the comments what you would add to this list.


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