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How to motivate your retail staff

Recent CV-Library research has revealed that 84% of retail workers have hit a career ‘slump’, where they felt their work was no longer fulfilling.

From the findings, it’s clear that action needs to be taken by employers in this industry to ensure that these feelings don’t affect the wider company. Below we will discuss the reasons for demotivation and provide practical advice on how employers can overcome this.

Pay fairly

Pay might not be the most important motivator for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. In fact, almost half (48.3%) of retail workers said they weren’t happy in their current job because they weren’t paid enough. Employees who are underpaid can start to feel worthless, undervalued and unimportant. As an employer, you need to avoid this from happening at your workplace at all costs.

A good tip is to look up the average wages for roles in your industry. If the information is limited on the internet, it’s helpful to look up similar job adverts and find out the average advertised salary. Especially when it comes to your competitors. This will help you get a better idea of what you should be offering your employees.

Provide opportunities for progression

It’s understandable that employees want progression opportunities – it means that there’s a chance to grow in the company and expand their skills. Therefore, it makes sense that almost a third (28.6%) of retail staff said they weren’t happy in their jobs because they couldn’t see any signs of progression.

Wherever possible it’s important to provide opportunities for promotions as it shows that you endorse a rewarding culture. Employees will therefore be more likely to work hard as they can see that hard work is recognised in your company. To do this, consider internal hiring for management positions to give employees a boost and provide you with better suited candidates.

Create a great company culture

Having a great company culture means you offer a workplace where employees feel valued, happy and supported. It’s clear that this is a problem in the retail industry as over a third (37.9%) of employees said that they felt the company culture was poor in their current workplace. As an employer, it’s time to take action on this and think of the ways you can make improvements.

One key way of promoting a great company culture is to provide opportunities for your workers to get to know each other. Put on company drinks, pay for a team outing or order in treats for lunch. Doing this will help create a positive atmosphere and will result in your employees respecting you more. Also, make sure that you join in and build relationships with employees as this will help them gain trust in you want to work harder as a result.

Provide support

Those who feel supported should usually be more motivated, optimistic and keen to succeed. The majority (77.6%) of retail workers think speaking to a manager is a good solution for those who are unhappy at work. So make sure you have regular one-to-one catch ups with employees to address any issues they have early on before they become a bigger problem.

This can help you discuss your employee’s progress and find out about any areas they’re struggling with. By doing this, employees will see that you care about them and they’ll feel motivated having received encouragement from you.

In summary

It’s essential that you listen to your employees needs, to help them feel more motivated at your company. Wherever possible you should aim to reward employees with promotions and company events. After all, putting the time, effort and resources into your workers will have many positive effects on your company in return.


Lee Biggins is the founder and managing director of CV-Library, one of the UK’s leading job boards. The multi-award winning platform attracts over 4.3 million unique site visitors every month, making a total of 3 million job applications.

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