Employee engagement isn't rocket science, but it is challenging, especially when they don't work directly for you. But keeping the retail employees that sell your brand engaged and motivated helps everyone.
Studies have demonstrated time and again that engaged employees result in:
- Higher sales - good for your brand
- Lower turnover - good for your retail partners
- Higher employee satisfaction - good for the employee
The main pillars of employee engagement are the same no matter what store or experience level, so let's take off!
3. Training vs Storytelling
For brands, training usually takes place in your online portal or on field visits where you have more of an opportunity to do some show and tell. In either case, it normally includes some nuts and bolts of the products you sell: how it works, what promotions are available, and some competitive advantages.
But you may be missing out on the most engaging part of your potential brand's training. About your company, your people, and some of the back story of the product. Giving your retail "feet on the street" an insider's peek is like telling them a secret: now they'll want to tell everyone.
If you've ever met a great salesperson, you know they have a ton of stories to tell. About how the grapes were grown on the side of a mountain and that yellow roses are planted at the end of every vineyard row to keep the bad bugs away. That the machine was designed by the very same guy that invented the Roomba. And so on.
Consider sprinkling your training, whether live or in your retail LMS, with a bunch of stories that your reps can pass on about your product - the juicier the better!
Keeping the field informed about your product and your company is another way to bring them into the fold. As with the training, you're not limited to basic announcements, launches, recalls, or promotions.
Many retail employees have higher aspirations, and they all have lives outside of the store. Don't underestimate the things they may be interested in. Engaging them with information about your community involvement, or the policy changes you're making in the wake of current events such as Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter protests will help them connect to your brand.
With the right kind of platform, you can publish little tidbits to retail employees continuously, bringing them closer to your brand and keeping in the forefront of their minds.
1 - Liftoff! Ask them for feedback!
Real empowerment comes when an employee feels trusted to provide their opinion. Once again, most brands feel like they can create surveys that are bland questions and answers about product feedback. Wouldn't you like more actionable data from the people who are actually talking to your customers? What do you ask when you're doing your in-person trainings? Try asking those questions much more often. Some topics to ask about:
- What do you like best and worst about our product? What about our company?
- What does the person who buys our product look like? What did they need/want it for?
- What are other brands doing to help you be successful? What can we do better?
Just imagine these folks are part of your team. If you treat them as though they already are, they will want to be even more a part of it.
Given the nature of the world today, with social distancing and limited travel, you may wonder how any of this is possible. Consider an all in one employee engagement app that you can leverage across retailers. You'll have much more flexibility in creating and deploying micro-content that can really engage your retail channel employees and turn them into brand advocates!
For more tips on how you can engage retail employees, read our eBook on how to inspire and leverage them to help build your brand.
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