Tom Debenham
People Insight

Member Article

Retail employees must be engaged

Tom Debenham, managing director of People Insight, shares his thoughts on a survey from his firm that shows retail employees have some of the lowest morale, poorest development and worst management in Britain.

Although economic conditions are precarious, the lack of leadership and motivation in stores up and down the country could also have a crippling effect on the High Street.

More than 23,000 responses from retailers were collected in a survey conducted in 2012.

Bosses had to act quickly to turn the tide for fear more names could be added to the list of scalps, which recently included HMV, Jessops, Blockbuster.

It’s been tough on the High Street for some time but it’s going to get even tougher unless managers start tackling some of the failings that are cropping up time and time again.

In times of austerity where many firms are looking to tighten belts rather than open the chequebook it’s important that managers realise the positive impact of engagement – seeing their workforce as individuals and encouraging personal development.

Great customer service is the key to the success of many businesses and if your staff aren’t happy then that radiates throughout the store.

The research made painful reading.

Six out of 10 people weren’t consulted about decisions that directly affected them, while seven out of 10 had no coaching or development.

More than half (54 per cent) didn’t find their work challenging – a massive 26 per cent down on other industries’ average – and, worryingly, just over a third (35 per cent) of staff didn’t care about the future of the company they worked for.

The Government is so concerned by the lack of engagement in Britain’s workforce that it launched a new taskforce, Engage For Success, last year.

The group is calling for every leader and manager across the economy to play their part in tackling the UK’s employee engagement deficit, which is estimated to be costing the country £26billion in productivity each year.

The figures we have collated from the retail industry are among the worst we have seen since we started the business back in 1999.

From the responses we had it is clear that retail is facing a fight on all fronts, both from inside the stores as well as outside.

Britain lags behind the rest of the G7 when it comes to engagement – 20 million workers are not delivering their full capability, 64 per cent said they had more to offer and UK productivity was 20 per cent lower than the rest of the G7 countries.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by People Insight .

Enjoy the read? Get Bdaily delivered.

Sign up to receive our popular morning National email for free.

* Occasional offers & updates from selected Bdaily partners

Our Partners

Top Ten Most Read