An American Management Association study has demonstrated that employees will feel better about their jobs, and even better in their personal lives, when their own values are in line with those of their company. The bottom line, from a management perspective, is that a common vision shared by employees will affect the way people interact with one another. This is especially true of independent businesses, including independent retailers.
“An organization that can create an energized, higher-calling environment will have higher retention and greater productivity,” says Gregory P. Smith, author of Here Today, Here Tomorrow: Transforming Your Workforce from High-Turnover to High-Retention.
A shared vision ensures connection to a larger purpose, and to one another. That larger purpose, in turn, leads to stronger employee loyalty, which leads to benefits for the company. Granted, some companies have an easier time linking to a “higher calling” and building that loyalty. Nevertheless, it’s important to focus on building your company’s higher purpose. For example, if you’re selling toys, a natural connection would be to stress the enjoyment and fulfillment your products will bring to children; if you’re selling plus-size women’s clothing, think of the self-confidence boost your items will be bringing to those who wear them. It may not always be easy to make such a connection, but it’s important to try.
Once you’ve done so, share that connection with your employees. You can do this by posting your company values in places like your employee manual, brochures, vacancy notices, your website and your company intranet. Other methods of decreasing turnover and increasing loyalty include:
- Providing positive feedback, including rewards and recognition when deserved.
- Offering career counseling. Assisting your employees in their careers will encourage them to include your company as part of them.
- Communicating clearly, and often. Let your employees in on what’s going on, and seek input on important decisions.
- Utilizing exit interviews with departing employees, to help understand why they’re leaving.
- Making the work environment family-friendly, including being flexible with schedules.
- Investing in employee training. This is an investment in your workforce, which in turn encourages them to invest in your company.
- Raising the bar. If you expect greatness from your employees, they’ll be motivated to achieve it.