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Unique Ways to Motivate Retail Employees

Posted by Christie Acker on Oct 5, 2015 7:00:00 AM

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Motivate Your Retail Employees With These Fun Tactics

“Employee of the month” initiatives and cash prizes are common methods that employers use to spur employee motivation, but this is hardly the only way to inspire hard work. In an industry where employee engagement is already below average it’s vital that you create an environment that makes staff members want to work hard.

Keep reading to learn more about unique programs that companies can use to motivate their retail employees. You just might find a new idea that will work splendidly for your particular retail setting.

Publicly acknowledge achievements

No, this doesn’t mean relying on the age old “Employee of the Month” scheme. Public appreciation can be a huge motivator, but try to put a unique spin on it. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Handwritten notes — even a post-it note stuck on a computer monitor can be a nice surprise, especially if it’s sincere and specific.

  • Verbally praise employees, whether in private or in a group setting. Again, specificity is key.

  • Hold short weekly meetings to “honor” a new employee each week. You can even open up a system where staff members can nominate their coworkers. Recognition from peers who understand their daily struggles can be far more motivating than recognition from “outsiders”.

  • At the end of each week have a pow-wow or other informal meeting where employees share their highs and lows. Aim to keep it lighthearted, and try to put a greater emphasis on the highs versus the lows.

However, remember that every employee is motivated differently and some staff members may feel embarrassed by public recognition. As a manager it’s up to you to get to know your employees to assess what drives them to succeed.

Motivate retail workers with games

Games are an often overlooked way of motivating employees, but they can be hugely successful. To start things off, try this game called “Passing the Buck.” It’s perfect for a retail sales setting and playing is easy. 

Choose a random day and give the first employee to make a sale a $10, $20, or $50 bill. The next person who makes a higher value sale then gets “passed the buck.” Each time someone makes a larger sale, they get the bill. At the end of the day the employee with the highest sale takes home the cash

If your employees aren’t too keen on playing games that tie into their performance at work you can still motivate them with the promise of fun and relaxation. Ping pong tables, bean bags, chair massagers, and more can all promote hard work.

Money isn’t the only motivator

Some companies try to incentivize performance with cash prizes, which can be useful for certain personality types. If you want to use other motivational tools, though, consider looking beyond financial benefits. For example, quality of life is extremely important to many employees, a fact that Crate & Barrel store managers in Houston, Texas realized. They implemented a program for store associates that involved a “surprise hour off.” Every week, each manager would choose a hard working sales associate to treat with one hour off of work. The manager would take over their shift during that time and the employee would return motivated to work harder.

Programs like this one also have the added benefit of being extremely affordable, a factor that many stores will appreciate.


Topics: Retail

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Envysion is a leading provider of cloud-based video driven business intelligence that helps companies deliver on their brand promise. At Envysion, we marry operational, financial and employee metrics together with video and sophisticated analytics and make it easy-to-use and accessible, offering visibility into every store…every location…every day…from anywhere.

Christie Acker

Christie Acker

Director, Enterprise Sales, Envysion

Christie is responsible for helping Envysion’s enterprise clients in the retail and restaurant spaces understand the best ways to use video-based business intelligence to deliver on their brand promise and drive profitability.

With over 15 years experience in building and supporting world-class sales organizations, Christie is an accomplished and tenured leader in the enterprise software sales market.  An avid traveler, she has visited over 60 countries and uses her diverse experiences to help understand clients' needs to design and implement solutions to help achieve their goals.

Christie holds a Bachelors degree in Economics from Vanderbilt University.

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