There are a lot of visible, structural things you can do to put people first in your retail business, or any kind of operation or organization.
Recognition programs can be very helpful. For example, bestowing awards or plaques for anniversaries, such as one, five, or ten years with the company. Celebrating birthdays. Throwing Christmas parties. And of course, giving employees financial bonuses. Everyone likes cash, especially if it is tied to financial performance. This means you get a bonus—money—if you achieve and/ or exceed sales and profit goals.
The UGG Australia store had a wonderful employee-recognition program. Each month, an individual employee would be selected as employee-of-the-month. But the way the employee-of-the-month was selected was really wonderful: any employee at any time could drop a small anonymous slip into a box saying something positive about any other employee—like, “Sarah always makes a special effort to entertain kids who come shopping with their moms.”
Then, at the end of the month, the manager would select the best message, and post it and a photo of that month’s employee on a bulletin board. It reinforced a sense of positive community on so many levels; and of course, that positive karma was extended to the customers.
This is a short excerpt from my book The Five Laws of Retail.