Store managers are the backbone of your business. The right store manager can make a store a huge success, while the wrong manager can break a brand. This is why it’s critical for head office to put a culture and systems in place to support store managers and help them achieve success.
Remember, store managers have a lot to do:
- recruiting, training, supervising and appraising staff
- maintaining statistical and financial records
- dealing with customer queries and complaints
- overseeing pricing and stock control
- maximizing profitability and setting sales goals
- motivating staff and more
It’s important for head office to recognize how it can better support store managers to carry out these responsibilities so you have stronger performing stores. Here are 3 tips to help you better support store managers.
1. Encourage a team-oriented Culture
To better support store managers, create an organizational culture that is team-oriented. The reason for this is simple – when working together as a team, retailers achieve greater success.
The reasons for this include:
- Teamwork can improve just about every aspect of performance, including customer service, inventory management, merchandising and marketing, and even strategic store decisions.
- Teamwork helps to raise levels of morale, efficiency, creativity, and the quality of overall work performance. This is thanks to the earned trust among employees that they have each others’ backs should they need guidance, have questions or simply want to gain reassurance in their efforts.
- Teamwork helps to produce more motivated employees which in turn creates stronger day-to-day efforts and leads to greater success – including stronger profits – for retailers.
HOw to Create a team-Oriented Culture
Lead by example: Head office and upper management should lead by example to help fuel a team-oriented culture throughout the organization. Show that you value collaboration, input, diversity, and open communication.
When store managers lead by example and encourage a team-oriented environment, they will eventually feel their team supporting them. This results in easing their management responsibilities and helping to create a stronger performing store with a more enjoyable work environment.
Hire carefully: The Rockefeller Foundation reports the number one consideration for employers to think about when interviewing potential employees is whether or not they fit within their company culture. Remember, every employee impacts the team-effort environment!
In a recent article, Compliant IA explains, “work culture plays an important role in performance. While there are many strategies you could implement to improve the work of your team, understand that boosting your associates’ output starts with having the right team culture.”
2. Lead with communication
With technology readily available, communication between head office and stores as well as store managers and employees is easier than ever. Equip your store managers and teams with trackable, two-way communication so they can stay in touch or monitor performances.
Combine technology with traditional communication strategies so store associates and management alike can have an open, ongoing dialogue that delivers clarity to all store issues happening at any given time.
From technology to face-to-face team meetings, below are a variety of ways in which management and store staff can stay connected while also helping to streamline store operations and communication:
- POS systems
- Inventory management systems
- Customer management tools
- Employee management platforms
- Task management tools
- Retail analytics solutions
- Communication tools
- Team meetings
- Peer-to-peer reviews
- Social events
- Team building events
- An open-door policy
With countless avenues to communicate among management and employees, a store manager should feel supported knowing that there are no excuses for a lack of communication.
Employees can feel the same when management encourages an open-door policy. A bonus result – management will gain some ease in knowing they are in the know concerning what is going on within their store.
Use tools to help manage underperformers
Just like there is slow-moving inventory or strong-selling items, there will be under-performing staff and over-achieving employees. Sometimes underperforming employees do not understand what is expected of them. Additionally, store associates are busy and without a roadmap to help direct the store operations process, details often get unintentionally overlooked. A checklist can put their to-do-list front and center and encourage them to get their efforts into gear.
Managers gain confidence and alleviate their own stress by introducing store inspections with dynamic checklists into their management tools. Checklists alleviate their employees’ stress as well because it’s always clear what they need to accomplish. Collectively, this is a winning scenario for management and employees alike. To learn more about how retail checklists may benefit your store, click here.
Retail store managers excel when their management supports them in all aspects of their role. From inventory knowledge to customer service expectations to store operational procedures and more, no detail should be ignored. Empowering store managers to have confidence in their store efforts then delivers a domino effect that benefits head office as well.
About the author:
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is the Founder of RetailMinded and the author of Retail 101. She is a frequent contributor to The Today Show, Forbes and is the Spokesperson for American Express’s Small Business Saturday. Reyhle is recognized as a Top 10 retail thought leader from Vend and a retail “futurist” for IBM. Reyhle is also the Co-Founder of the Independent Retailer Conference.