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The employee experience in the retail sector: key to business success

The retail sector, retail or retail sector, is made up of all those companies that are responsible for the direct sale of goods or the provision of services to the final consumer.

Among them we can find a large number of businesses that range from traditional style stores to e-commerce.

When it comes to clothing, furniture, food, electronics, etc. stores, it is always said that "The customer comes first". In fact, it is common for these types of businesses to base their commercial strategy on providing the best possible service to their clientele. However, things are changing.

In no case is the customer being neglected, but companies are beginning to be aware that there are other subjects who are especially important to take care of: employees.

Because the Staff members are the customer's direct point of contact with the brand. So, if we want the consumer experience to be as satisfactory as possible, we must first ensure that the employees are happy and that their work is also satisfactory for them. Thus, the employee experience in the retail sector becomes a fundamental factor for the success of companies that operate in it.

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Employee well-being as a tool for competitive advantage

The retail sector has been in constant growth in recent years. In 2022, The turnover of this segment at the European level totaled 2.3 billion euros. A figure 6.5% higher than that registered in 2021.

With consumers willing to spend more, the number of entrepreneurs willing to enter this sector is also growing. Due, The competition is increasing.

Typically, companies in the retail sector have competed with each other through prices and quality. Trying to offer products or services of the highest quality possible and at the most reasonable price.

But, as the number of businesses dedicated to offering a certain product or service has multiplied, this is no longer enough. Because Today's customer is looking for something more than quality and good prices. You want to feel valued, and that shopping experience is something positive for him.

Now, the companies that stand out are those that manage to offer a impeccable customer service. Giving this one everything it needs both during and after the purchase.

And it turns out that this is only possible if the person providing that service is a person who, in turn, is satisfied with the work they are doing.

Therefore, if an organization that operates in the retail sector wants to offer the best possible customer service, You first have to make sure that you have satisfied employees who are happy with their work.. If you achieve this, you can gain a competitive advantage that will be very difficult for the competition to imitate.

In this way, both small businesses and large companies operating in the retail sector are taking measures to build a culture of high trust and improve the Employee Effort Score (EES).

What does the culture of high trust in the retail sector consist of?

It refers to the creation of an organizational environment in which there is a high level of trust displayed in a vertical line. Including leaders, employees and customers.

When the relationships between these three agents are solid, honest, and based on transparent communication, a trust arises that ends up leading to greater loyalty. Both from employees towards the company and from customers towards the brand.

It is a culture that advocates Do business in an ethical manner. The company fosters an environment in which each individual is valued regardless of the role they have within the organization, thus generating a feeling of equality and belonging that strengthens the ties between staff members. 

This empowers employees and reinforces their self-confidence, something that translates directly to the way they work and in a much more dedicated and personalized customer service. Provoking, as a consequence, the clientele to feel better treated and making that brand one of their favorites.

As with all types of organizational cultures, this must also be worked on day by day and has to evolve over time, in order to adapt to the changes that occur at a social level, in the market, and in the ways of working.

Employee Effort Score: a key indicator

There are many measures that organizations can put in place to improve the experience of their employees. But in any case, they should make sure to measure the results to know if they are doing it right. To do this, they have the Employee Effort Score or EES.

An indicator that measures the effort that employees have to make to perform tasks that have been entrusted to them and meet the objectives established for them within the organization.

What differentiates it from other metrics is that focuses on job satisfaction or employee happiness. Because it measures how much effort people perceive they have to make to do their job well.

To obtain information, surveys are usually carried out among employees. Asking them, for example, to rate from 1 to 10 the level of effort it takes for them to face each of the tasks in their job.

If the EES score is high, this means that the staff perceives that they make a very significant effort to fulfill their daily obligations. And this can imply dissatisfaction, because the tasks are being perceived as very complex or very tedious to carry out.

Ideally, the EES should be somewhere in the middle. So that daily tasks pose a challenge that stimulates those who have to carry them out, but without becoming heavy and complicated obligations to carry out.

How to improve the employee experience in the retail sector

To be more efficient, organizations operating in the retail sector must promote a culture of high trust and ensure that their EES indicator is at a medium level. To achieve this, they can adopt measures to improve the employee experience such as those we will see below.

Promote a positive work environment

The retail sector has high turnover and absenteeism rates. That is to say, employees do not establish long-term employment relationships with companies and, furthermore, absences from the workplace are frequent. Something that we know has a significant cost for organizations.

In order to avoid this, the first thing to achieve is a positive work environment. An environment in which staff members feel comfortable.

Achieving this goal involves taking measures in different areas. For example, creating collaborative work teams instead of competitive, improving the software to make tasks easier and faster, and even renewing the decoration of the workplace.

Promoting training and professional development

Those who work in the retail sector have the same professional development needs as employees in other sectors. It is precisely the lack of growth possibilities that leads many employees in the retail sector to feel dissatisfied with their work and end up looking for opportunities in other sectors. 

To continue growing and improving, they need receive training that improves your knowledge and skills. As well as having opportunities to develop their professional career within the company to which they already provide their services. 

If they know that the possibility of receiving training and progress is something real for them, they will feel much happier with their work.

Balance personal and professional life

Achieving a balance between work and personal life continues to be complicated in the retail sector. Because Many establishments are open the vast majority of days of the year, from morning to night.

In this sense, it is the responsibility of companies to ensure that their employees have a life beyond work. And they can achieve this by adopting measures as simple as a better organization of work time and establishing flexible schedules. And even, in those positions where it is possible, implementing teleworking options.

Offer attractive benefits and rewards

Nothing encourages productivity as much as the possibility of receiving an extra benefit in exchange for the effort made, and we are not just talking about money, because the non-monetary rewards They also work very well. 

It is about offering compensation as a form of gratitude. This makes staff members They feel much more valued and are more satisfied with both their work and the company. 

It is clear that the importance of employee satisfaction in the retail sector cannot be underestimated, because it has a direct impact on the overall customer experience, as well as other aspects of the business such as staff turnover rates. Therefore, any measure aimed at improving this satisfaction will always be welcome and will have a very positive impact on both the staff and the organization.

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