Working in a garden centre, as in any other retail service, has its share of ups and downs.
In a 2017 report entitled UK Employee Pulse, it was revealed that employees in the retail sector are some of the least engaged workers in the country.
Keeping staff engaged is one of the most effective ways to ensure that they are productive and happy at work. This is a win-win for them and the business.
Here are some tips for improving employee engagement in the garden centre setting.
Encourage physical fitness
Horticultural work can be demanding.
A typical day at a garden centre often involves activities such as transporting large packs of soil for customers. To avoid injury, employees need to keep themselves fit.
It is important for management to help team members maintain or improve their physical fitness levels. It ensures that they can perform such physical tasks without injury.
One way to do this is to incorporate 10-15-minute exercise breaks before and after the work day. You could also encourage employees to take short walks during breaks.
Vary employee assignments and routines
Many employees are keen to learn new skills. The UK Employee Pulse report indicates that “trying out things that interest you in your role” has a greater effect on engagement.
Rotating staff to different departments is one method giving them the opportunity to try different tasks. You could even switch everyone’s aisle assignments each week.
Help staff understand customers better
Providing great customer service is one of the best ways to ensure that shoppers come back.
Team members may appreciate market insights on the people who visit the garden centre.
Management could share relevant research and other trends with the staff. It would help them better expect what customers need.
Those working on the tills can ask customers if they managed to find everything they were looking for. It would establish whether customer needs are being met.
Keep the environment positive and collaborative
Managers and supervisors can empower staff by sharing their ideas. It promotes a work culture where employee suggestions are discussed and implemented.
A weekly 10-minute stand-up meeting, where the team share their thoughts about how things are at the garden centre is a good way to start.
Be supportive of work–life balance
There is a positive link between staff engagement and their organisation’s support of work-life balance.
Encourage work-life balance by letting employees create their own boundaries. Then supporting those boundaries.
It is important for managers to get to know what the boundaries are for each team member. You should find ways to make it work for both parties.
For instance, some employees may prefer to work more hours on certain days to free up hours later in the week.
The manager and the employee would need to agree on a consistent schedule. Both parties know what to expect.
Employee engagement initiatives can come in many forms. They can be physical, psychological, or social. Try to incorporate a variety of methods into your initiatives – this will keep you engaged too!