Getting store managers engaged with people data

Retail Store Managers are often time poor and are used to looking at turnover and KPI’s - but how can we get them bought in to people data in a meaningful way? Any creative suggestions/tips welcome!

I would suggest asking a different question: How do we get retail organizations invested in people data, especially employee experience. Retail environments tend to be highly transactional with retail employees focused on getting enough hours to maintain a reasonable living and not have to work multiple jobs (none of which will provide benefits to part-time workers). Organizations, on the other hand, are focused on cutting costs (especially through hours) and increasing sales through motivated salespeople. The end result is store managers, the lest powerful managers in the system, are asked to marry these two competing forces (often without ever openly acknowledging the conflict).

Most managers are good people who want to make both employees and leadership happy. However, If managers can’t give employees what they most want and need to focus their efforts on that job, managers will be fundamentally demotivated from looking at metrics that are a direct response to the limited, transactional nature of retail work.

To solve this problem companies need to spread responsibility for engagement numbers throughout the organization. Regional manager need to also be held responsible for the employee metrics. KPIs need to include engagement (possibly limiting rewards for achieving other KPIs at the cost of a drop in employee engagement). While it is generally best to avoid transactional motivations for empathy and concern for employees, in a hyper transactional situation there are few other options.

In addition, managers need training on how to redefine their role from satisfying everyone to helping employees manage the difficulties and frustrations of not having stable employment. Providing leadership training focused on how you align people with goals in environments of scarce resources would be ideal. However, orgs would be well advised to remember that these methods will only only reduce the impact of the the transactional employment relationship, not eliminate it.

Michael Crooks talks a bit about how Gucci did this and modernized its customer insights on this podcast. The tactics may pertain to luxury brands, but there may be some interesting insights.

@JasonH -

Great question and I hear it all the time (from all types of industries). We are all aware at how time poor our managers are. They have their day to day, so how do we get them excited and empower them to look at and act upon people data?!

My biggest piece of advice is to change the narrative and create a storyline around the information we are presenting. Instead of sharing out raw numbers, talk about how this data impacts them. What does it mean? How does it change my business? What does it impact in my day today? What are the biggest challenges that I face and how can this people data impact that?

Being in the people space, we naturally get excited by the data and the numbers, but we have to keep our audience in mind.

For example, instead of simply saying that ‘Engagement is at 50%,’ change the narrative so that it is important to that leader --> ‘Half of our employees are actively looking for work elsewhere, making it difficult to continue training the next generation of leaders at our company.’ A simple shift in how we talk about data can have a profound impact on the audience.

Keep us updated on what you end up doing! Would love to hear how you engaged this group of managers! :slight_smile:

I have found success with flipping the narrative around. Instead of starting conversations about people data in a vacuum, start with conversations about the vision the store manager has for their team and the team’s KPI’s. Emphasize that people data is not extra work on top of their real work, it’s part and parcel of getting the real work done.

Recognize that KPI’s and turnover are lagging indicators. Your KPI’s and turnover from this quarter are as a result of how engaged your people were last quarter. If you want to make next quarter better, focus on how to drive pride, motivation, and commitment from your people today.

Focus on team discussions before jumping into people data. To drive engagement, start with engaging your team in ideating, collaborating, and taking action. Ask your team: What are the biggest challenges facing us right now? What’s our vision for success next quarter? Then, in light of the answers to those questions, look at how your people data connects to accomplishing those goals.