Keeping your field teams invested is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your brand. After all, your reps on the ground do spend the most time interacting with buyers and retailers.
Building a lasting relationship with these employees and ensuring they feel connected to their company can raise morale and retention rates, increase customer satisfaction, and even boost overall company sales.
That’s why investing in your field teams can be the key to a successful retail strategy.
Common Reasons for Lack of Investment
There are several reasons why a field rep may feel a lack of connection to your brand. No offense, but many reps deal with unclear leadership and direction, which can leave workers feeling overly stressed and hesitant about their ability to complete their jobs correctly.
However, there are several factors to consider when trying to raise employee investment.
One of the most common reasons reps feel apathetic toward their companies is a lack of individuality. Especially with a bigger company, many workers can start to feel like a “cog in the machine,” rather than someone who is being recognized for their individual accomplishments.
As an employer, it can sometimes be difficult to recognize and praise each employee who contributes toward a specific company goal being met, but each employee will remember the time a manager noticed their hard work.
This type of recognition can look like a private congratulations or a public praise in front of other workers, depending on the achievement. However, encouragement should be given to the entire team consistently and authentically. Be direct and honest with feedback, and employees will feel a better sense of connection to their actions.
Another factor to consider is how well you know your employees. What motivates them? What do they care about? Knowing who they are as people and acknowledging their personal interests can really help create a sense of camaraderie among the team and will increase motivation in the workplace. Just as you want them to invest in your business, they need you to invest in them.
Unclear Company Goals and Visions
Another common reason for low team investment is ignorance toward long-term company goals. If workers don’t know why they are doing something and how it will affect anything in the long-term, then they are less likely to invest their time and effort into completing tasks to the best of their ability.
It is up to management to be knowledgeable and confident in company goals and share that information down at the ground level. Field teams function as the executors of company goals and should be aware of the results of their actions.
Let field team employees in on the data resulting from their work; don’t keep them in the dark. Tell them how the company is truly doing, and this shows the workers that you value and respect them enough to keep them informed.
On top of this, not knowing the “why” of the tasks they are being given can lead to less accurate results and goal completion. How can employees be precise if they don’t know what is explicitly expected of them?
No Respect or Confidence from Management
Feeling respected in the workplace can have a huge influence on employee investment. Many workers look to their managers for clear and confident leadership, and when their boss treats them disrespectfully, it can lead to a lack of confidence in their abilities and affect their day-to-day productivity.
Clear and achievable goals, with the addition of a comfortable and inviting work environment, can create a sense of “common ground” between management and employees and lead to a more cohesive workflow within field teams.
To some employees, respect for them and their work is reflected directly in the salary they are paid. If a worker is not being paid fairly for the amount of effort they put in, they are much less likely to view themselves as respected or valued by their employer.
Seeing the direct results of the work they are putting in can create a sense of community within the company that ultimately leads to more investment and productivity from workers.
What Does Team Investment Look Like?
True investment from your reps will look like more than just them liking their jobs. Investment is shown in an employee’s commitment to company values, interest in company success and progression, and genuine belief in the company’s products or services.
Having a clear set of values that are shared company-wide and provided to all new employees and senior employees can create a sense of unity among your workers. Some of these values may look like:
- Respect - Employees should respect the company and its success, respect the products/services the company offers, and respect the customers who buy those goods. In return, the company should respect its employees and their time and effort.
- Honesty - Employees should be honest with the company about their capabilities, and actions. In return, the company should be honest and transparent about its actions and intentions.
- Accountability - Employees should hold themselves accountable for their actions while working, and any actions that may prevent them from completing their responsibilities. In return, the company should be held accountable for providing a safe and welcoming workplace environment for its employees.
Notice how each example of a company value considers both the company and the employee, making them relatable, and therefore easier to uphold. Feeling as though the company will be held to a similar standard can make reps feel more invested in staying true to company values.
Interest in Company Success
As stated previously, even ground-level employees should be made aware of, and included in, long-term company goals. It may seem as though these workers won’t be making as much contact with a goal of say, new company acquisitions, but many employees would still be interested in being made aware.
Knowing about and being a part of long-term objectives can make workers feel more included and connected to the businesses they work for. Even if they don’t play a huge role in reaching the actual goal, being informed can make them more likely to invest in their work, and by extension, their company.
Belief in Products and Services
Something that can really hinder employee investment is a lack of belief in the goods they are meant to be selling to customers. How can they advocate for items they don’t genuinely enjoy? Of course, every company should be selling decent merchandise, but even more so, they should allow their employees to become familiar with their products.
Buyers are likely to respond better to a one-on-one personal recommendation. So, someone in the field promoting products genuinely and being cheerful is some of the best marketing a company can get.
Why Does Team Investment Matter?
Now sure, it would be nicer if your employees were already invested in your brand’s success, but why does any of this really matter?
Well, there are several benefits to your field reps investing more in the company.
Keeping your employees invested can keep them working for the company longer and reduce turnover rates. This is cheaper for your business in the long run than hiring new employees.
Employing the same people for a longer period can also create a sense of security for your reps, making them feel more invested, while also showing other potential hires that you are an employer that cares for and invests in its employees.
Employee investment and engagement is an integral part of a successful retail strategy.
Happy Employees Equals Happy Customers
A happy employee means cheerfulness and excitement while working. Sometimes employees can feel jaded and upset toward their companies or their management and this shows while they are working in the field. Customers could be met with hostility or rudeness because an employee does not feel invested in the business and, therefore, doesn’t care if that business is successful.
By keeping your employee satisfied and invested by doing things like knowing them personally, keeping them informed, and respecting their work, you can improve overall field team performance.
Invested employees are less likely to miss work or quit their jobs, and more likely to perform well. The benefits are compounding—happy employee leads to happy customer leads to a more successful business.
Employee investment and engagement is an integral part of a successful retail strategy and will lead to a workplace filled with passionate, confident, and creative workers, all the way from the top of the company to the field teams on the ground.