What can Motivate Retail Staff in Retail 4.0?

What can Motivate Retail Staff in Retail 4.0?

How To Create a Company Culture That Illustrates Your Core Values

Global shoe brand, Adidas, has been a leader in developing holistic phygital customer experiences. Through 32 3-D rendering touchpoints at its physical stores, the company has been offering superior immersive shopping experiences. The storefronts offer individualized concierge services, hype walls, RFID mirror-fitted rooms, hanging chandeliers, and more. Every touchpoint is a form of enablement for the customer to move ahead in the decision-making process.  

Welcome to the world of phygital, Retail 4.0. This is a new-age world where the best of both worlds – digital and physical – come together to create seamless omnichannel experiences for the customer. The personal interactions of the physical environment are combined with the convenience of the digital world to ensure customers have rich and immersive experiences. 

Customers, however, are one part of the story. The other part, and the one that is integral to the success of your brand, is your retail staff. These employees are the face of your brand at the retail storefront. Therefore, the experiences of your esteemed customers eventually depend a lot on how your frontline staff treats them during the entire duration for which the customer is at the physical store.  

That is why, it is crucial to keep your staff happy; your internal stakeholders need to perform their best, which is why they need to be motivated optimally.  

Keeping Retail Staff Motivated in Retail 4.0  

Incentivizing your frontline staff is the best way to keep them motivated. But, traditional incentive plans can no longer work or produce desired results in Retail 4.0.  Why? Because traditional incentives have ‘sales’ as the critical target. In other words, the number of sales is directly proportional to the kind of incentives the staff receives in the traditional model.  

In Retail 4.0, it won’t work simply because customers can buy across omnichannel. Sales might not necessarily happen in the storefront. It means that if more customers buy online, the sales volumes of retail outlets will decrease, and so will the incentives for the salespeople.  This model has several shortcomings.   

  1. It does not consider the kind of experience the customer was provided when they visited the physical store. Suppose your frontline people are going out of their way to enhance the buying experiences of the customer by providing information and helping them make informed choices. In that case, you will have no way to incentivize the staff for their efforts under the traditional incentive program. 
  2. Staying ‘sales-centric only’ can hamper the work culture in the storefront. In addition, it can demotivate employees and may contribute to attrition. Attrition, in itself, is a big reason for worry because of the costs involved in hiring new employees, training them, and providing them with the resources to sell better. 

The new-age world of Retail 4.0 demands that your incentive program is re-invented. It needs to consider not just the end results but the efforts, initiatives, and loyalty of the employees. Using specific tactics, the modernized incentive program can be redesigned.   

Here is some food for thought.  

Incentivize your people for:  

  1. Tenure: Motivate people to be a part of your organization. Celebrate the milestones of individual employees so that they can inspire others to stay loyal to the company.  
  2. Upskilling: Offer training and skill development opportunities to your employees to empower them to handle customers better, for now, and later.  
  3. Team Incentives: Rewarding the entire team for non-sales achievements or based on merits can strengthen the team spirit and make your retail employees extra collaborative on the ground. 
  4. Value-add-on: Reward your frontline employees for their efforts in helping customers at the store with their queries and needs. As well as reward them for convincing customers to adopt integrated behaviors.  
  5. Career: Offer your employees the opportunity to grow vertically and laterally in the organization. This will motivate your current team and create a strong brand value in the job market for your organization. 
  6. Company Values: Incentivize people for respecting and enforcing the company values in their day-to-day work. Doing this will inspire others to stick to the values as well. 
  7. Gamification: With the help of digital technology, you can make your incentive program fun and extra engaging. This will drive momentum at the storefront with levels, badges, leaderboards, etc. 
  1. Negative Incentives: This kind of incentive can be introduced to eliminate certain negative behaviors or support certain positive behaviors. 

Download the complete guide here to read all the details of how to keep your retail employees motivated in Retail 4.0. 

Business values can heavily influence your brand identity and how outsiders view your company. It is therefore imperative that a company has very firm values and the same is embodied in all aspects of their business.  

Let’s begin with a quick recap of what we know about values. Values are individual belief systems that motivate people to act one way or another. They serve as a guide for human behaviour. Generally, people are predisposed to adopt the values that they are raised with. Ethical decision-making often involves weighing values against each other and choosing which values to elevate. Conflicts can result when people have different values, leading to a clash of preferences and priorities. Some values have intrinsic worth, such as love, truth, and freedom. Other values, such as ambition, responsibility, and courage, describe traits or behaviours that are instrumental as a means to an end.  

As an individual, values essentially serve as a guide to growth and development. They help us create the future we want to experience. Much like individuals, organizations also need values directed towards a specific purpose, be it growth, development or business success. These cannot be attained in the absence of a strong value-based organizational culture that embodies it’s core values. 

Strong value-based work culture is a precursor to business success 

Organisations are involved in making hundreds of decisions every day. The decisions they make are a reflection of their values and beliefs, and they are always directed towards a specific purpose. That purpose is the satisfaction of organizational needs. Organizational values reflect how your organization operates in the business world. Successful organizations develop and follow their organizational values. 

For instance – Walt Disney; it is not just among the most recognizable brands in the world, they also are the kindest community on the planet. A brand which is almost synonymous with magic, Disney extends the magical experience even to its employees as a part of the company’s culture. (quoted from surveysparrow blog-7 Fabulous Organizational Culture Examples You Can Learn From!) 

What Sets Them Apart: Unparalleled heritage, pride and culture, wonderful community, amazing growth opportunity, and a creative atmosphere sets them apart, says a Disney employee.  Disney only hires people who align with what their brand stands for. The organizational benefits of being a Disney employee include access to Mickey’s Retreat (an exclusive area accessible only to Cast Members and their families), generous discounts on Disney parks, hotels and merchandise, incentive schemes and private healthcare. Takeaway:  Disney strives to make every place the happiest place to work and is compassionate towards each other. People can tell when their company cares for them and in Disney’s case, employees care back! 

It was Peter Drucker who famously said that Culture eats strategy for breakfast’. No kidding. A work culture can absolutely be the deal-breaker or decisive factor when it comes to defining a company’s success. Great company culture just doesn’t happen on its own. It’s more than mere fun and games. It’s beyond the inspirational quotes and artwork chalked onto the pillar, glowing customer recommendations lining the walls, and bean bags littered across the floor. All that is nice and makes life more pleasant, but it does not change the core of who you are as a company. Great organizational work culture is more than paychecks, fun, and perks. 


Company culture is a difficult concept to put into words but it is synonymous with your business environment. Good company culture takes years to develop, but there are some steps that you can take today to get this plan in motion: 


1. Pin Down your core values:

Alright! First things first, you need strong core values to set up the base for your company’s culture. Your core values need to be established and ingrained in your company if you are to have a successful company culture. If your core values are not defined, there will be no culture. In the absence of a defined culture, organizations usually form their own culture, which is not based on values and best practices. This can be detrimental to the business image in the long run.

“When I began my startup, I did not have any set values. Personally yes, I had a set of values I operated upon, but however, it didn’t seem necessary to establish company values at such an early stage. Eventually, my business grew and so did my team. I now started seeing the challenge of encouraging the team to make decisions, based on the values I personally embody as guidelines. This became an even bigger challenge with employees who operated remotely. I finally realized the importance of having set company values. However, I kept putting it off since I didn’t know where to begin. But once I sat to actually pen down Moneyjar’s values, it didn’t take more than 15 mins” – Rohan Agarwal (Co-Founder Moneyjar) 

 To create your business values, think about your personal values, business objectives and align them to match it with your workforce potential. See which value-based decisions have kept you on your growth track and which have helped your employees perform better. Keep the ones that serve your indicators of success and match the goals you have chalked out for your business. A quick search on google with also reveals a great set of values you can imbibe.  Go ahead if that suits you, however, remember your values must be tailor-made and should not be more than 3-4 in number. 

Identify behaviours that demonstrate these values:

Once you have nailed down your core values, you must bring it into action. Sometimes organizations may be operating under unspoken core values, communicate them formally to the workforce and practise it daily. Daily reinforcement is the best way to form a habit. Identify touchpoints to remind them of these values. Everyday things like setting business hours, determining employee benefits and internal communication with employees, reflects your culture. So, ingrain your values in these decisions from the start. 

Establish Key Behavioural Indicators that demonstrate your core values. For instance, If you are a customer service based company which has adopted “Going the extra mile to achieve customer satisfaction” as a core value, your employees must embody the same value and must be willing to go that extra mile whenever the opportune moment surfaces. 

For example, you have probably heard of the Ritz-Carlton, a hotel chain known for their great customer service. On one particular visit, a mother together with her two children had spent a few days there on vacation, and when they got back home, her son discovered that his beloved stuffed giraffe, Joshie, had gone missing. The boy was devastated, so his parents decided to tell him that “Joshie is just taking an extra-long vacation at the resort.” This conversation was overheard an attendant at the front desk and he took it upon himself to ensure they leave happy. That very same night, the Ritz-Carlton called to tell them that they found Joshie. The relieved parents asked if the staff would mind taking a picture of the giraffe at the hotel to authenticate a fabricated “long vacation” story. After a couple of days, the parents received a package with Joshie and a bunch of pictures that proved Joshie’s prolonged holiday. (quoted from Brand24 blog) (once again keep the formatting same across sections and while quoting another blog also add the link) 

Organizational culture depends largely upon the behaviour of its employees. So you must ensure that employees behave in a fashion that resonates your core values. Not just existing employees, but even new hires should be done keeping in mind the core values, so it becomes easier to integrate them into the organizational setup. Many companies have started carrying out an interview with a culture fitment angle to ensure the right candidate is hired.

3. Induct all employees into the values: 

When bringing on new employees or when you update your company values, don’t skip onboarding and training. These are great opportunities for you to set the tone. Talking about your core values periodically can also help you to implement them in your corporate culture. You can send out monthly newsletters that showcase employees who are successful in following your business’s values. Also, you can bring up core values in goals meetings and determine whether you are reaching goals., You can discuss core values during employee performance reviews. Don’t let them get cosy in the corner of your small business. Frame them and hang them on the wall for employees and customers to see. Post them on your website, on your social media pages, and on any other digital front, you can. Many companies proudly display their core values on video walls or television screens in the frontal view of the office, to ensure both employees and customers understand them. Customers/ employees can get an idea of what the organization’s culture will be like basis the values displayed and take decisions accordingly. 

4. Reward employees when they act as per the desired behaviour:

So the values are set, the employees are inducted and business is great! It’s no wonder these thoroughly thought out core values worked like a charm. If you’re thinking you’ve created your business Utopia, think again! Is it enough to just establish a successful culture? Employee Recognition plays an important role when it comes to building a company culture. Once the values are set and let’s say employees strive to adhere to them, then as an organization, it becomes your responsibility to recognize these efforts and reward these behaviours. These values help gauge the performance of employees and recognize their efforts in order to keep them engaged. Acknowledging and rewarding value-based behaviour encourages the employee to perpetuate this behaviour throughout his/her tenure with the organization. When these behaviours are rewarded it creates an emotional connection between the employee and company and they achieve a state of synergy and eventually attain employee engagement.  

 In today’s day and time, employee recognition can be also done digitally which also allows business owners to track individual performance and measure it against core values and reward employees. Such unique platforms provide superior employee engagement, not just among superiors and subordinates but also enhance peer-to-peer engagement. For instance, Let’s Buzzz platform allows peer-to-peer employee appreciation model, where employees across departments and ranks appreciate and recognize fellow employees for demonstrating certain behaviours by buzzing about it and thereby creating a chain reaction of acknowledgement and occasionally nudging whenever a core value is displayed, which in turn leads to driving a value-based culture. Core values are beliefs your business must follow in all aspects of its operations, be it marketing, human resources, administration and finance. They guide decision-making and define what your business stands for. But, if you and your employees fail to uphold your core values, you could face bemused or disappointed customers.  

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