Why staff wellness should be a retail manager’s greatest focus

staff wellness - retail manager
staff wellness - retail manager

Why staff wellness should be a retail manager’s greatest focus

As the year that is 2023 heads over the halfway mark, those who have focused on people management over the months prior will likely be thinking of ways to bring even better structures and levels of productivity to the fore, says Charles Edelstein of Executive Placements.

A recent special report, the BusinessBecause “Executive MBA Insights guide”, shares key trends to help senior leaders overcome their management challenges in an increasingly demanding fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) environment. Five specific focus areas are bulleted below:

Focus on sustainability

As climate change presents an increasing existential threat, so managers should work with their teams to help lower rising temperatures by implementing strategies to decarbonise their company’s operations wherever possible.

Focus on equal opportunities

Managers are becoming more aware of how the work that their retail employer is doing is impacting the greater society in which they are based. This means steering clear of any kind of elitism, to make sure that all groups – including women and those with disabilities – have similar levels of representation, remuneration, and potential for advancement.

Focus on desirable incentives

When the pandemic hit, millions of individuals in skilled jobs around the globe resigned, as their priorities surrounding being gainfully employed shifted. Today, managers need to be clever about what perks they offer to the individuals they most need to employ, and retain – with duvet days, hybrid working arrangements (where possible), sponsored lunches, and travel incentives ranking highly among those based in fmcg jobs.

Focus on burnout avoidance

Following closely on the heels of these proffered incentives, is the need for short-staffed teams with frantic workloads to avoid the hazards of burnout. Those in management positions should therefore seek to implement corporate wellness programmes that include benefits such as: access to a gym, counselling, and even on-site massage to keep their staff members fully happy and engaged.

Focus on advancing technology

As fmcg jobs become increasingly digital, so managers and their teams need to undergo constant training on how to remain abreast of the changes. This includes how to keep the data generated by their company, and its team members, secure; and can extend to matters like putting cyber security insurance in place, and organising cover for servers and other hardware when power outages strike.

The fairness equation

While it may seem that all of these focus areas can be addressed by throwing funds at the matter, it can get tricky when it comes to managing what is fair – or not – from one employee on your team to the next. Who can work flexibly, and who has to come into the office? Why does a parent get a childcare incentive, while someone else receives nothing as a non-parent? As inflation rises and doling out raises and 13th checks becomes increasingly less feasible, is shortening the working week a viable option instead of offering a salary increase?

It could be that the solution to all these issues is for repetitive management tasks to be automated, so that manager-employee relationships can be prioritised, team members feel heard, and staff turnover levels can be kept as low as possible.

What remains important is for managers to keep giving thought to and conducting surveys on these issues; checking in with their team members; and keeping the wellness and leisure incentives coming. It’s an approach that has, at its core, the idea of money well spent to keep employment levels constant against a shifting and disruptive retail landscape – where it still rings true that people more often leave managers over companies.