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Retail staff in the dark over 2010 business goals

Retailers urged to act now to equip their people for New Year recovery.

BRANDS

Retail staff in the dark over 2010 business goals

The New Year may bring a brighter economic outlook, but employees in the retail sector are in the dark on what 2010 has in store for them. Only around one in five employees (21%) surveyed in the sector said that the management at their company had clearly communicated business objectives for 2010, whilst around a quarter (24%) said they don’t think their organisation’s senior managers have a cle
ar vision for the future.
 
The findings - from new YouGov research for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills - suggest many employers in the retail sector are not unleashing the full potential of their people and are therefore undermining their own productivity and performance. The research also shows that a minority of employees interviewed in the sector, less than a quarter (23%), think they will feel refreshed when they return after the break in 2010 and is positive about the year ahead.
 
The research should be a wake-up call for the retail sector as we approach a year which will be critical to the country's recovery from recession. It suggests many employers in the sector should focus more time and effort on explaining business goals for 2010 so employees in all areas are informed, enthused and prepared to play the part expected of them.  
 
David MacLeod, adviser to BIS and co-author of the recent report to Government ‘Engaging for Success’ said: "This is just one example of how poor employee engagement can put the brakes on improved business performance. If leaders in the retail sector don't explain where the business is going and what it's seeking to achieve, how can the sector’s employees be motivated or know what they're meant to contribute? Clear goals are a key ingredient for achieving performance and productivity - but worryingly this research suggests many employers in the sector haven't yet grasped this for 2010."
 
"Every leader, every business, must get their message across and inspire employee energy and enthusiasm for the year ahead. Gather your people, invite views and ideas on next steps, hold one on one and group meetings - there are lots of simple steps employers in the retail sector can take now which will ensure employees are engaged and ready to play their part in delivering business success in 2010. And this isn’t just a one off activity – there must be a continued commitment throughout the year to ensure staff feel involved and motivated by the business and its goals."
 
The financial benefit of engaging with staff is very real. If organisations increased investment in a range of good workplace practices which relate to engagement by just 10%, they would increase profits by up to £1,500 per employee per year1. The cost of disengaged employees to the economy was between £59.4 billion and £64.7 billion in 20082.
 
MacLeod adds: “Leaders can leave their people unclear, confused and lacking confidence - or they can make sure everyone understands the business goals, knows what is expected of them and is committed and confident in their role. It's a simple choice with an obvious answer".

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