Bloomberg recently reported that the battered American retail industry has taken a few more lumps as of late, with stores at both ends of the price spectrum preparing to close their doors.
The Payless Inc. shoe chain recently filed for bankruptcy and announced plans to shut hundreds of locations. Ralph Lauren Corp. is closing its flagship Fifth Avenue Polo store and Bebe just announced that is closing all of its 168 retail stores. “The retail industry is still searching for answers,” said Noel Hebert, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “I don’t know how many malls can reinvent themselves.”
The rapid descent of so many retailers has left shopping malls with hundreds of slots to fill and the pain could be just beginning. More than 10 percent of U.S. retail space, or nearly 1 billion square feet, may need to be closed, converted to other uses or renegotiated for lower rent in coming years, according to CoStar Group.
What does the retail industry bust have to do with employee engagement? Everything. Companies are still searching for answers as to how to keep employees engaged and I don’t know how many businesses can reinvent themselves. Don’t get me wrong, the companies that are floundering could reinvent themselves, but many choose not to.
Officevibe recently reported that 90 percent of companies think an employee engagement strategy would be helpful, yet only 25 percent of companies have one. Why? Mostly, because they are afraid to admit that leadership has dropped the ball as it relates to putting people first, they think they’d need additional resources to execute on the strategy, or they don’t know where to begin.
BE AWESOME! It’s okay if you have not made people a priority, as long as you commit to doing so starting today. And, an Employee Engagement Strategy does not require additional resources. You are already hiring people, setting goals, communicating and recognizing people, but not in a way that is engaging your greatest asset. Where do you begin? Start the conversation with me and you’ll see how easy it is to put a strategy in place to increase productivity, customer satisfaction, retention and profitability. Flounder may taste good, but there’s no place for it in business.
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She was recently named a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth.