Employee motivation in the retail and hospitality sector can be a tough one to crack. In an industry that experiences circa 60% annual staff turnover, recent surveys have suggested that almost half of frontline retail and hospitality workers feel dissatisfied with their roles, unappreciated, and unhappy with the recognition they receive.

Keeping employees motivated, particularly those in customer-facing roles, to perform at their best is a constant challenge, particularly in a volatile job market where recruiting, training and retaining great people is more complicated than ever. With customers being more demanding than ever and frontline teams frequently feeling overloaded, keeping morale high can feel like an uphill battle. So, where are employers going wrong with motivating front-line employees? We’ve drawn up a couple of things to try to keep employees engaged and motivated.


I-O-P-E stands for Involvement Ownership, Pride, and Excellence. The premise is very simple. As a business or team leader, you involve your team in everything you do operationally, whether that’s having them help you with something, asking for ideas and solutions, or seeking opinions and feedback. By involving your employees, they immediately establish a shared sense of purpose which in turn drives personal ownership of the business problem. This increased sense of ownership changes the dynamic from ‘your problem’ to suddenly becoming ‘our problem’. With individual pride at stake, human nature kicks in to do their best to deliver excellence in everything they do.

A shared sense of purpose and mutual goals is a great way to build community spirit within the team. Employees who feel involved and aligned with their company’s purpose are, on the whole, more productive, happier, more resilient, and more likely to stay at the company longer than employees who don’t. In addition, employees like to know how the job they do every day contributes to the broader business goals and the well-being of their teammates.

For Microsoft 365 users, Metro has been integrated within Microsoft Teams, enabling users to access core Metro functionality from within the Microsoft framework.

Metro Unified Comms provides targetted, personalised content to every employee through its digital workplace, ensuring workers can see not only content and tasks relevant to their role but also Key Performance Indicators that are directly applicable to them – things like, for example, footfall, occupancy rate, conversion rates, average basket size, guest ratings, customer satisfaction, checkout wait times, and availability stats are all goals that can be presented within Unified Comms dashboards, so each team member can see how they are performing and contributing within the broader team at any moment in time. 

Providing teams with real-time feedback and regular communication around how they’re making an impact makes it clear how they contribute to the company mission and further drives their involvement, ownership, pride and excellence. Seeing real numbers around progress is a proven source of motivation for colleagues.

Build Internal Cultures, Trust and Support Collaboration.

Bad management and lack of leadership are among the top reasons employees run for the hills. Things like respect, honesty, support and clear communication are the foundations here. Frontline customer-facing roles within retail and hospitality are generally filled by socially engaging people, which is why the people who apply for them naturally enjoy interacting with others. To harness this, employers need to create spaces where employees can collaborate and encourage each other. 

Speaking at Metro Forum 2022 in July, Jennifer Sproul, CEO of the Institute of Internal Communication, said that the future of all organisational survival depends on internal cultures that promote and support human collaboration, ideation and co-creation. Recent research suggests that 30% of frontline workers feel having a professional messaging app would make their job easier, and a quarter would appreciate being able to connect with company news and updates on breaks or whilst they are away from work. 

Creating a social sense of community is vital so that teammates can collaborate and encourage each other, which is why Metro Unified Comms includes real-time messaging between teammates and Head Office colleagues and allows employees to comment and react to content published within their digital workplace. Another way to build community is to post positive customer feedback and encourage more experienced workers to mentor and support their peers by sharing advice and best practices in comments. This social activity provides a handy barometer on how teams might be feeling. If you see lots of smiley faces and thumbs-up emoticons to content, then it’s safe to assume it’s being well received. Things are going well; however, if you’re seeing more sad faces and thumbs-down emoticons, Metro’s ‘comments and reactions dashboard’ allows you to select groups and target comms or surveys based on reactions to find out more. 

Metro is designed to help businesses connect, coordinate, engage and operate a more effective and empowered workforce. Retail and hospitality operators, such as Schuh, One-Stop, Greene King, Caffe Nero, The Watches of Switzerland Group, The Co-operative, and more, maximise employee motivation using Metro’s Unified Comms digital workplace. Schedule a demo today to see how Metro can work for your business!

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