By Megan Moyer, Cooperate Marketing Manager at Hamacher Resource Group
Being an owner-operator of an independent grocery store requires you wear several hats, including human resources, accounting, buying and merchandising. Managing or overseeing all of these things can leave you with little creativity left to problem solve or come up with new ideas to reinvigorate your store.
This is where delegation comes into play. Encouraging associates to participate in creative thinking to benefit the store can reap ongoing rewards.
Let’s imagine there’s a problem that needs to be solved. Asking associates to weigh in with solutions is a great way to engage them and provide them the opportunity to positively impact the business. That’s not only empowering, it also boosts their confidence and self-esteem – even if their suggestion isn’t ultimately what is implemented.
If you stick to the “all ideas are good ideas” mantra, you never know what may come up. Even if it isn’t applied to the immediate need, there could be another application for the proposed solution, or a tweaked or offshoot of the solution may work in the future, or for another situation.
If you need new ideas to further shopper engagement or perhaps draw new customers, ask your associates. It could be about display placement, events or other promotional ideas, products to add or delete, or ways to enhance customer service.
Open it up to your entire team; don’t only ask those you consider directly involved. You likely have a cross-generational staff, which can lead to some very interesting perspectives across the board. This request of associates is equally empowering and can also enhance morale. Again, not every suggestion will be adopted, but positive reinforcement for the thought put into it ensures that they aren’t discouraged into silence the next time you ask for input.
Both of these exercises can give you terrific insight into those who have potential to be team leaders or managers. It also encourages camaraderie over competitiveness. Friendly competition can be healthy as long as it is done with respect for all.
These opportunities for open communication and meaningful participation in the success of the store fosters a stronger bond with associates and usually inspires loyalty and job satisfaction. If it makes problem solving smoother, improves customer satisfaction, or boosts traffic and sales, it’s a win-win.
Megan Moyer is corporate marketing manager for Hamacher Resource Group. HRG is in the details of retail, working with product manufacturers, distributors, retailers, technology partners and other industry organizations to provide data and analysis, shopper experience, brand development, fixture coordination, and retail communications solutions.