Managing a retail business is a challenge in almost any situation. The opportunity for burn out of managers and owners is real every day regardless of business size. Often, retail manager burnout is not recognized until it is too late.
By burnout, I mean the person in question losing drive and focus to the point where their health is in question and the business suffers.
How to identify burnout
Watch your people. Check in with them regularly on a business and personal level. Assess their manner, decisions and interaction with others. Watch for the telltale signs:
- Poor quality business decisions.
- Unexpected mistakes in day to day operations.
- A change in energy for the job and the retail business.
- By talking with your team about the potential for the problem. Bring it up at team and management meetings. Ben open in talking with key employees about it.
It is vitally important that retail business owners watch for these and symptoms relevant to the situation. Catching burnout early on is key to resolution. The risk of not catching it early is that a good and valuable employee exits the business.
How to address someone experiencing burnout
Once you have identified someone experiencing burnout in their role, immediate action is essential to their well being and the future of the business.
If the size of the business permits, bring in a professional to work with the employee. Follow the advice of the professional completely.
If yours is a smaller retail business and cannot afford a professional to help with the situation, consider these suggestions:
Understand the key stressors in your manager’s role and pursue ways of eliminating or adjusting these so that they no longer are stressors.
Consider some personal time away from the business to recharge.
Consider engaging in professional training for the manager which may help them fulfil their role with greater personal satisfaction and therefore less stress.
Assess carefully the workload and assign additional resources so that one person is not left carrying too much.
Step into the role yourself so that you gain a personal understanding of their situation.
Stay close to the employee by talking with them regularly and involving them in decisions about the solution.
How to protect your business and people against burnout
Review the business from top to bottom and inside out, looking for processes and demands which place an unfair personal burden on team members.
Look, too at each employee role and find ways to provide variety in terms of workload and work focus as it variety which could help everyone have a more enjoyable work experience.
Ensure that all employees take their full entitlement of annual leave each year.
Engage in off-site team activities which give your people a chance to let off some steam. Good activities are going to sports games together, bowling, hiking or a nice meal out.
Create change of pace opportunities in the work schedule – casual dress days, days when the business pays for lunch for everyone, swap jobs days where people change roles in the business.
Establish a chill out space in the retail store somewhere if you have the space. This should be somewhere your people can go if they feel utterly stressed and need time away from their role to relax.
Encourage personality. One of the key stressors in retail is the need to conform to a corporate style. Encourage your people to be more themselves. This puts to onus back on you to hire better, people who more naturally fir the needs of the business.
Retail manager burnout is real and challenging for any retail business. Time spent protecting the business and its employees against this will be a wise investment for any retail store.