Hand holding wedding rings Photo by Tyler Nix.

Store performance in the jewelry retail industry depends on the ability of sales staff to create an emotional experience for the customer, whether this is achieved through superior product knowledge, spending a little extra time with a customer, making a follow-up phone call, or providing an astute recommendation that leads to a sale. When jewelry staff aren’t putting in the effort required to create great customer experiences, it’s usually due to disengagement at work.

According to Gallup approximately 85% of employees are disengaged. When we hear about “disengaged employees”, we usually imagine staff who are routinely late, absent, lazy, or careless. However, even disengaged employees know they can’t maintain this kind of behaviour and stay employed for long. For most employees, disengagement manifests as the minimum level of performance required to fly under the radar. Staff show up on time, are not routinely absent, and provide a baseline level of customer service. This can make disengagement hard to spot unless you’re looking for the signs, such as consistently passive behaviour with customers. Staff may answer questions and fetch products for customers to inspect, but they don’t proactively lead the customer towards a sale. In a sense, customers are left to sell to themselves. This kind of passivity is a common root cause when stores underperform without a clear reason.

Though many retailers accept disengagement as inevitable, this is a myth that causes store performance to suffer. Disengagement can be addressed, and overcome, in jewelry retail.

Remind your staff why their work is meaningful

According to Forbes, meaning and purpose are more important than ever in the modern workplace, and this includes jewelry retail. Research suggests that a sense of purpose is particularly critical for millennial employees (those aged between 22 and 36 years), who may rely on work as the primary source of meaning in their lives. Your employees will perform best if they have the sense that their high performance at work makes a difference to the lives of customers. Disengaged employees in jewelry retail are often disconnected from the fact that the jewelry they sell is highly meaningful and important to customers. After all, few retail staff get the chance to sell a product that customers may wear and use for the rest of their lives.

Meaningful work Photo by Andrew Itaga.

Provide clear and measurable goals that contribute to the success of the business

If your sales staff don’t have clear, measurable goals, this may be contributing to disengagement at work. Having no goals, or vague and hard to measure goals, is associated with a feeling of purposelessness and a lack of meaning. Providing meaningful goals for your sales staff is one of the quickest ways to boost their engagement at work.

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It’s essential that goals are carefully selected to align with the broader aims of your business. If it’s important to your business to increase average revenue per customer, you should set goals for your staff that relate to this metric. For example, you might track each staff member’s average revenue per customer on a leaderboard and offer a reward, such as an extra day of annual leave, to the person who performs the best on this metric over a period of 30 days. If your headcount is relatively small you can track this leaderboard by hand on a whiteboard in the staff break-room. Franchises or stores with larger headcounts may need to use a digital solution for tracking employee goals.

Goals written in a notebook Photo by Estée Janssens.

Leverage technology

Today’s jewelry retailers often incorporate technology at multiple levels of the business, from search engine optimization, to CRM systems, pay-per-click advertising, and social media campaigns. While basic efforts to engage staff can be tracked on a whiteboard, stores often find that they quickly outgrow manual systems, particularly when reporting and auditing requirements are taken into account. Consider evaluating an affordable software solution designed to support your engagement efforts. The best vendors will offer in-built sales contests, KPI-based games, rewards management, an employee recognition platform, and communication tools, as well as ongoing support and comprehensive reporting. Many solutions are built to be one-size fits all, so make sure whichever vendor you choose has worked with other customers in jewelry retail and understands the needs of the industry.

Someone using a phone and laptop at the same timePhoto by William Iven

Involve sales staff in designing a goals and rewards system that works for them

Every jewelry store is unique, and the right approach to engagement will depend on your location, your culture, and the personnel you employ. The best way to design an effective approach to engagement is to consult with your employees. Get them together in a room, or take them out to lunch, and ask them what makes work meaningful for them. The answers will help you design an approach to engagement that yields the best results for the amount of time and effort invested. Getting staff involved in these discussions is generally easy: deep down, everyone wants to be engaged at work.

Phone case with the words 'Ask More' written on it Photo by Dan Gold.