Running a retail business is challenging in almost any situation. The opportunity for managers and owners to burn out is real every day, regardless of the size of the business. Retail manager burnout is often not recognized until it is too late.
By burnout, I mean the person in question who loses drive and focus to the point where their health is in question and business suffers.
How to identify burnout
Observe your people. Consult with them regularly on a business and personal level. Evaluate your manners, decisions, and interaction with others. Be on the lookout for telltale signs:
- Poor quality business decisions.
- Unexpected mistakes in day-to-day operations.
- An energy shift for work and retail.
- Talking to your team about the potential for the problem. Bring up the topic in team and management meetings. Ben opens up about talking to key employees about it.
It is vitally important that retail business owners are aware of these and relevant symptoms of the situation. Detecting burnout early on is key to resolution. The risk of not catching it early is that a good and valuable employee will leave the business.
How to address someone who is experiencing burnout
Once you have identified someone who is experiencing burnout in their role, immediate action is essential to their well-being and the future of the company.
If the size of the company allows, hire a professional to work with the employee. Follow the professional’s advice completely.
If yours is a smaller retail business and you can’t afford a professional to help you with the situation, consider these suggestions:
Understand the key stressors in your manager’s role and find ways to eliminate or adjust them so they are no longer stressful.
Consider taking some personal time away from business to recharge.
Consider taking professional manager training that can help you fulfill your role with greater personal satisfaction and therefore less stress.
Carefully assess the workload and allocate additional resources so that one person does not get too burdened.
Take on the role yourself so that you can gain a personal understanding of your situation.
Stay close to the employee by talking to them regularly and involving them in decisions about the solution.
How to Protect Your Business and Your People Against Burnout
Review the business from top to bottom and inside out, looking for processes and lawsuits that place an unfair personal burden on team members.
Also look at the role of each employee and find ways to provide variety in terms of workload and focus on work as it is variety that could help everyone have a more enjoyable work experience.
Make sure that all employees enjoy full annual leave entitlement each year.
Get involved in off-site team activities that give your people a chance to blow off steam. Good activities are to go to sports games together, go bowling, go hiking, or have a good meal out.
Create opportunities for change of pace in the work schedule: casual dress days, days when the company pays for lunch for everyone, work exchange days when people switch roles in the company.
Set up a space to relax in the retail store somewhere if you have the space. This should be a place that your people can go to if they are feeling very stressed and need time away from function to relax.
It fosters the 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 places the responsibility on you to better hire people who respond more naturally to the company’s needs.
Retail manager burnout is real and challenging for any retail business. The time spent protecting the company and its employees against this will be a wise investment for any retail store.