5 Reasons Why Apathetic Employees Are Risky Business

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An unmotivated employee can be a real headache for any retail store. Worse, instead of helping you build sales, they can lead to sales decreases.

Not only are they unproductive, but their lack of enthusiasm rubs off on the rest of your team, leading to decreased morale. People who feel defeated or bored lead the way to poor customer service - all bad news regarding preserving your business's reputation.

That's why you have to inspect what you expect – an apathetic employee could cause all sorts of problems.

So what is an apathetic employee? One who lacks motivation or enthusiasm in their work. While it may not always be easy to spot the apathy, being constantly late, constantly having to follow up on their work, and low sales are all good clues. These frontline workers can pose several dangers to your retail store.

Here are five dangers of an apathetic retail employee:

1. Decreased productivity

An apathetic employee is unlikely to put in the effort needed to meet their goals or store goals. Store meeting energy is drained of enthusiasm as you try to get them to join in or have the right answer. This leads to a decrease in productivity, which can have a negative impact on your store's bottom line.

2. Poor customer service

An apathetic employee won't be motivated to provide good customer service, which can lead to unhappy customers and a negative reputation for your store. I've never read in a Google review, "He was so happy and fun to work with." They usually talk about how immovable the person was or how they just repeated store policy with a blank face.

3. Negative impact on team morale

When one employee is apathetic, it can be contagious and bring down the entire team's morale. This can lead to decreased productivity and overall satisfaction in the workplace. The danger is in letting them get away with dragging your store down with them.

4. Increased turnover

An apathetic employee is more likely to leave their job, leading to a higher turnover rate and the constant cost of and need to onboard and train new employees. Even worse, sometimes, to get someone to stay, they are promoted. But that just cements their bad attitude into a place they have power and is problematic in its own right. 

5. Decreased profitability

When an employee is apathetic, they are less likely to contribute to the store's success. It's a short line from being apathetic to actively sabotaging your efforts. This leads to a decrease in profits and the overall success of your retail stores.

Corrective strategies for apathetic employees

It's important to recognize the dangers of an apathetic retail employee and take steps to address the issue.

One way to do this is to provide ongoing training and development opportunities to keep employees motivated and engaged in their work.

Another way to correct an apathetic employee is to take them out of the store to a local coffeehouse, buy them a drink and pastry, and simply ask, "What's going on?" If they don't own it, continue, "It seems you don't care much about working here. It's a big change from when we hired you. What's going on?" You are caring for them as an individual first by trying to nip it in the bud. Sometimes you find out there is a personal issue, someone else not cutting their weight behind the scenes, or another company culture or behavior concern. 

Another option is to provide incentives or rewards for meeting goals and exceeding expectations. Additionally, it's important to regularly communicate with employees and ensure they feel valued and supported in their roles.

By addressing the issue of apathy in the workplace, you can improve employee morale, customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, the profitability of your retail store. And remember, the mind leaves about six weeks before the body, so once you get the feeling or see the effects of apathy, meet with the individual and explain what success looks like in their position. You could next do a written warning they have to sign to get their attention.

But that all depends on what their cause for being apathetic is. As you see from these dangers, they all point to a store unable to function at the highest level.

One thing I've found you can do is train. A learning mind is a mind that has something to hang hope on. My online retail sales training program SalesRX is everything your crew needs to know about engaging a stranger. Find out more below. 

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