How to Conduct an Effective Retail Employee Review

This is a guest post from our friends at Homebase, an employee management app that lets you stay on top of everything time tracking and team communications to performance reviews and compliance. 

Running a retail store comes with a plethora of responsibilities, but perhaps one of the most overlooked—and for some, dreaded—factors store managers and employees must deal with is the performance review process. 

It’s never fun for retail managers to lay out how team members should improve. But if you craft a well-oiled employee performance review strategy, you could actually increase employee engagement and reduce your turnover rate. 

A study found that businesses who gave performance evaluations on employees’ strengths saw a 14.9% lower turnover rate than businesses who gave no evaluation at all. And many employees feel that annual performance reviews are less valuable than continuous, constructive feedback.  

Consistent performance appraisals with the right tactics can leave employees feeling like you are not only focused on making sure they meet expectations, but that you also want them to continue to grow. In this article we’ll talk about how the right performance management system can help you provide effective feedback using simple strategies. 

Keep up with employee performance reports 

Performance Evaluation document with pen and glasses on note pad.

The first step in providing performance feedback is to stay up to date on how each and every retail employee is performing. You need to know if they’re showing up on time on a regular basis, if they’re taking their breaks, and how often they swap shifts. 

Homebase, a leading online team management system, offers employee performance reports packed with everything you need to know about your team and their behavior over a period of time. In the reports you’ll see on-time rates, schedule adherence, and shift trades in one place. 

You’ll also get alerted each time an employee is late to a scheduled shift, and you’ll see who is clocking in from where thanks to GPS and photo time clock verifications. 

Coming to a performance review armed with this information will set you up to either praise an employee for their consistency and reliability, or make note of an area they need to improve upon if one of their monthly stats isn’t up to par. You can also share these stats with employees so they can track their performance themselves. 

Vend Tip

Simplify team management with Vend and Homebase. Track hours worked, create schedules and manage your team with the most robust and complete free plan on the market, integrated with Vend. Includes scheduling, time tracking, hiring, messaging and live support for free for unlimited employees

Learn More

Allow employees to assess themselves

A really helpful strategy to conducting a performance review is to first give your team a chance to review themselves. Give them a list of performance-related questions to answer before the review is conducted, and thoughtfully answer the same questions about them. 

A few questions you both can answer as part of a meaningful review include:  

  • What action have you taken to fulfill your duties on the job?
  • Do you feel you’ve been successful in your position so far?
  • How have you contributed to your department in the last few months?
  • What are a few of your strengths?
  • Where would you like to improve?

Give your team some time before the review—say, about a week—to carefully think about their answers to the questions. Use that time to do the same. With both you and your employee giving some real thought to the answers, you have the opportunity to spark a valuable conversation. 

You’ll also be able to better understand whether or not you and your team members are on the same page in regards to their performance. 

Provide self-evaluation answer choices

Instead of leaving every question up to the employee to form an answer, you can also gauge their thoughts through provided sample answers.This way you can get feedback on aspects of their job they might not have brought up themselves. 

For example, if you’d like to know more about their efforts in teamwork and collaboration, you can provide two options that sound a little like this for them to choose from: 

Positive: “I believe I have proven my teamwork skills to be valuable in the workplace. I have actively worked with the confidence to express my ideas, while also ensuring my teammates have the confidence to do the same. 

Negative: I realize that at times I have not given my teammates enough space to contribute their ideas or take initiative. I recognize that I take projects as my own instead of working with others to make work more efficient.  

Using this method can also help employees realize faults in their work habits that they may not have paid attention to, giving them ample opportunity to improve these areas without you having to say much at all. 

Give employees tools for success 

Once you and your employee both have a better understanding of strengths and areas for improvement, follow up with ways for your team member to get to work actually improving in those areas. 

For example, if one of your team members consistently fails to show up to work on time, or forgets to clock in for their scheduled shifts, you’ll most likely discuss it when it comes time to hold a performance review. The next step is to provide a way to fix it. 

With Homebase, there’s an easy solution that you can highlight to your employee to help them succeed: alerts. 

With Homebase alerts, employees will receive a notification when they forget to clock in, or even when they miss a required break. They’ll also be reminded about an upcoming shift so they can make plans to arrive on time if they struggle to do so. 

Pay attention to how they utilize these alerts and reminders to improve their workplace practices, and commend them on a job well done when you see their personal performance report stats rise. 

Provide real-time feedback 

Many employees today feel that formal performance reviews are stressful and therefore slightly less effective than consistent performance feedback. So it might be a good idea to instead review your team in real time instead of making them wait for a specific meeting. 

Homebase’s free team communication tool provides a great avenue to deliver immediate feedback. You can address employees one-on-one to point out an area of improvement for them to target their focus when an issue arises. 

You can also start a chat with your entire team if you want to increase employee engagement or morale. And you’ll receive notifications when your team member—or team members—read the message. 

To acknowledge an employee who is performing particularly well in a specific area—such as if their retail sales are soaring, or if they really nailed a certain project—you can use shoutout cards in the messaging system. The cards highlight staff members to the rest of your crew for excelling at being a team player, going above and beyond, and more. 

Keep an eye on employee morale 

Performance reviews should not only include your views on how an employee is performing, you should also discuss how an employee is actually feeling about coming to work for each shift.  

When an employee clocks out of a shift using the Homebase time clock app, they’re prompted to rate that specific shift based on their level of happiness. You’ll see their average rating in their performance report. 

Keep an eye out for employees who have a lower average rating—this could mean they either feel they aren’t performing well, or there’s an issue with your company culture. 

Be sure to provide ample time in your review process for your employees to express not only their thoughts on their performance, but also any concerns they may have about motivation, team bonding, and their general level of happiness on the job. 

If you choose to go the informal route, let them know they can always come to you with any issues they might have. The happier your employees are during their shifts, the better their performance will be. 

Final words

Employee performance reviews are a tricky topic to tackle. But if you have the right tools to gather workplace stats and provide a channel for feedback, it doesn’t have to be difficult. And when you have a system like Homebase that connects scheduling, time tracking, team communication in one place, your review process will be a breeze. 

Vend Tip

Simplify team management with Vend and Homebase. Track hours worked, create schedules and manage your team with the most robust and complete free plan on the market, integrated with Vend. Includes scheduling, time tracking, hiring, messaging and live support for free for unlimited employees

Learn More