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A Guide to Motivating E-Commerce Employees

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E-commerce leaders often agree that employee retention is one of their biggest hurdles, and many point out that they’re chronically understaffed. Understaffing leaves the remaining employees to pick up the slack, driving more resignations and longer service queues – all while the cycle continues.

Fortunately, there’s a relatively simple solution – take steps to increase motivation! Motivated employees stay in their jobs longer, deliver better results, and contribute to a positive and productive work environment. Read on to discover ten tactics you can use to help e-commerce employees feel happier and more fulfilled at work, motivating them to provide stellar service, deliver better results, and stay longer with the company.

10 Ways to Motivate E-Commerce Employees

Although motivation naturally ebbs and flows, building a culture that demonstrates how much you appreciate your staff should create higher levels of fulfillment and satisfaction, which usually translates into better output and lower turnover.

These ten ways of motivating e-commerce employees address both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors, offering something for everyone by providing a variety of recognition and incentives that should inspire every team member to do their best work!

1. Set a clear vision and shared KPIs

Teamwork can be a great unifier and motivator, so start with a strong foundation. Having a clear team vision and shared goals creates meaning and makes people feel that they’re more just another cog in the corporate wheel. The feeling of contributing to shared goals strengthens bonds between colleagues, increasing their investment in the outcome. Together with your team, devise a vision or mission statement summarizing the team’s overall objective, and then introduce shared KPIs to support it. Having a clear mission will help newcomers quickly find a sense of belonging while clear goals will incentivize everyone to work together to achieve them. Consider visualizing the team’s KPIs on dashboards so everyone can track their progress – and celebrate their achievements whenever they reach a milestone.

2. Provide coaching

Giving each employee 1:1 coaching can help them feel valued without feeling micromanaged. It’s also an opportunity to create a culture of open communication, which can help managers better understand each employee’s strengths, weaknesses, motivation factors, and career goals – as well as their biggest challenges. Knowing these details makes it easier to offer tools and incentives that will strike a chord. Attentive coaching can lower turnover by offering personalized opportunities for employees to grow, assume more responsibility, and take on more challenging tasks. People who feel appreciated and supported are likely to thrive and stay in their jobs longer than those who don’t.

3. Offer development opportunities

Professional development dovetails well with coaching. Offering company-paid development opportunities can reinforce your team’s skills while demonstrating the company’s willingness to invest in their future success. Getting to know your employees during their coaching sessions will make it easier to suggest suitable training opportunities. To establish a commitment to each employee’s long-term career progression, offer opportunities with transferable skills that could be applied in a higher position.

4. Promote from within

Creating clear career paths and introducing a “promote from within” policy provides tangible goals that can increase employee longevity. By combining a solid coaching program with ongoing training and clear advancement opportunities, you give people a new source of motivation in their everyday work and make them more likely stay.

5. Empower employees to make decisions

Empowering employees to make decisions can be a game changer for e-commerce companies struggling to motivate and retain staff. Providing adequate and continuous training and then trusting people to do their jobs should go a long way in helping them find a sense of ownership and satisfaction in their work. Although this can feel like a leap of faith, delegation is a mark of a competent manager.

6. Offer fair compensation

Attractive salaries, great benefits, and regular raises are some of the best tools for motivating and retaining employees in a high-turnover industry like e-commerce. Underpaying is a penny-wise but pound-foolish strategy. Frequently having to rehire for the same positions creates direct costs and lost productivity while constant “help wanted” ads can be seen by potential applicants as a warning sign. Reward loyalty by giving long-standing workers regular raises, and take care not to pay new hires more for similar work. Losing excellent employees because you’re underpaying them is a rookie move.

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7. Offer flexibility – or perks

If you’re not running a remote or hybrid team, you’re probably competing with companies that do – and a lot of workers prefer that flexibility. Thanks to the pandemic, people have gotten used to working from home, and many aren’t in a hurry to relinquish that freedom – at least not entirely. Next to salary, flexibility is the next best incentive in your toolbox. If in-office attendance is essential to your business, consider providing on-site perks. Offering little extras like gaming and exercise equipment, snacks, soft drinks, and on-site services can make coming to the office a little less dreaded. When it comes to making people feel appreciated, little things can add up – consider providing a surprise lunch or other treats during particularly stressful and busy times (or even “just because”).

8. Celebrate success

Showing appreciation for a job well-done can make a big difference when it comes to motivating e-commerce employees. Whether it’s individual spot rewards or a more uniform approach using tools like leaderboards, instant notifications, and challenges to recognize everyone’s small wins, celebrating success is proven to increase and sustain motivation – especially in high-turnover industries like e-commerce.

9. Use gamification

Gamification can help companies motivate and retain e-commerce employees by adding an element of fun to their workday. 72 percent of people say that gamification motivates them and makes them work harder while 90 percent say that gamification makes them more productive. Further research shows that 69 percent of employees say they’d stay with an employer for longer than three years if gamification were part of their daily operations. Whether your main concern is motivating e-commerce employees or retaining them, there’s a strong case for using gamification!

10. Track employee net promoter score (eNPS)

Even if you’ve gone all in and implemented the other nine items on this list, your efforts are wasted if they fail to impress your team. To get to the nitty-gritty of how your employees really feel, ask them. While NPS is typically used to gauge customer satisfaction, eNPS gauges employee satisfaction by asking, “On a scale of 1–10, how likely are you to recommend our company as an employer to a friend?” Follow up on poor results with a survey asking how you could improve – or skip the eNPS and gather deeper insights by conducting a short open-ended survey every quarter.

Step up your team’s motivation with Plecto!

Plecto’s KPI dashboards put tangible team goals within reach while supporting managers with useful real-time insights for their coaching sessions. Easy-to-implement leaderboards, points, and badges acknowledge success as soon as it happens – and Plecto is packed with gamification features to make everyday tasks more fun!


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