5 Keys to Onboarding Retail Employees Post COVID-19

If you own a retail store the last few months have been hard due to COVID-19. However, we can now see light at the end of the tunnel as slowly stores are being given the go-ahead to reopen. Before your store reopens, there are five things you can do right now to begin the process of onboarding your staff, so when you do reopen everyone is coming at it from the best place possible.

Reach Out and Connect with Your Team

This doesn’t mean you reach out to your team about your business and what your plans are. Approach this from a human perspective. This is the time to be a leader who is interested in them as another individual not as their boss.

Ask them what they have been up to? What has their family been up to? Speak to them about their experience with quarantine, open up and share with them how you handled it.

This is strictly the process of trying to establish more rapport. Get them comfortable with coming back to work and being part of the team. Take the time to reach out and connect with everyone on your team when the time is right.

Acknowledge Their Fear

Speak to your team about the fears they might have regarding coming back to work. Obviously, personal safety is going to be on top of the list. You don’t need to solve all their fears, rather create a space where they can be heard. Your team will also have uncertainties regarding job security when they come back.

If we sweep these issues under the table, they become bigger issues moving forward. The more you talk about the fear and uncertainty, the more you begin to normalize it and it becomes more comfortable for everyone to deal with.

Dealing with new challenges for store staff isn’t easy. It’s why we created our Retail Sales Training During Covid-19 program – to help retailers give their staff the new skills they need.

Establish Trust

Establishing trust is a long process and as a leader going forward, nothing can be more important than the trust your team will have in you. Everybody wants a leader who has their best interests at heart! We want to establish trust from both an emotional and physical perspective.

Emotional trust: This is purely the fact that your employees want to know that it’s going to be okay to talk, share ideas, and make mistakes without fear of reprisal. This essentially lets them know that everything’s going to be okay and as the leader, you’ve got their back.

Physical trust: To establish physical trust you need to let your employees know how you are going to keep them safe. Let them know about the safety protocols that will be in place and that you’re going to stand up for and protect them.

Learning Now

As a leader you need to inspire your employees to learn more now, so when stores reopen, everyone is operating at a much higher level.

Just image how much better your store would perform if your employees came back with more knowledge about the products they sell, higher sales skills, better service and technical skills. Not only would you see an improvement in sales, but your employees would be much more comfortable and confident.

Even if you can’t do some of the job-specific training maybe you can inspire them with different TED talks or podcasts that you’ve run across. Share these resources with them and maybe they will also find them inspirational and educational.

At Graff Retail we offer online training programs that show you how to improve the performance of your stores.

Set Expectations

Before your team gets back into the store, you need to set expectations. Some of the questions you would need to answer would be regarding what’s going to happen, what’s it going to look like, and what the process is going to be. Let your team know about the measures you have taken and your expectations from them.

Setting those expectations will lead the way for your employees to develop the right frame of mind for coming back and also get the point across on raising the bar.

Now more than ever you need to support your staff and give them the silks they need to provide exceptional customer service in the COVID-19 world. Contact us today and we can help get your staff ready!


At Graff Retail, we create leading-edge retail training programs specifically designed and customized to increase staff knowledge and performance with innovative teaching methods to drive sales and revenue for businesses.

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Blog Authors: Kevin

Kevin Graff

Kevin Graff is the main guy behind all things Graff Retail. A renowned retail expert, Kevin is recognized in the retail industry as a speaker, author and expert trainer. Kevin's main passion is to help retailers drive staff performance.

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