By Nicole Leinbach

As a senior leader, it is important to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your store operations, inventory, and even employees.

Measuring employee behavior helps shape an ideal work culture for your unique store by formalizing the values you want them to demonstrate in daily interactions. Over time, this can illustrate both the positive and room-to-be-improved responsibilities they offer and collectively bring enhanced transparency to your store operations.

In order to measure employees, you need to begin with iden­tifying observable and tangible behaviors that model the values you want them to execute. This should be portrayed from your leadership team — ultimately teaching by example. These values may include some of the following behaviors.

Listen to Your Team

Demonstrating strong listening skills shows you expect the same in return. When communicating with your team, be sure to make eye contact, acknowledge concerns, summarize conversa­tions to ensure employees know you listened, and ask questions as needed.

This helps employees feel validated and heard — always an important value to team members — while also strengthening your understanding of these same conversations. Additional attributes to enhance listening include not interrupting others when they speak, avoiding facial expressions that portray judgment, and keeping additional tasks at bay instead of trying to multi-task to get things done. Stay focused so your team also learns to stay focused when having active conversations.

When you set the standards high for conversations, your employees will heighten their standards as well. An added benefit is this behavior is then mimicked through employee and cus­tomer conversations — a win that is certainly valued in any store. Lead by example.

Offer Time to Your Employees

Retailers are busy is an understatement. But rushing from one to-do list to the next responsibility without giving time to employees for their needs can take a toll on store health and employee wellbeing.

As each day passes, allocate time and assistance to employees to serve and meet their specific needs. It may be as simple as answering some questions, hearing ideas they have about inven­tory, or brainstorming about new marketing ideas they have for the store.

Of course, time-off requests, store struggles, colleague complaints, and more can sometimes fill this time. But all of it is important if it is important to your employees.

Challenge yourself to find this time – thinking of it also as a way to get another perspective to which you can relate. And then challenge your employees to share more through their communi­cation and time management as well.

Arrive on Time, Ready To Work

If you want your employees to walk into work ready to go, then you need to do this, too. Depending on your store culture and expectations, it may mean already having your coffee in hand versus preparing one or even walking to a local coffee spot once the clock starts. For others, it may mean being on the store floor versus the backroom when the scheduled time to work begins.

Whatever your definition of on-time looks like, set those standards and keep them noticeable. This paints the picture of employee expectations and allows you to reference these values in future employee reviews or meetings — reflecting on behaviors of others.

Another way to share these values is by creating a store-start checklist that is easily seen in your store’s backroom or other area employees frequent. It can be a friendly — but important — reminder checklist that keeps associates on track with store values for not only your start-of-schedule routine, but other daily goals, reminders, motivators, and more.

Demonstrate Inclusiveness

Want the hard truth of not-so-ideal retail leadership? Their own behaviors are not always positive, which can greatly impact the members of their team. Those behaviors include easily iden­tifying who they prefer — and even do not like — on their store teams.

Playing “favorites” among employees or notably having best friends within your team can trickle down and affect other employees negatively. You may also notice some employees have identified their own favorite peers, leaving others to feel less than welcomed. When you stand in the shoes of those who feel this way, how do you think it may impact their store performance?

Inclusiveness should be the desired approach to elevate team behavior. And this begins with store leadership ensuring that nothing but inclusivity will be tolerated for them and their entire store team.

Leading by example is key here. Addressing others who are not portraying positive relationships to the team is also essential. These can be tricky situations to fix, but if you avoid them happening entirely, that is the best approach to move ahead in your employee management.

Delegate Store Responsibilities

Georganne Bender, one half of the retail expert duo KIZER & BENDER, believes great leaders use delegation to ease store opera­tor responsibilities and boost employee morale.

“Loosen the reins a little and delegate. Too many independent store owners try and run the store all by themselves, but this leads to exhaustion on their part and frustrates store associates who want to do more,” Bender said.

If you want a store environment that has team-oriented values, then sharing responsibilities should be part of this strategy. Having trust in each person who delivers each respective responsibility is ideal.

However, this also means teaching your team to meet your expectations of tasks at hand. Be sure this is among your standards and then measure the performance of these tasks over time.

In Conclusion

By demonstrating the behaviors highlighted above, store leaders position themselves to start measuring the behaviors of their team. This should include regular one-on-one conversations designated to review store performance and employee contributions, as well as formalized reviews that ideally take place bi-annually but no less than once a year. Some business leaders prefer to do formal reviews quarterly, believing the more performance is measured, the higher the standards become.

Creating a report card like measurement system can be a great starting point for reviews. Being able to reference them again and again as each review passes will also provide clarity about employee growth, mishaps, opportunities, and more.

Remember, employee behavior can be measured. The catch is, unless you measure it, you cannot improve it. So, begin with your standards, then your own behavior, and finally your employee response to both. From there, start measuring your employee contributions to truly begin elevating employee — and store — success.

Nicole Leinbach is the founder of, a well-respected retail industry resource that has been recognized worldwide for its leading business insight since 2007. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, the UK’s Telegraph, CNN, the Today show, and countless other industry resources. Additionally, she has supported American Express’s Small Business Saturday as a spokesperson and is the author of the book Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business, published by McGraw-Hill. With a core concentration on small businesses and independent retailers, Leinbach welcomes you to connect via Instagram at @RetailMindedWorld and Twitter via @RetailMinded.