In the business management classic Good to Great, author Jim Collins highlights the importance of “getting the right people on the bus.” As any store manager can tell you, hiring the right associates is only the first hurdle. Once you get those good people on the bus, how do you keep them engaged and motivated?

The internet is full of tips and tricks on how to motivate employees. But the nuances of staff management in the retail environment shouldn’t be overlooked.

It’s important to remember that the good store associates you’ve hired want to do well. They want to improve their selling skills, bring positive energy to the sales floor, and hit store sales goals. But there’s often a gap between wanting to perform and actually performing. In retail, store managers need to show good employees how to be great.

The challenge with selling in retail is that human instinct can actually lead to less-than-optimal sales performance. How many times have you seen an enthusiastic new employee greet a customer with a cheerful, “Hi! Can I help you?” Regardless of the delivery, the most common response is usually the dead end, “Thanks, I’m just looking.” Dead ends, heard over and over, can demoralize a team member. Without the right training and feedback, it can take associates weeks or even months to realize that engaging customers with short, informative statements works significantly better than dead-end questions.

Empowering store associates with easily digestible training helps keep motivation up and generates better store results. A short video reinforcing key selling skills—from balancing multiple customers, to mirroring, to effective engagement strategies—can elevate performance almost immediately. Whether your store uses individual attribution or group selling, showing store associates “what good looks like” clarifies expectations and eliminates guesswork.

Pairing effective sales training with data-driven feedback amplifies the impact on both staff motivation and same-store sales. As they say, numbers don’t lie. When manager feedback is grounded in objective data rather than anecdotes, performance conversations are transformed from lectures into positive, solution-oriented exchanges. Associates are empowered to take ownership of their own development and drive better results. Just as importantly, associates can trust that they’re being evaluated on fair, unbiased metrics rather than favoritism.

In the fast-paced retail environment, real-time (or nearly real-time) feedback is critical to keeping motivation high. With a platform like Blueday, associates can access their individual or team performance page with a few taps on a store tablet. Benchmarking and leaderboard data help motivate staff without any legwork (or lecturing) from store managers.

At the end of a shift, your associates want to hear, “Great job today!” and believe it, based on data that backs it up. With relevant training and feedback grounded in metrics, retailers can foster a culture of continuous improvement—and keep their best people on the bus.