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David Morton, managing director of Rapport Communications, said the British retail industry must take a new direction if it is to attract, retain and motivate staff. Speaking at the British Council for Shopping Centres’ annual management conference in Warwick said, ‘Retailers don’t have a reputation for paying the highest wages which can have a double-negative impact. Staff don’t feel rewarded for the challenge and management can overlook the talents that their existing workforce may have.’

Morton also believes employee attitude should be a growing area of concern.’You can spot the dysfunctional behaviour,’ he said. ‘The next time you are in a store and someone says “Have a nice day” or something similar, see if that attitude reaches their eyes. Most times it doesn’t and when the belief is gone what they are actually saying is “Have a naff day.” Customers get that message pretty quickly.’

According to Morton, one of the best ways to improve staff attitudes is through an active and corporate communication programme that points out the intended landmarks and destinations on the management map. ‘You need staff to have a clear vision of where the company is going in order for them to share in that vision,’ he said.

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