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In our recent Store Manager Report, we learned retail store managers are highly dissatisfied with their jobs. To determine this, we used the Employee Net Promoter System®, to ask more than 1,000 store managers across 17 retail segments, “On a scale of zero to ten, how likely is it you would recommend this company as a place to work?”

From there, we divided the responses into 3 categories:

Detractors (0-6), Neutrals (7-8), and Promoters (9-10)

Then calculated eNPS:

eNPS = % Promoters (9s & 10s) – % of Detractors (0s-6s)

A negative eNPS indicates that employees are detractors, meaning they are unsatisfied with their job, the company, or both. A positive eNPS score indicates the opposite – that employees are promoters and are engaged with the job and the brand.

Here’s how the top 5 retail segments responded:


Digging deeper, store managers reported that their main sources of job frustration included misalignment with corporate and the inability to prioritize and achieve corporate goals. One respondent said, “Corporate has lost touch with us and what we have to deal with.”

So why is employee satisfaction so important to your brand? For one, it directly affects customer relationships, as illustrated by the “Promoter Flywheel”:


In addition to promoting positive customer interactions, the happiest store managers in our survey feel twice as aligned to corporate, feel that communication between corporate and stores is efficient, and feel four times more likely than detractors that their opinions are valued and that their voice is being heard.

Here’s what you can do to help:

1. Get a baseline.

Conduct your own eNPS survey to determine if your store managers are detractors or promoters, and to what degree. Square Root is happy to help with this effort, and can offer benchmarking against the national survey (email me at for details). From there, you can see what makes your store managers tick, and put together strategic improvement plans.

2. Empower store managers with the right tools.

The majority of store operations technology spending is focused to customer experience (rightly so!) However, that leaves your store and district managers to operate with antiquated or inadequate tools. In fact, the top tools used to manage store operations are paper and printouts, spreadsheets, and email (and many store managers don’t even have a corporate email address). Investing in a Store Relationship Management platform can help align communication and best practices, focus your team on the right metrics, and track actions.

3. Trust them to get the job done.

According to the survey, store managers often feel micromanaged and feel that corporate doesn’t understand them or have their best interests in mind. As W. Edwards Deming said, “Nobody goes to work to do a bad job.” This is true for your store managers. They love serving customers, and often know what’s best for the stores they manage. Listening to them and learning from them will go a long way in empowering them to do their best work, and raise their job satisfaction.


In our survey, more than 1000 store managers shared what it’s like to be on the front lines of retail. Interested in learning what they had to say? Download our Store Manager Report to see more and and see how you can overcome the gaps between corporate offices and store managers.