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How retailers can make front-line employment attractive and retain valuable staff members

How retailers can make front-line employment attractive and retain valuable staff members

Insight Oct 3, 2022 at 9:59am

Post-pandemic, the retail industry has seen a growing number of resignations, reaching an all-time high last year. The current retail attrition is on the minds of most retailers. Given the current economic climate, we thought it suiting to take a closer look at the facts and figures. Coupled with ways retailers can make front-line employment more attractive.

Read the below Snapshot to gain further insights into how retailers can make front-line employment attractive and retain valuable staff members.

How retailers can make front-line employment attractive and retain valuable staff members

A recent survey done by YOOBIC found that last year alone over 4 million people handed in their notice per month…yes, you read that correctly, per month! The retail and hospitality industry taking the most impact from this mass exodus.

YOOBIC surveyed over 1,400 front-line workers in the UK, Canada, and France. This survey aimed to find out the biggest challenges they are facing. Moreover, what they want most from their employees is to feel motivated and valued in their roles.

It has always been thought that when it comes to retail jobs most employees want to only stick around for the short term. This notion seems to have been debunked in the findings by YOOBIC. Although hospitality and retail jobs are more appealing for short term work, it was noted that most of the workforce are wanting to stay for 4 or more years. This begs the question, well then what is the reason for them leaving?

How retailers can make front-line employment attractive and retain valuable staff members

Why are employees deciding to resign?

One of the key factors for employees resigning is down to pure exhaustion. It has been estimated that one fifth (21%) of the UK’s retail frontline staff have reported that they feel so exhausted at the end of every working day that they don’t enjoy their time away from work.

Although employers having fought to meet customer needs throughout the challenges the pandemic threw at them, frontline employees say that their needs seemed to have fallen by the whey side in the process. The continued lack of labour has increased the demand on employed staff. This has lead to 47% of employees describing that being short staffed at their place of work is one of the biggest challenges they face.

It was estimated that over half of UK retail workers describe their job demands and the work load expected as being worse than the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The survey highlights the majority (81%) of retail workers want to feel supported by management. It's estimated that only half (53%) are satisfied with the support they currently get.  Only 10% of the individuals surveyed say their employers have offered new tools or technology to make work easier. So, to put it simply, employees need to feel invested in.

The key points when deciding to resign are:

  • Feeling undervalued. Not getting any recognition for contribution and efforts.
  • Feeling overloaded. Having to take on additional work due to the lack of staff.
  • Being determined to grow but feeling stagnant in their company. Not feeling like their organisation is willing to invest in them.
  • Disconnected to the organisation. Feeling like they are not seen by management and no effort made to build a professional relationship.
  • Burnt out.  Feeling like management don’t care about their mental health.

Yes, the incentive of a pay rise would always be welcomed and appreciated, but this alone doesn’t suffice. With the awareness of the amount of time spent in your job, employees need more than just a good salary to feel job satisfaction and want to stay with their employer.

So, just how can retailers make front-line employment attractive and retain valuable staff members?

1: Invest in better tools

One option is to invest in better tools to help employees manage the workload. It’s not always as simple as employing more staff, so look to tech resources available to assist you employees. Task management apps are a great resource to help lighten and manage the workload. Digitising and Centralising processes will also help avoid confusion and mistakes occurring. Using one platform to create a more streamline way of working, will avoid having to switch back and forth from one platform to another i.e.: back and forth from excel to checklists.

2: Ask for feedback and thoughts

Speak to your employees to find out what tasks and processes they spend too much time on. Find out what they feel could be managed more effectively. Finding out what tasks they enjoy doing also helps with understanding ways to adapt their roles to give them a more pleasurable experience.

3: Offer development opportunities

Learning and job satisfaction go hand in hand. Offering skills-based learning gives employees the ability to grow professionally. They might not have had these opportunities in their personal capacities. These opportunities for growth will show them that their development is of value to you and your organisation. Show them exactly how they can progress in the company. Do this by outlining the options available and what exactly they need to do to achieve their career goals.

4: Make employees feel valued

Who doesn’t want to feel like their contribution is valued? An easy way to do so is by sharing positive information about them – to them. Customer reviews, or even instore commentary can help boost esteem and make an employee feel valued. Look to inspire your employees by offering incentives. Options could be team prizes, bonuses for excellent work or even creating various categories and offering awards every month to those who excel in the categories outlined. A great way to build moral and make employees feel valued is by scheduling a team building activity. Even a few after work drinks to help show them that they are part of a team that values them.

5: Create a workplace community

It’s noted in the YOOBIC survey that Management and HQ are failing to create a fully connected workplace community. Establishing transparency from the top-down helps create a sense of connection and feeling of trust within an organisation. Offering tools and platforms for employees to hear updates on company developments and allow for their feedback offers staff comfort in knowing they are part of the organisational community. With personal mobile devices being the preferred tool for discussion, create a work chat to allow for individual to correspond with all team members on and set up social working environments to allow for a work community to be created.

6: Make your employees mental health a priority

By regularly checking in through group chats and one-to-one meetings employers can build relationships with their employees and get to understand how they are coping in the workplace. Being proactive in knowing where employees need extra help will make them feel supported in the workplace. Although having group chats on personal mobile devices is great, there is a fine line between community chats and interfering in personal time. Make sure to keep work messaging between work hours to avoid employees feeling like there is not a cut off from work and personal time.

What can we take from all this?

To ensure your front-line employees are guaranteed work satisfaction in their roles, making front-line employment attractive to retain valuable staff members, it is crucial to re-evaluate the strategies you currently have in place.

Look at your task management tools and streamline your processes. Make sure that you are not overloading employees and give them sufficient breaks during working hours. Give your employees a voice and make their opinions important and valid within your organisation. Look at your workplace community, do you have one? If you don’t, look at group chats, team building days and social working time slots. Be cautious to not intrude into personal hours with messaging and emails to make sure that work feels like it has a cut off time. Make your employees mental health a priority. Post pandemic conditions have caused global stress and this impacts everyone differently. Making sure you check in regularly and get to know what your staff need help with is a great way to show your support.

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