Retail is an industry that is constantly evolving, and one of the most critical aspects of success in this field is having a strong and effective workforce. With the rapid pace of technological advancements and changing consumer behaviors, workforce transformation has become essential for retail businesses to stay competitive and meet the evolving needs of their customers. A study by McKinsey indicates that nearly 63% of frontline retail managers are considering leaving their current jobs shortly, with a significant proportion expressing a desire to transition out of the retail industry. Attracting, recruiting, and developing talent is crucial for retail companies to thrive and stay competitive.
While there is no special formula for recruiting employees in the retail industry, adopting certain best practices can help overcome common recruitment challenges. So, what steps can be taken to attract top talent across different age groups, including Generation Z, millennials, and older employees, and prevent them from being lured by competitors’ offerings?
This blog will explore the challenges companies face while hiring the best retail employees and the best practices for attracting, recruiting, and developing a strong workforce in the retail industry.
The Struggles of Hiring the Best Talent in Retail
The retail industry faces several challenges when hiring good talent. Some of the major challenges are:
1. High competition for talent: The retail industry faces stiff competition from other industries regarding attracting and retaining talent. Candidates often have multiple job offers, making it difficult for retailers to hire talent fitting their needs.
2. High turnover rates: Retail has one of the highest turnover rates of any industry. High turnover rates make it challenging to attract and retain top talent.
3. Limited career growth opportunities: Retail jobs are often viewed as low-paying and needing more opportunities for career growth. This perception can make it difficult for retailers to attract and retain top talent, particularly those looking for long-term career opportunities.
4. Skills gap: The retail industry requires a diverse set of skills, including customer service, sales, inventory management, and technology expertise. However, finding candidates with the right skills can be challenging, particularly in an increasingly competitive job market.
5. Compensation and benefits: Retail jobs are often associated with low pay and limited benefits, making it difficult for retailers to attract and retain top talent. Retailers must find ways to offer competitive compensation and benefits packages to compete with other industries.
5 Best Practices to Recruit, Retain and Develop the Top Retail Talent
Here are some tips to help retail companies attract, retain, and drive workforce transformation towards the best talent for the retail industry.
1. Building a Compelling Employer Brand to Attract Top Talent
Establishing a strong employer brand enables companies to compete for top talent and establish their credibility. Companies with compelling employment brands generally experience lower turnover rates. This is particularly relevant in the retail industry, with a limited pool of high-quality candidates. Here’s what the retail industry can do to maintain a good employee brand:
- Having a robust Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and actively promoting it as an effective strategy to get into the good books of the candidates. An EVP encapsulates an organization’s values, mission, vision, and culture, serving as the backbone of an employment brand. The following aspects should be emphasized:
- Competitive compensation
- Work-life balance
- Growth potential
- Team camaraderie
- Diversity & inclusion
Moreover, promoting brand awareness across all channels ensures that candidates know an organization’s excellent work environment.
- Flexible scheduling is another useful strategy to foster employee loyalty. Flexible scheduling is a work arrangement that allows employees to have greater control over their work hours. It works well, especially in the retail sector, where operating hours differ greatly from the traditional 9-to-5 and require staffing at various times throughout the day. Therefore, emphasizing and prioritizing flexible scheduling is crucial.
2. Using AI and Social Media to Broaden the Recruitment Funnel
Recruiters in the retail industry manage the career-oriented social media accounts of their respective companies. These accounts disseminate information about job vacancies across Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook platforms. By adopting an AI-driven strategy in their recruitment efforts, recruitment managers can leverage tools like campaigns and chatbots to engage with ideal candidates, even those who are not actively seeking employment but may be enticed by an available job opportunity from the company.
3. Invest in Technology and Digital Skills Training
Investing in technology and digital skills training is crucial for the retail industry in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape. With the rise of eCommerce, mobile shopping, and online marketplaces, retailers must adapt to changing consumer preferences and behaviors. Retailers can empower their employees to keep pace with the latest industry trends and tools by providing learning and development programs that focus on technology and digital skills. Incorporating technology and digital skills training into L&D programs can provide employees with the knowledge and expertise to effectively navigate digital platforms, analyze data, manage online inventory, and optimize digital marketing strategies. This can help them stay ahead of the competition and drive better business results.
4. Empowering New Hires through Collaborative Learning
Newly hired employees require a quick learning curve, and the expertise and understanding of their more experienced counterparts can be highly valuable in this process. Qualtrics surveyed more than 11,800 full-time employees across 20 countries and discovered that having trust in senior leadership and access to learning and development opportunities were the primary factors influencing a sense of belonging. Additionally, personalized learning programs tailored to each employee’s needs and responsibilities are available, including easy-to-digest video content that can be accessed anytime and anywhere.
5. Focusing on the Career Development of Employees
Recruiters in the retail industry understand the importance of highlighting a retail company’s employee potential for professional growth to meet the daily evolving demands. They often incorporate visible messaging about career paths and training programs to attract top-performing candidates. This not only aids in attracting talent but also fosters a sense of loyalty and dedication to the company among employees, leading to lower turnover rates and increased productivity. Furthermore, this strategy contributes to developing a favorable employer brand image in the market.
The retail industry faces various challenges, such as high competition for talent, high turnover rates, limited career growth opportunities, skills gaps, and compensation and benefits. However, there are ways to overcome these challenges, including establishing a strong employer brand, using AI and social media to broaden the recruitment funnel, refocusing recruitment efforts, focusing on career development, and empowering new hires through collaborative learning. By adopting these best practices, retailers can attract, retain and develop top talent across different age groups, including Generation Z, millennials, and older employees, and stay competitive in the marketplace.