The retail industry is nearly unrecognizable from what it was at the start of 2020. The pandemic wreaked havoc on retail businesses, forcing companies to cut employee hours, furlough staff, or lay off workers altogether. Although some frontline workers were deemed “essential,” few received pay or benefits increases when working during the worst of the Covid-19 outbreak. Those that weren’t deemed essential faced massive layoffs, which resulted in a 65% retail turnover rate in 2021.
After all, why should frontline retail workers choose to keep their job in-stores, when they can earn $13+ working fulfillment in an Amazon warehouse with less virus exposure? Modern retailers need to give employees a reason to stay with their company… especially right now. Let’s take a look at a few management strategies that retailers can implement to boost employee retention during this time of upheaval.
The Turnover Problem Has Peaked
The retail industry is rebounding from unprecedented retail unemployment, but the turnover issue is not new. Consider that 27% of employees across industries left their jobs in 2019, prior to the pandemic. But the annual turnover rate in 2020 was a jaw-dropping 57.3% — meaning significantly more retail employees left their jobs than kept them last year. There’s a common misconception that retail workers are replaceable, but this isn’t actually the case.