Mar 31, 2017

Three ways to include employee engagement in your retail spring cleaning routine

With spring cleaning season at the door, retailers should look beyond tidying storefronts to get organized. The spring season is a great time for retailers to reorganize their workforce management practices before the summer seasonal hiring wave hits. Employee engagement platforms not only help improve customer experience and business profitability, but also get employees and employers on the same page. This keeps scheduling orderly and consistent, creating an environment in which workers feel valued.

One of the key issues retail employers face today is the lack of employees who feel valued, leading to high turnover rates. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, turnover in the retail industry during 2016 totaled 60.1 million, counting quits, layoffs and other separations. Multiply this number by the time and money employers spend onboarding and offboarding employees and it becomes clear that turnover is significantly damaging industry revenues. Retailers are aware that turnover is common, but they often find it difficult to address the issue; WorkJam’s study found that 78% of retail managers who set turnover goals have trouble meeting them.

To avoid an outflow of talent, retail employers should bring workforce management and employee engagement to the forefront of their business strategy. Here are three steps retailers can take to clean up their engagement practices and prioritize their employees this spring:

  1. Implement better shift management measures: Disorganized scheduling is one of the key enterprise problems that leaves retail workers searching for other jobs. And as a WorkJam study found, 18 to 25-year-olds – who comprise a large amount of today’s hourly workforce – are more than twice as likely as their 46 to 60-year-old counterparts to quit their hourly job due to inconsistent scheduling. Yet as the same WorkJam study revealed, more than two-thirds of companies said scheduling efficiently is a big challenge. Retailers can surmount this challenge by abandoning manual scheduling methods in favor of shift management software, which introduces an easy solution to accommodating individual employee schedules.
  2. Institute a rewards and recognition program: As a retail employee, what’s the point of performing at a high level if your work consistently goes unrecognized? By putting a recognition and rewards program in place – one that tracks key performance metrics and recognizes achievements based on the results – retailers introduce a significant incentive for engaged job performance and enhanced motivation.
  3. Listen to – and act on – employee feedback: Perhaps the most significant way retailers can drive worker retention is by gathering and meaningfully responding to their feedback. When retailers have feedback mechanisms in place, they immediately demonstrate the sense of respect for their workforce that, as management coach Victor Lipman points out, is integral to keeping staff engaged. But it’s not enough to simply ask for employee feedback; employers must be prepared to make changes based on it as well.

The cost of turnover is significant – $4,000 on average to replace a single worker, according to figures from the Institute for Research Labor and Employment. But as Gallup research has revealed, employee engagement can drive down employee turnover by up to 65 percent. By following the steps outlined above, retail leaders can demonstrate the sense of commitment to their workforce that will keep turnover low and job satisfaction high.

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