One of the challenges that companies in the retail industry struggle with is that of high employee turnover. This is a situation where the retail industry companies are simply unable to retain employees for long. If you check some retail industry company’s records, you will find that the average employee there works for something like six to eight months before leaving. This leaves the retail companies in a situation where they have to be always recruiting and training new employees to replace those who are always leaving. Yet as we all know, recruiting and training employees is a costly affair. Most companies would ideally prefer a situation where they don’t have to do it so often. In other words, most companies would prefer a situation where they experience lower levels of staff turnover. And the question that arises is as to what strategies the companies – especially those in the retail industry – can use to reduce employee turnover levels. That is the questions we will be attempting to address in this article.
Without further ado, if the businesses within the retail industry want to reduce employee turnover, they need to:
- Pay the employees reasonably well: One of the key reasons as to why employees tend to leave retail industry jobs is the feeling that they are being underpaid. In other words, the employees will tend to tell you that they felt that they were being subjected to ‘too much work for too little money’. Therefore if any company within the retail industry wants to retain its employees for long, it needs to figure out what a reasonable paycheck would look like. It needs to start by figuring out what the ‘living wage’ within the area it is operating in is. Then it needs to ensure that it pays its employees reasonably well as per those benchmarks. Otherwise you are likely to have a situation where the company’s staff would be always on the search for greener pastures. It is important to understand that when all is said and done, people primarily go to work in order to earn money. Whatever other employee retention strategies you put in place, if you don’t pay the people well, they will always be leaving for other industries where they can get better wages. Thus, if the retail industry is to retain its employees for longer, it needs to pay attention to this area. It needs to ensure that it is paying its employees salaries that are at least as good as what they would get in other industries. Otherwise the retail industry is likely to keep on losing its employees to those other industries, once the employees discover that they can earn better elsewhere.
- Supervise the employees in a respectful manner: Another major reason why employees tend to leave their jobs in the retail industry is in that they feel that they have been ‘disrespected’ by their supervisors. It is not a petty issue — because if you visit most retail industry stores and warehouses, you will tend to find that the supervisors are unnecessarily harsh to the employees. You visit some places and actually wonder how anyone is able to last there for a week, let alone months! It is therefore important to ensure that the supervisors are properly trained on how to get the employees to do their jobs without being harassed.
- Create reasonable working schedules for the employees: The retail industry is notorious for its difficult work schedules, and there are many employees who leave the industry when they are unable to cope with the said schedules. If businesses in the retail industry are to retain their employees for longer periods of time, they need to ensure that their work schedules are humane. And it is not just about getting the employees to work for reasonable amounts of time. It is also about ensuring that the workloads that the employees are subjected to during those periods are reasonable. So the idea is to ensure that the employees are not subjected to work schedules/workloads that are likely to induce either mental or physical burnout.
- Recruit the right people: The idea here is to hire people who are likely to treasure the jobs in the retail industry (as opposed to hiring people who are likely to view the retail jobs as ‘stop gap’ measures). You have to understand that in certain social circles, retail industry jobs are viewed as less prestigious. If individuals from such backgrounds have to work within the retail industry, they are likely to view it as a stop-gap measure – something they do while searching for ‘better work’ elsewhere. Yet if retail industry HR managers are careful in their interviews, they can always detect such attitudes in good time. This would include by posing questions on the potential employees’ career aspirations and listening keenly to the responses given. In a nutshell it is important for the retail business to ensure that they avoid hiring ‘overqualified’ individuals, as such individuals are unlikely to last long in their jobs. It is actually better to hire individuals who will require more training, but who are then likely to last longer in the jobs once they acquire the necessary skills.