How to Decrease Employee Turnover in the Retail Industry

Introduction

In the management of a retail store, employees can really be the driving force of your business. This is especially true in fashion, as brand ambassadors and shop assistants can in time build rapport and relationships with your employee capable of impacting your loyalty and advocacy rates.

As evidence we should remind ourselves that retail stores follow the 80-20 rule, meaning that 80% of revenue comes from 20% of customers. If your employees are fostering relationships that come to an abrupt end, your clients may resent it.

The challenge however is that retail employees may have high turnover, and leave the job once the ‘honeymoon period’ ends. This can be harmful to your business because spending too much time attracting new talent can distract you from more pressing matters, and increase your costs connected to advertising new positions, recruiting and training new employees.

To help out, in this post we’ve decided to list 7 practical and actionable tips you can take into account as you develop your retention strategies so that your team will stick with you much longer, and together you can achieve great, long-term goals.

To help you navigate our post, here’s a quick breakdown of our article.

  1. Make Sure You Are Hiring the Right People
  2. Run Exit Interviews and Learn More About the Reasons that Make People Leave
  3. Make Sure Scheduling Does Not Create Excessive Conflict
  4. Make Sure that Good Employees are Recognized and Rewarded
  5. Make Sure the Company Ladder is Clear and Accessible
  6. Focus on Training and Skill Development
  7. Be on the Lookout for New Ways to Retain Your Employees
  8. Conclusions

1. Make Sure You Are Hiring the Right People

The process of retention starts at recruitment. Just like you manage your retail store keeping well in mind who your ‘customer profile’ is, make sure that you attract candidates which are well defined and correctly profiled. Choosing the traits to look for in your employees depends a lot on your company culture and your vision for the business, but if you want to create a team that is capable of achieving great long-term goals, then you need to know what are the values and ideas that will create a connection between you and your staff, just like among the staff members themselves.

The number one retention factor in business is connected to the relationships that employees develop at the workplace, so make sure the people you hire get along, share common values and see a bigger purpose in their job, that allows them to overcome the everyday challenges.

If you don’t use a well-structured, thought-through approach, you may end up with a team of individuals that will break up at the first crisis.

2. Run Exit Interviews and Learn More About the Reasons that Make People Leave

It will not always be clear why certain employees will leave. It’s necessary to be proactive on this end and take the time to run exit interviews. Exit interviews are meetings between businesses and employees where the leaving individual discusses the reasons to break up from the company. In many cases, the reasons can be entirely personal, or connected with factors beyond our control, but in some cases, there can be things we can do.

The goal of running these interviews is to create the most positive closing experience with our employees where we can talk about the contributions that the individual made to the business and wish him\her good luck for the future. At the same time, it’s an opportunity to collect data, in terms of seeing if there are any patterns that can show us if there are any additional issues below the surface that may prompt additional intervention, or disclose issues that you may not have been fully aware of.

3. Make Sure Scheduling Does Not Create Excessive Conflict

In retail, one of the biggest sources of friction is connected to shifts. In the management of shifts store managers need to make sure that every employee is treated equally, and that – as much as it’s possible – the store will try to set up shifts so that employees can find the best possible balance between their personal responsibilities and their work duties.

If the scheduling creates too much pressure and stress, employees will start perceiving their shifts negatively, and as a result, their motivation and morale will be much lower. In retail, however, it’s their energy, mood, and drive that often gets them to make the difference, and maintain a high level of energy is something that store managers should be responsible for. 

On this note, rewards and recognition for outstanding results is another element we should take into account to work on employee morale and retention.

4. Make Sure that Good Employees are Recognized and Rewarded

We already mentioned the value of company culture as one of the driving forces which connect employees to their workplace. However, our company culture should not only be a mission statement on the company website but something that you live by every day. In this sense, it’s necessary to make sure that the values of your business are experienced in the way in which you reinforce positive behavior.

If your employees achieve something remarkable, make sure you take time to notice it and to reward it, both emotionally and economically. Positive reinforcement can be something that really provides your team with great examples of how to deal with difficult situations, or how to thrive by being great at your job. 

At the same time, it’s necessary to enforce the company culture towards those who don’t align with it and risk creating a toxic work environment that damages the business and all of its assets. In this case, you should consider enforcing your company culture by firing the people who show disrespect for it and for the fellow employees.

5. Make Sure the Company Ladder is Clear and Accessible

If you are planning to retain your employees in the long run, you should have a clearly structured organigram with clear career goals. Your employees should be aware of the requirements that are connected to different roles and responsibilities so that they can plan their careers within the company and have a strong motivation to achieve certain qualifications or seniority levels.

Not many companies make this effort to help employees move internally through the steps of the organization, but it’s the case in many industries that those employees who showed resilience and went through the hierarchy of the organization are likely to become great managers. 

Going through the so-called “school of hard knocks” is very helpful to understand all the skills and professional dimension that go with running a business and that result in leaders capable of fully managing the complex processes of a firm.

6. Focus on Training and Skill Development

Many employees will be experiencing a strong connection to the business as long as they feel that they are learning about the business, and are developing their professional profile. However, sooner or later the job will stop having too many secrets for them, and this may cause a bit of a morale issue. If you are working with motivated employees, it’s necessary to keep them learning, so that they may see the organization not only as a place for work but also as a place for professional growth.

In this sense, it’s very important that you are providing opportunities for training so that new talents and skillsets can be developed and applied to your organization.  If employees feel that their employer is taking into account their potential to grow, this will definitely create a strong engagement and connection to the firm.

7. Be on the Lookout for New Ways to Retain Your Employees

These are a few suggestions to take into account, however as generations change and new talents enter the workforce, we should adapt to make sure that we update our vision so that it can be shared and joined by new mindsets and new individuals. This is very important because we can’t expect employees from different generations to respond to different benefits and ‘perks’.

If you care about employee retention you should always be on the lookout to identify new strategies and approaches that can be a good fit for your organization, so that you may be up to speed with all the best practices in the industry. 

This is ultimately what will create a great employer brand for your business and you’ll get to attract high-quality talent that will provide a great return on investment.

Great! Now that we’ve gone through our advice it’s time to wrap up our article and draw a few conclusions.

Conclusions

There you have it. Retaining great employees is a challenge all businesses face, especially in the current job market, which is much more liquid and flexible than in the past.
However, we should remind ourselves that it’s by taking time to assess how our business and its practices are aligned with our employees’ long-term goals, that we can see what initiatives may be implemented to maximize retention.

Not all businesses spend time on the problem of employee retention and as a result, they end up encombering their organization with unnecessary talent hunting only to see their best and more promising talents leave. It’s therefore paramount that we develop a strong awareness of what it takes to build long-term partnerships with our employees and what our organizational culture should look like in order to attract staff that is fitting the right type of profile.

To summarise what we’ve discussed in this post:

  • Have a clear idea of the profile you need before you start recruiting so that you will have stronger chances of investing time and effort in the right individuals.
  • Make sure you leave “no stone unturned” if you sense that there may be elements disrupting the safety and comfort of your workspace.
  • Be respectful of your employees’ work-life balance and be mindful of the commitments and responsibilities they have outside of work so that they may see the workplace as an environment that is aligned with their values.
  • If employees stand out for the quality of their work, make sure you are taking notice make sure to provide proportional rewards, so that this type of behavior can be positively reinforced and showcased as an example to follow.
  • Make sure that your employees are aware of the opportunities that the company may provide to the most talented and hard-working. If a job does not foresee any further opportunity, employees will leave it to pursue a more rewarding long-term career option.
  • Many employees will start thinking about looking for new opportunities once they realize that they have learned all there is to learn about the job. Spend time and money to make sure your employees always have an opportunity to learn new skills and talents, that apply to the work they are doing.
  • Keep in mind that everyone is out to recruit your best employees, if you want to keep them, make sure you are doing your part to make your firm a great place to work.

That’s it! We hope you found our post useful, and don’t hesitate to take a look below and see if you can find any additional sources which may help you address your retail needs!

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How to Decrease Employee Turnover in the Retail Industry In this post, we'll look into 7 tips to help you manage employee retention in your retail store and help you attract talent.
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