The retail industry is bedeviled with poor staff commitment, with players having to turnover employees more often than its desired. In an online survey I chanced on, findings suggested that the two main challenges retailers face are sales performance, representing 29.55 percent, and hiring quality staff, representing 27.27 percent, with other issues such as communication, merchandising, staff scheduling, etc. taking the smaller percentages.
Retailers would most often conveniently fill their vacant positions in no time because of the obvious chunk of unemployed youth, but give it a few months and the positions return to their vacant state once again. High staff turnover, coupled with poor work conduct negatively impacts the retailers’ urge to remain profitable and provide quality service to customers.
Here are 5 remedies to help curtail this menace of high turnover of employees in the retail sector
1. Regularly train & Develop your Staff
Training is the most essential tool to adequately prepare the minds and equip new and existing employees to first understand the peculiarities of the retail industry and further appreciate challenges of working in it. Most naïve and young school leavers may be attracted to the industry because of the excitement of working within a modern shopping mall or on the local high street. However, the only training that most retailers may offer such employees is a 1 or 2 day orientation on assumption of work.
With the obvious reason, been the high employee turnover, retailers are reluctant to invest in formal training of employees. There is however a higher risk of showcasing untrained staff on the shop floor to offer service to todays’ discerning customer. They end up performing poorly; get reprimanded harshly, and then exit. This situation begins the vicious cycle of poor training and poor performance, leading to high turnover.
As a fast growing industry, retailers should replicate players in industries such as the banking & financial services who focus on offering regular training to employees on new trends and developments.
2. Effective Communication
How do you see the performance of your outlet in the next 3 to 5 years? What is the purpose of your existence as a retailer? Operations of retailers should be guided by their vision and mission and secondly effectively communicated to each employee. Never underestimate the ability of your young employees to promote the vision of your business through their performance. Secondly, effective communication of rules, policies, and job expectations to your employees is critical to ensure employees are well informed about relevant matters that concern work. Such communication should be on a regular basis, and usually forms a blueprint for behavior pattern for your employees. Though not an automatic tool to ensure staff stability and a positive attitude, familiarity with rules as spelt in your policy documents and regularly communicated remains potent in building a desirable culture.
3. Attractive Pay and Incentive Packages
Retailers should offer attractive pay packages to ensure employees feel valued, and to combat high turnover. I have provided service to a retailer who has understood this provision well, and offers an attractive reward package. The retail outlet has an impressive number of loyal employees, and has retained some staff for more than a decade. Though not the norm in our local retail sector, it is possible to gain employee loyalty when they are offered competitive wages and other attractive rewards. On the other hand, I have also been exposed to other retailers who face the reality of high staff turnover constantly because they do not offer even the most basic need of a paid holiday to staff.
Retail work is physically strenuous, especially on the customer facing shop floor, and usually comes with long and unfriendly hours of work. Though some employees may not come in with sound academic feats, offering attractive perks such as employee of the month scheme and year end bonuses could be a motivational tool to curb the high rate of staff turnover.
4. Recognition & Respect of staff; let their voices be heard
Have a good listening ear and give opportunity for all staff to air their views. As much as possible take in feedback and suggestions from employees and implement the laudable ideas. This will create an atmosphere of recognition and respect in your outlets, hence fostering positive employee attitude and loyalty.
Do not belittle some employees into thinking their opinions are not welcome. This breeds a culture of silence and a poor work attitude.
5. Atmosphere of Cordiality & Equality for all
Avoid biasness and favoritism. Handle issues with fairness, and do not take sides when conflicts arise. Also implement a fair and transparent reward system. Always ensure staff remuneration is fair across board and no hidden favors are been granted to some employees.
Retailers may not have absolute control over the rate of movement of their staff from one job post to another but they have a role to play in ensuring job satisfaction and security for all staff. This could curtail the prevalent poor staff commitment and high staff turnover in the industry.
About the Author
Amma is a Lead Consultant and trainer with M-DoZ Consulting. Kindly contact her on 0201196080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or contribution.