The retail work is typically portrayed as a revolving door with employees staying for a short period of time and then moving on to something else. In such an environment, the costs of turnover become an unquestioned part of doing business. Researching on it, it has been discovered some findings that contradicts the commonly held perspective that retail employees represent an unavoidable turnover cost
The retail work is typically portrayed as a revolving door with employees staying for a short period of time and then moving on to something else. In such an environment, the costs of turnover become an unquestioned part of doing business. If an employee leaves the company, you must replace them, which takes valuable time. As you may already know, finding a new employee could cost you thousands of euros as I report in my recent post The importance of scheduling for employee engagement the employee replacement costs up to 4.000$ (3.600€)!
Yet, data from the National Study of the Changing Workforce , suggests turnover is not so common—48% of retail employees report they are not “very likely” to make a genuine effort to find a new job within the next year. When asked how long they plan to stay with their current employer, retail employees who are not “very likely” to find a new job in the next year indicate that they plan to stay an average of 11.2 years before making a genuine attempt to change employers. These findings contradict the commonly held perspective that retail employees represent an unavoidable turnover cost.
The intention to change employers varies among retail employees based on a variety of factors and workplace conditions, including several measures of workplace flexibility and schedules satisfaction.
Particularly in the retail sector due to the wide extension of store opening times, the importance of the customer experience, and the variable workload depending on the customer visits, are specially important the work environment, scheduling and workload.
Before we investigate the issue of turnover, it is important to know who the retail workforce is and how are they compare to the workforce in other industries.
Our research reveals a number of significant differences between retail employees and employees in other industries.
Firstly, those in retail are less likely to have achieved a degree beyond high school and are less likely to be living with a spouse or partner.
Secondly, and perhaps most important, retail employees are more likely to include those at both ends of the generational spectrum—that is, the youngest and oldest employees:
Overall, their average age is younger (36 years old) than the average age of employees in other industries (41 years old).
On average, retail employees who are not very likely to leave their employer in the next year, expect to stay with their employer for the next 11.2 years. This is a much longer tenure than what might be expected in what is typically seen as a high turnover industry.
When we examine the demographics of retail employees in relation to turnover, we see differences that begin to tell the story of long-term retail employees.
These findings indicate that employees who have regular or predictable and reliable schedules, and a sufficient number of work hours to provide a steady income are more likely to plan to stay in their jobs for a longer period of time.
These two factors may also help explain why employees in some firms that take care of their employee schedules are more likely to stay for a significant number of years. We cannot forget that for hourly employees, their schedules are among their highest concerns.
In the National Study of the Changing Workforce, they asked employees who are not “very likely” to leave their job in the next year to tell us in their own words, “Why would you decide to leave your current employer?” When we look at retail employees and the reasons they give, we find that they are more likely than employees in other industries to give the following reasons:
The first reason can be solved easily by increasing salaries, but just with higher salaries. However, a higher salary will only retain employees for a short period of time, afterward you will have again an unhappy employee if their working environment and schedules don’t satisfy them. The second reason is hard to solve, and you will accept this employee as lost. But the third reason is the one that once solved it, can generate a more lasting employee satisfaction, without forgetting that additionally it can generate a better business performance.
We find that the availability of several workplace and the flexibility options, in conjunction with some control over the schedules is positively linked with retail employees’ intentions to remain with their current employer.
Below, we include those flexibility items that are statistically significant among retail employees who are not “very likely” to look for a new job in the next year.
High levels of overall access to flexibility are associated with longer intended tenure. Not surprisingly, retail employees who have supervisors who support them in managing their work and personal or family lives and who are satisfied with their jobs are more likely to plan to stay longer with their employers.
Additionally to the flexibility if we talk about workload, no one likes a stressful workload due to a bad scheduling that doesn’t predict customer visits with precision. Any employee expects the store staff schedule to be smartly generated, taking into account a customer visits forecast, a scheduling at store, more employees at peak times, and expects to avoid stressful workload for a undersized store staff structure. Employees who frequently suffer stressful workloads are more likely to leave their company.
Implementing a smart scheduling process that seeks to archive all previous points that help to reach a satisfied employee with their schedules, in addition to search a high performance of the store team can be quite a juggling act for store manager. Smart scheduling with a performance based approach is quite complex to do it manually without tools.
Nowadays there are new solutions on the market that were designed specifically to generate smart scheduling that satisfies employee and business. These solutions give to employee access to their schedules via mobile devices, request time off via smartphone, change their availability and many more, all without forgetting the best performance for the store, and the most appropriate distribution of staff hours with the potential customer visits.
Using Artificial Intelligence and advanced Machine Learning can turn inputs such as customer footfall history and employee preference into powerful outputs like smart schedules that fit perfectly the employee preference with the best business performance.
Smarter workforce management solutions unite predictive and prescriptive analytics providing automatically schedules to accomplish opposed goals like Increase employee satisfaction, increase sales and reduce labor cost.
In sum, there are softwares that help to improve substantially the employee satisfaction. Paying attention to how work environments, scheduling and flexibility options affect employees at different stages in their life and careers can make retail work a long-term choice for many employees.
C007/20-ED. 2020 call for aid on technological development based on artificial intelligence and other digital enabling technologies within the framework of the strategic action of the digital economy and society of the state R&D program.