Retail Reality Check: Employee Retention Is Not What It Used to Be…

October 17, 2018

by Nancy Boas

Shutterstock 651828943

Here are three tips to help you retain employees.

With unemployment at historic lows, it’s no surprise that employees are more confident than ever before. The reality is, employers are no longer able to just retain employees so that they have a ‘job’ but instead, they must aim to elevate employees so that those same associates actually want that ‘job’. After all, the job market provides more options than ever before and it’s important for your company to be among the employers that people want to confidently work for.

Taking action to engage your workforce is among the most valuable steps in attracting and retaining employees. Historically, employers did this through identifying when employees should work, who specifically should work at certain times and why some hours were more staffed than others. Collectively, these efforts were made to both support the employers in their operations and the employees in their working hours. Yet the human touch in this process can be both exhausting and inaccurate – ultimately creating disenchanted employees and missed business opportunities. Through artificial intelligence and machine learning, however, these historic weaknesses are now strengths for retailers small and large alike.

Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, retailers need to embrace the reality of employee retention and thus, embrace new ways to manage their workforce. To help, consider the 3 tips below.

Tip #1: Reflect on past sales, store traffic, historic weather patterns and seasonal influences to plan future employee staffing.

Thanks to Legion’s AI and machine learning technologies, retailers can better identify future work demands, more accurately manage labor needs and take more control over hourly employee management. Additionally, the platform can identify which employees are best suited to support retailers at the peak times based upon their past sales as well as the employee’s work preferences. Collectively, this offers retailers a more streamlined scheduling experience while also providing more payroll spend efficiency. From an employee’s perspective, this also shows that the retailer takes pride in employee engagement and wants what is best for both the store and the employees alike.

Tip #2: Allow employees to own their schedule preferences.

Let’s face it – today’s modern employees and employers alike use their mobile phones for more than just making calls. Keeping this in mind, empowering your employees to easily adjust their schedules and make updates to their scheduling preferences in the palm of their hands is a perk that every employee will appreciate. Introducing an easy-to-use mobile app – such as Legion offers – is a great way to give employees a sense of ownership while also easing some of the store managers’ daily rescheduling headaches. This sense of control is not only satisfying to employees – but also beneficial in both time and expense to retailers.

Tip #3: Embrace local labor laws and unique staffing policies to better support your employee management. 

Beyond past sales, store traffic, seasonal influences and weather, retailers need to also consider the fine-print details of local staffing laws and other labor-generated data that impacts staffing. Through technology-driven insight, retailers can trust that these details are considered in the schedules – ultimately allowing merchants to confidently match employees with demand based upon their unique business needs. Employees appreciate these efforts, as well, which helps boost employees retention thanks to more informed staffing decisions.

The current challenges facing retailers are grand when you factor in the competitive marketplace that consumers have to navigate to make a purchase. But grand challenges need not get in the way of retailers anymore when it comes to employee management. By welcoming artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities into your employee management, retailers can also welcome stronger employee retention thanks to the unique benefits that powerful technology can offer.

About our Guest Author

Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is the founder and publisher of Retail Minded, the co-founder of the Independent Retailer Conference and has contributed to publications and companies that include IBM, Fiverr, Forbes and more. Additionally, Reyhle is the author of the book Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business from McGraw-Hill and has been the spokesperson for Small Business Saturday from American Express since 2014. Follow Reyhle on Twitter at @RetailMinded