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, some findings has been discovered that contradict the commonly held perspective that retail employees represent an unavoidable turnover cost
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 to replace them, which takes ad spend and valuable man hours. As you may already know, finding a new hourly employee could run 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 , suggest turnover is not so commonplace—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 dependent of the customer visits, are specially important the work environment, scheduling and workload.
WHO IS THE RETAIL WORKFORCE?
Before we investigate the issue of turnover, it is important to know who the retail workforce is and how they compare with the workforce in other industries.
Our research reveals a number of significant differences between all retail employees and employees in other industries.
First, 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.
Second, 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:
- 39% of retail employees are under 28 years old (Gen Y) compared with 20% of employees in other industries.
- 7% of retail employees are over 60 year old (Matures), compared with 3% of employees in other industries.
Overall, their average age is younger (36 years old) than the average age of employees in other industries (41 years old).
HOW LONG DO RETAIL EMPLOYEES PLAN TO STAY WITH THEIR EMPLOYER? WHAT FACTORS AFFECT RETENTION?
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 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.
WHAT REASONS DO RETAIL EMPLOYEES GIVE FOR PLANNING TO LEAVE THEIR CURRENT EMPLOYER?
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:
- Want / need to earn more 17% versus 10% other industries
- Want work that is more meaningful, better reflects my values, or makes a difference to society (5% versus 1%)
- Want more flexibility, predictable and smart schedules to manage work, personal and family demands (8% versus 2%)
The first reason can be solved easily increasing salaries, but just with higher salaries, you will retain employees in a short time, afterward you will have again an unhappy employee if their working environment and schedules don’t satisfied them. The second reason is difficult to solve, and you will accept this employee as lost. But the third reason is the ones that solved it can generate a more lasting employee satisfaction, without forgetting that additionally it can generate a better business performance.
HOW DOES SMART SCHEDULES AND FLEXIBILITY OPTIONS AFFECT RETENTION?
We find that the availability of several workplace 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.
- Employee feels control about their schedules, having possibility to change their availability in some days easily.
- Employee have possibility to express shift preference
- Employee can take some time off during work day to take care of personal or family matters
- Employees can change easily theirs shift with others fellows
- Employees can easily to set up their day offs.
- The distributions of less desired schedules are balanced and fair
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 flexibility if we talk about workload, no ones like stressful workload due to a bad scheduling that no predicts customer visits with precision. Any employee expect that store staff schedules are smartly generated taking into account potential customer visits forecast, scheduling at store, more employees at peak times, and avoiding stressful workload for a undersized store staff structure. Employees who frequently suffer stressful workloads are more likely to leave their company
HOW WE CAN IMPROVE SCHEDULES TO GIVE TO EMPLOYEE THE DESIRED FLEXIBILITY AND CONTROL OVER THEIR SCHEDULES?
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 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 satisfy employee and business. These solutions give to employee access to their schedules via mobile devices, request time off via smartphone, change their available 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.
The smarter workforce management solutions unite the state of the art in predictive and prescriptive analytics providing automatically schedules to accomplish opposed goals like Increase employee satisfaction, increase sales and contain labor cost.
In sum, actually there are technology and software that help to improve substantially the employee satisfaction. 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.
If you desire to read more articles about staff scheduling issues and how advanced analytics can help, you should register to our linkedin group “Performance Based Approach” or visit the blog section in our website (www.orquest.es)