Out of Fashion: Why Turnover in Retail is So High, and What to Do About it
While the average employee turnover for all U.S. industries is around 19 percent, the average turnover rate in the retail industry is just above 60 percent, according to the National Retail Federation. This equates to a continual cycle of rehiring and retraining, with negative impact to retailers’ bottom lines.
There are numerous possible reasons why retailers experience such high employee churn, from burnout due to long shifts and relatively lower pay, to poor onboarding, or the somewhat nomadic nature of the occupation itself. For those workers who do have a higher commitment to retail positions, many in field locations can often feel disconnected to headquarters’ vision and plan. Or they may simply fail to see the potential for upward promotion and their value to the organization.
Retailers that wish to retain workers should keep a pulse on job satisfaction levels, including grievances about working conditions or corporate practices. The ability to capture feedback about the employee experience, including identifying problems and making a proactive effort to address them, can go a long way in keeping good workers in place. In fact, such a “listening program” communicates to personnel that they're valued and their opinions respected.
Employee surveys are a natural way to poll worker likes and dislikes about their jobs. And while anonymity can be used so that workers are more likely to be honest in their responses without fear of reprisal, issues can still be tied to specific management policies, departments or store locations.
When implementing employee experience surveys, retailers should practice the following:
- Poll regularly. Due to the higher rate of employee churn in retail, it’s important to survey worker satisfaction levels frequently, since the employee who was there in the spring might not be the same one there today. Not to mention, variables such as management changeovers and seasonal business challenges can quickly cause shifts in job satisfaction.
- Keep it short. Collecting just a few data points per survey will increase participation and reduce drop-off rates, while also letting workers know that you value their time. And if you plan to poll workers regularly, keeping questions to a minimum will help respondents avoid survey fatigue.
- Make it mobile friendly. When you’re talking about retail jobs, you’re quite often talking about millennials. They’re an extremely online-connected generation that spends a lot of their time on their smartphones — about 5.7 hours per day. Make sure the survey technology you choose is omnichannel, meaning that it has the ability to deliver surveys in multiple ways, including mobile.
All organizations want to hire and retain the best workers. Having a continual communication loop that lets retailers measure employee satisfaction not only reduces the costs and challenges of rehiring and retraining, but can also extend to better customer experiences. This is because when employees are happier in their work environments they tend to be better engaged in their jobs, and thus provide a higher level of service.
Consider implementing regular surveys as a fast and automated way to measure the worker experience.
Sumit Aneja serves as chief executive officer at Voxco, a global leader in omnichannel cloud and on-premise feedback management solutions.
Sumit Aneja serves as Chief Executive Officer at Voxco, a global leader in omnichannel cloud and on-premise feedback management solutions. Sumit brings strong research and entrepreneurial leadership to Voxco through his experience founding companies and working at IMF and Bank of America. He holds an MBA from Yale University, an MS in Financial Engineering from Claremont Colleges, and a BTech in Electrical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College. Voxco provides global corporations, market research organizations, government & government agencies, and universities with a platform to collect and analyze data anytime and anywhere via online and mobile surveys, over-the-phone interviews, or face-to-face offline surveys. Founded over 45 years ago and with offices around the world, Voxco services more than 450 clients in over 40 countries.