Retail Experience

15 Apr 2023

Technologies for Hiring, Managing, and Empowering the Retail Workforce

Author: Kelli Rascoe

As the retail industry evolves, hiring, managing, and empowering the retail workforce is more critical than ever. Retailers face numerous challenges in attracting and retaining top talent, including competition from other industries and changing expectations from employees. Retailers are turning to new technologies and strategies to improve their hiring processes, streamline their operations, and create a more engaged and productive workforce. Read on to discover key takeaways from industry experts and thought leaders.

Employee Engagement is Key

The investment and budget for tech will continue to be a priority for retail, as it can help teams collaborate, scale, and engage with customers in new and unique ways. For more on advancements in retail stores, check out this article.

74% of the organizations scored as high maturity around employee engagement strategies and had double-digit growth YoY. Consider the following:

  • Fair wages
  • Fast payment
  • Flexible schedules
  • Benefits like vision healthcare or mental healthcare
  • Career growth
  • Opportunity for a diverse, flexible labor force

Employees Want Flexible Schedules

Retail schedules must adapt to the shift towards flexible schedules. Potential employees might be a creator, or gig worker, who also has a passion for retail. Flexible work and schedules may look more like the gig and creator economy, where employees can pick hours and days that fit their needs.

“But retailers and businesses need to scale their labor force up and down based on production demands or what consumers do. What we found, and what organizations like McKinsey have found, is that more businesses want a contract, flex labor, and more workers want to be contractors and flex laborers, and how do they match together.” - Jarah Euston

Frontline Workplace Pillars

You’ll begin to see more of a merger in the digital online experience and in the in-store experience as both worlds come together via tech tools, employees, and customer service to create an omni-channel shopping experience for brands.

Removing Manager Burdens Through Automation

The most significant impact on employee engagement is removing the manager’s burden. Managers have too much on their plate, overburdened and saddled with work. For example, by taking schedules and checking paychecks off their list, they could spend more time coaching, mentoring, engaging with their staff, and genuinely being a leader. Consider tech automation for scheduling, payroll, stock, incentives, and inventory, so you can focus on what matters most—your team.

Employee Experience Improves Customer Experience

The most significant differentiator we see in the industry is the shift in how you manage your teams. According to SHRM, "there’s a direct correlation and a direct impact between the employee experience and the customer experience. " While labor shortages and union strikes continue to affect the retail industry, how you treat your teams speaks volumes through production and efficiency.

A study by the Aberdeen Group found that companies with a formal employee engagement program reported 233% greater customer loyalty and a 26% greater annual increase in revenue compared to those without such a program.

Empowering Your Retail Team

Whether you’re embracing technology, experimenting with automation, diving into flexible scheduling, or leveraging various tools for engagement, the retail workforce is changing quickly. By listening to your employees, empowering them in their choices, and offering new opportunities in your store, you’re already leading the way for managers everywhere.

For more on the changing retail landscape, check out The Evolving Role of Retail Stores.