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Long-term employee and customer relationships key to retail growth

It’s time to break the misconception that retail work is temporary. If employers invest in their people, provide meaningful learning opportunities, and help employees grow within their organisation, retail staff can have successful and engaging long-term careers.

The past year has changed the shape of retail and how it meets the needs of customers. For many, this has meant being agile and successfully embracing e-commerce in new ways. Deloitte suggests retail spending is a bright spot for the Australian economy with retail volumes up 6.4 per cent over the year to December quarter. Given the rapidly changing dynamics of the retail environment, it comes as no surprise that talent acquisition and retention strategies need to evolve along with it. 

In order to thrive, retailers need to help their people adapt and evolve their skill sets, foster a service culture, and build long-lasting customer relationships. Retailers should make efforts to transform the associate experience, so it is more harmonised and interconnected. From the moment an associate engages with the organisation during recruitment, to onboarding, learning and development, and beyond – employers need to understand the expectations of their staff and deliver an intuitive and seamless experience.   

Invest in new innovations to support the holistic well-being of employees

Retailers can better care for their staff by investing in innovative technologies. This will help employers meet the expectation of a mobile-first generation that provides self-service access to the information employees need. This includes visibility into additional hours from other locations, real-time communication with colleagues, and greater pay clarity. 

Manage compliance for streamlined employee experience

One of the most important touchpoints an employee has with their employer is when and how they get paid. Ensuring they are paid accurately, on time, every time is key to employee engagement. While this may be table stakes, it can be a complex operation given employers often manage compliance for a diverse workforce across different jurisdictions consisting of part-time, full-time, seasonal, contract, and student workers. A single solution across workforce management, pay, and HR admin can help retailers stay on top of compliance-related issues. 

Focus on learning and development

More than three-quarters of working adults across Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand believe it’s important that their employer provide learning opportunities, according to Ceridian’s 2021 Pulse of Talent report. The next wave of workforce learning tech will focus on helping staff discover materials that are personalised and relevant – similar to the consumer shopping experience. In today’s world of work, the ability to quickly and efficiently upskill your employees is critical for both engagement and business success.

Embrace diversity and inclusion as a business imperative

According the latest Edelman Trust Barometer, employers are one of the most trusted institutions in Australia. Among respondents in Australia, employers offering a diverse representative workforce rose by 32 points in importance over the last year. According to McKinsey, 40 per cent of millennials have not pursued, or have turned down, a job because they perceived their potential employer to lack an inclusive mindset and actions. Retailers must prioritise diversity and inclusion within talent acquisition, and access to the right data to drive action can accelerate the bottom line. 

The future is bright

Moving forward, employers must focus on meaningfully investing in their people to reduce turnover and create fulfilling long-term career opportunities. Staying on top of changes in compliance and legislation and supporting associate well-being will help build true advocates for the employer brand today and into the future. 

Download the report:  2021 Pulse of Talent: What today’s employees want and need