Even though retailers seem to be taking interpersonal connection more seriously, a sense of belonging doesn’t pay the bills. The number one reason people leave their front-line retail jobs, according to respondents from this industry, is for higher pay. And retail executives are hoping to address this issue: When asked what areas they believe their organization should be investing in over the next two years, leaders cited higher pay and employee incentives, which tied for the top spot.
Offering Workers More Flexibility and Control
Front-Line Leaders seem to have a greater understanding of how difficult the pandemic has been for their workers, and they enhance the front-line workforce experience in five ways:
- Empowering their front-line workers with more control and flexibility.
- Investing in employee-first tools and technology.
- Relying on data insights to inform and improve employee experience.
- Focusing on front-line workers’ development and well-being.
- Listening to their front-line workers’ wants and needs.
Of special interest to retail, we found that Front-Line Leaders are significantly more likely than other organizations to use employee-first scheduling tools with their front-line workforce (42% compared to 27% overall). They are also 10% more likely to have introduced greater scheduling control for front-line workers in the past two years.
Retailers must offer employees as much flexibility and control as possible if they want to avoid losing out to competitors.
“Up until the onset of COVID-19, many employers had become increasingly aggressive in scheduling front-line workers to suit their forecast demand,” says Cohen. “But people cannot be living on a 48-hour cycle of change. Now, employers are doing everything they can possibly do to make it convenient for their workers to remain employed.”
Promisingly, retail executives are more likely than our other industry leaders to say that data is a guiding factor in evaluating front-line worker experience, and that better access to quality insights will improve the experience. This will be crucial to their future success, as employee needs and expectations continue to evolve.
As Cohen says, “Now is the time for retailers that want to succeed—once we’re through these crises—to get their act together and recognize that the same old bad behavior is going to put them at risk when the next crisis occurs.”
Read the main report “Empathy and Empowerment: The New Front-Line Experience” or the industry snapshot “Empathy and Insight: Building the New Retail Front-Line Experience.”