Reducing Retail Employee Turnover with Digital Empowerment

In the ever-evolving landscape of the retail industry, employee turnover remains a persistent challenge. Frontline employees are the face of retail stores and play a pivotal role in shaping the in-store experience for shoppers but they are jumping ship at an alarming rate. In fact, according to a recent report compiled by Retail Info Systems, annual employee turnover rates range between 60 and 70%.  

To tackle the root causes of turnover and foster a more engaging work environment, it’s imperative to consider some key factors. In this article, we delve into common reasons for employee turnover in the retail industry and seek insights from a seasoned retail solutionist who has navigated these waters.

Jan Prickett from Advanced Wireless Communications, has been working with leading retailers tackling the issues they face for more than 12 years. Prickett is familiar with the rapidly changing needs of retailers and specializes in tailoring solutions that are unique to each of them. Whether it is a simple two-way radio integration or improving in-store communications with a robust solution overhaul, she’s in it for the long-run and values the relationships and trust she develops with her customers.

Join us in uncovering the insights and tailored solutions she brings to the table, as we navigate employee turnover in the retail industry.

Frontline Employees are the Backbone of the In-Store Shopping Experience

As you strategize to reduce turnover, let’s not forget that frontline employees aren’t just employees that stock shelves and process transactions – they are the face, the voice, and the heart of your brand. Ensuring the satisfaction of frontline employees isn’t just a matter of employee well-being; it’s a strategic move that directly influences the bottom line. Happy employees radiate positivity, and this positivity is contagious, spreading to the customers they interact with. Conversely, disengaged or discontented employees can inadvertently create an unpleasant shopping experience, a negative environment for your team, and ultimately increased employee turnover.

Recognizing the pivotal role of frontline employees, it becomes evident that investing in their satisfaction is crucial to reducing turnover. Prickett will often visit a customer’s brick and mortar location and can tell immediately if they have happy, motivated employees. During a recent visit, she observed team members at a store were happy and engaged. She noticed all of them sounded confident when communicating with peers and customers alike thanks to their two-way radios. “Being connected gives them a sense of confidence and security,” said Prickett. 

Prickett believes that by providing the right tools, such as the AWR Advantage™, helps team members become more efficient both in doing their job and serving the customer. The radio allows for instant communication and offers valuable features like 16 programmable channels, crystal clear audio, and user selectable scanning, just to name a few.

Meeting the Expectations of a New Generation

As the baton is passed to the next generation of workers entering the retail workforce, it’s essential to recognize and adapt to their evolving expectations. Gone are the days when a paycheck alone sufficed; the new generation seeks a holistic approach to their work life, placing importance on factors beyond just monetary compensation.

Younger employees in particular are looking for a workplace that understands the importance of work-life balance. Flexible schedules, wellness programs, and other non-monetary perks go a long way in retaining talent. Employee discounts, professional development opportunities, and social events, are a few non-monetary perks that add layers to the overall job satisfaction and employee experience.

In addition, retail employees want tools that simplify their tasks, making their jobs faster and more efficient. Investing in technology that aids in inventory management, order processing, in-store communications, and customer service not only enhances productivity but also contributes to a more positive and engaging work environment.

In fact, many retailers are utilizing smart devices and have developed their own apps that help frontline workers access information. The downfall? These devices are handheld computers with hefty price tags that reflect their capabilities.

Prickett has noticed the cost of new smart devices allows retailers to only be able to deploy more than a few to each store, leaving employees scrambling to track down a device when they need one. She mentioned retailers need an affordable solution to meet the need of providing every team member with the tools needed to access information and serve customers at an affordable price point.

AWC’s ONE™ Mobile smart device paired with the ONE™ Mobile app is an affordable choice that allows you to communicate with your whole team and monitor your systems. The ONE Mobile app can also be installed on devices with an Android operating system, extending its capability and allowing for push-to-talk communications with two-way radios. 

Another great option to make inventory management, in-store communications, and customer service more efficient is The ONE Platform’s™ ONE™ Sage. This solution works with ONE Mobile and two-way radios by leveraging voice command to access information such as inventory, pricing, and scheduling. “The big win here is an employee that feels they are worth the investment in seeing that they have the tools needed to be successful,” said Prickett.

Frontline Managers Need Support Too

Frontline managers play a critical role in the success of a retail team. Their role is pivotal, not only in overseeing day-to-day operations but in shaping the culture that permeates the store. To truly fortify your retail ecosystem against turnover, it’s imperative to recognize the importance of providing robust support to these unsung heroes.

Providing them with adequate tools and support, especially in making employee schedules and handling administrative tasks, enables them to focus more on guiding and supporting the team. Prickett stated the upside for retail managers is that there are more and more tools available to support them in their role. It can be overwhelming though when deciding which task to invest in first.

Scheduling is a never-ending task for managers and there are multiple software versions to streamline this process, but accessing schedule information on the fly can be challenging. Prickett mentioned a great solution for this is The ONE Platform’s ONE Sage. If a manager needs to know when Joe Smith works next, they can simply ask ONE Sage the question on their two-way radio or ONE Mobile device – no need to go back to the office for the information.

Additionally, communicating with staff that work later shifts in the day can be a challenge  ensuring they receive key information regarding daily tasks, product recalls, and critical alerts. The ONE Platform can take key information from first shift meetings and relay them via voice or text and automatically share with subsequent shifts. Daily tasks reminders can also be set up to inform frontline employees via text or audio. Completion of these tasks can be monitored and reported, automating this task for managers.

Crafting a Resilient Retail Ecosystem

In addressing employee turnover in the retail industry, it’s clear that a multifaceted approach is necessary. By recognizing the pivotal role of frontline employees, embracing digital tools, meeting the evolving expectations of the workforce, and supporting frontline managers, you can pave the way for a more stable and thriving retail environment. Invest in your people, empower them with the tools they need, and create a workplace that not only retains talent but also attracts the best in the industry.
To learn how our products and solutions can improve work efficiency and reduce employee turnover, contact us.

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