How to attract and retain
retail talent

According to market research carried out by retail software provider Fourth, 37% of retail leaders are concerned about sourcing and reducing the churn of staff post-Brexit. 

Not only is there concern caused by the Brexit talent shortage, leaders across retail are actively looking to grow their workforce. To achieve growth in a competitive market, retailers must look closely at their hiring and onboarding processes and how they go about developing their workforce.

Here we will look at some of the ways retailers can address their challenges when it comes to attracting and retaining the right people for the job.


The challenges

An eye-opening report from retail charity, The Retail Trust, has found that a fifth of retail workers and a third of people working for the UK’s biggest retailers want to leave1. This puts retail leaders who want to grow their businesses and the size of their workforce in a conundrum.

The report found that workers aged between 16 and 29 were the unhappiest, suggesting that younger employees are less likely to build and develop a career in the industry. The study that surveyed more than 1,500 retail staff also found that managers feel ill-equipped to support their teams.

35% of retailers struggle to communicate consistently with employees
34% find staff engagement challenging
32% say attracting the right talent is a top operational challenge

Rethinking processes

To address these challenges, retailers are set to further rely on technology moving forward. Adding more employee benefits to contracts and implementing and improving in-store technology are also key changes that retailers hope will reduce turnover and attract new talent to the industry.


Improving onboarding

When it comes to onboarding new employees there needs to be a shift in how knowledge is shared. Starting a new position is an exciting experience, but it can often be overwhelming because of the amount of new information that needs to be processed.

When someone new joins the team, how do retailers demonstrate what they need to do in their role without putting them in a potentially uncomfortable or awkward situation? Training must be relevant and should provide information and skills people can apply to their day-to-day work activities. If someone isn’t onboarded in the right way, they’re more likely to leave the business.

According to a survey from management consultancy Korn Ferry, part-time hourly store employees had an average 81% turnover rate in 20182, marking the highest percentage of any retail position.


Prioritizing well-being in the workplace

The Retail Trust’s comprehensive study found that 40% of retailers don’t have a well-being strategy in place. From exhaustion and staff abuse to worries around the cost-of-living crisis, it’s not surprising that retail employees have a lot on their minds.

84% of managers would value more training to help support their team’s well-being
54% of managers felt unequipped to deal with their team’s mental health issues
66% of people working in retail couldn’t get the help they needed for mental health issues in 2021

It’s clear that there’s a direct link between talent retention and the well-being of the workforce. An effective well-being strategy needs to be flexible and adaptable as well as prioritizing training and development with measurable outcomes.


Supporting teams at all levels

The findings of the research carried out by the Retail Trust make it clear that retail employees are struggling across the board. From the shop floor to the back office and the boardroom, there’s an urgent need to focus on the well-being of retail workers.

Managers also understand the situation, with 84% wanting to see more training to help support their team’s well-being. In the demanding world of retail, training, and development is essential to help workers feel appreciated and equipped to do the job.


Motivating teams to learn

Showing your teams how their careers can progress within your organization, and that you will support their learning and development to get there is one of the best ways to motivate them. Giving your people access to tools that can help them develop new skills can go a long way toward making them feel more valued and happier in their roles.

That’s where Attensi can help.

“Attensi gives employees something engaging and relevant, so their learning is consistent with their roles and not just a tick box exercise.”

Joanna Akar


Putting your people first

The workers in a retail operation are your frontline people representing the business. Retail teams are the people who grow the business and it’s important to make sure they’re happy and can benefit from learning and development.

One of the things we focus on at Attensi is helping retailers identify and solve any challenges they’re facing. We’re all about helping organisations develop their people, embedding the right behaviors in engaging learning.

Through immersive learning, we’re able to help retail organisations build businesses that will attract the right people and keep them engaged. Speak with one of our experts today to find out how we can help your retail business.

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  1. Health of retail report 2022,
  2. Growth through talent, transformation and innovation,