Our very own Head of Retail, Madeleine Porter joined a distinguished panel at the Retail Week Innovation Summit to discuss the latest challenges faced by retail organizations when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

Attensi’s Head of Retail joins panel at Retail Week Innovation Summit

Our very own Head of Retail, Madeleine Porter joined a distinguished panel at the Retail Week Innovation Summit to discuss the latest challenges faced by retail organizations when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

Why are people leaving the industry?

From the discussion, it seems there are a few factors that are pulling people away from the retail industry.

Firstly, dissatisfaction and lack of empowerment. We learnt that some of the most unhappy employees in retail, are often the youngest (usually aged 16-29). And this can largely be due to feeling as though they are simply in jobs, and not embarking on careers. They often don’t feel equipped to deal with difficult situations or make quick decisions in real time, and don’t feel empowered to trust their guts.

The second thing is that technology and talent in retail is advancing at such a rate that the top talent are in high demand. If offered better benefits, salaries or a clear purpose, talent will jump ship. Therefore, responsibility lies with the organizations and brands to ensure theirs is the best to work for.

Lastly, retail is one of the few industries where it’s incredibly difficult to provide flexible working. It’s often up there with the emergency services in terms of demanding hours and physical and mental labor. Since the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, flexible working has increasingly become a high priority for those entering the workforce, which retail will always struggle to fully provide.

So, how do we keep people in retail?

As well as nailing the basics such as benefits, salaries and pensions, something to come out of the panel was a greater need for transparency when it comes to available career paths within the retail sector.

Is the problem that employees don’t know their available options and still see retail as their ‘job’ and not their career?

Madeleine goes on to explain how innovating learning and development can have a direct impact on this. From reducing the number of ‘quick quits’ to nurturing soft skills and product knowledge, L&D is a huge way in which retail organizations can start to reduce the mental bandwidth required by employees to improve their performance and further their careers. It also lets them know that their employers care about them, and want to invest in their futures.

We want to say a big thank you to the Retail Week Innovation Summit for having us, and for sharing lots of valuable knowledge and insights.

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