9 Ways To Increase Employee Retention In Your Retail Store

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When employees leave – either because you fired them or they quit by choice, their absence leaves a hole.

Retailers hate holes… in merchandise, displays, and schedules.

The more employee turnover you have, the more holes you have to deal with, and the more costly it becomes.

The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee's annual salary - and that's a conservative estimate.

So, a 100-person organization providing an average salary of $50,000 could have turnover and replacement costs of approximately $660,000 to $2.6 million per year. In 2017, The Center for American Progress found it costs, on average, $3,328 to find, hire, and train a replacement for each retail employee.

Studies reported a median turnover rate of 67% for part-time employees in the retail sector - which was not even during a pandemic year!

Retail managers work hard to create a positive work environment for their employees to encourage and facilitate good employee retention rates.

However, there are times when employees may leave retail stores despite the manager’s best efforts. In this blog post, we will outline nine specific ways retail managers can increase employee retention rates within their stores. Read on to learn more!

Here are 9 reasons why your retail employee turnover is so high and how to fix it.

1. There are no incentives, except at the manager level. No one wants to work harder just so someone else gets a reward. Find a way to include everyone somehow – not just on a sales goal but in keeping the “attaboy” attitude, so everyone feels good about the job they do for you and employee satisfaction increases.

2. Your policies or procedures are antiquated. No refunds, no exchanges, everyone works every weekend – all these stupid policies cause friction for good employees...and your customers. Examine your retail store and employee manuals and policies, and throw out those that are still rooted in the '50s.

3. Your training is minimal. Just because an employee has previous experience does not mean they will understand what makes your store different. You have to tell them explicitly what you are trying to do with your customers and how it differs from every other retailer on your block. Show them, don't just tell them what success looks like.

4. Your employees are thrown into the job and not even introduced to the crew. Millennial employees don’t always have the skill set to proactively meet other employees. You must continue to bring people together as part of your company culture.

5. You don’t encourage employees to think, only to do. The younger workforce has an innately positive outlook. When they are forced to stock those shelves, price that merchandise, etc., this particular employee experience provides plenty of time to complain about how much their job sucks.

6. You make every day the same. When every day is the same, employees get bored. Yes, customers can keep them interested, but we’re talking about the job itself. Many times we look at some employees as too valuable where they are. Mix it up for employees who have been with you for a while; give them new duties, training, responsibilities, etc., and keep the employee engagement level high.

7. You hire the wrong people. Just because you’re tired of interviewing, you can’t just hire any job seekers because they say what you want to believe. You need to see if they can talk to people, not just say they can.

8. You keep promoting employees who are good at tasks to supervisors. Employees quit managers, not brands. Promoting someone because they get things done isn’t the only criterion. A certain type of employee will tolerate those retail managers with poor interpersonal skills, but the best employees will move on quickly. A manager’s main job is to develop a crew who feels it is their store and not leave them feeling like they are a cog in a wheel.

9. You don't encourage having friends at work. According to the 2021 Workplace Friendship & Happiness Survey by Wildgoose, 57% of people say having a best friend in the workplace makes work more enjoyable, 22% feel more productive with friends, and 21% say friendship makes them more creative. At onboarding, make it a point to find things each person has with someone on the team and introduce them using that information. Simple things like this go a long way to feeling a part of the team.

Quiet quitting is a trend still occurring with employees at all levels slowing down and being less productive. It is the first step to walking out the door. Use these tips to keep your crew engaged, learning, and feeling valued.

See also, How To Reduce Retail Employee Turnover

In Sum

When you have to fire someone - and you should regularly if you are truly managing the business - take a look at how your training might have crippled their behavior.

When someone quits, seek to discover what interpersonal dynamics existed with the people they usually worked with.

Only when you are willing to dig deeper into the soft belly of your organization will you be able to fortify yourself from the knife of high turnover rates and improve employee retention.

Training your employees on what to do will give them the confidence to engage your shoppers. My SalesRX online training can help you cost-effectively do that with a high ROI

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