Replicate success | Why the retail industry is a step ahead with employee engagement - 3 ways retailers are getting it right

Why the retail industry is a step ahead with employee engagement - 3 ways retailers are getting it right

Recent research suggests the retail industry is a step ahead of other sectors regarding employee recognition and development - shop staff are more likely to stay in their jobs and recommend a retail position to friends than those in other roles. Here’s a look at what the sector is doing right, and how its success can be replicated:

1. It values its workers

While recent strikes in other sectors have highlighted employee dissatisfaction, Quinyx’s own research from its latest ‘State of the Frontline Workforce’ (SOFW) report found that UK retail staff increasingly feel valued by their bosses – two thirds (64%) believe their work is appreciated, up from 57% in 2022.

Only half of employees (53%) in logistics-focused roles – including shipping, distribution, transport and warehousing - feel the same, while 60% of hospitality workers consider themselves valued while on the job.

There are of course lots of ways that employees can feel valued; recognition might take the form of regular ‘shout-outs’ via email or company newsletter, or quarterly workplace awards.
Making employees feel that their opinions, as well as their work contributions, are valued is also key. Concerningly, our SOFW research found that, across all sectors, around one in seven workers (16%) say their employer offers no opportunity to provide feedback on how they're feeling at work and issues that are affecting them.

Every workforce has its ups and downs, and managers can't solve every issue, but demonstrating a willingness to listen, and providing feedback opportunities for staff on things that affect them day-to-day - which can be done via regular ‘pulse’ surveys on apps like Quinyx - can go a long way.

2. Retailers know the importance of progression

In our report, we found that retail employees are more likely than other sector workers to believe their job provides career development opportunities – 65% credited their organisations for offering room for growth, compared to 55% of those in logistics and 57% in hospitality roles.

We also found that three in five (60%) frontline staff – across all sectors – say they would stay longer with their company if they had more development opportunities.

While there will always be a proportion of ‘frontliners’ using their role as a stopgap, or who are happy to stay in the position they are in, many also want to know that there is opportunity to climb the ladder – they don’t want (nor deserve) a ‘dead end’ job.

So when we look at the overall package being offered to employees, we need to look beyond pay and ensure that workers know what development paths are open to them – e.g., mentoring opportunities, formal education, training and/or promotion. This demonstrates to staff that their career goals are being considered, and is likely to encourage retention. And it benefits the business too, of course: experienced, knowledgeable employees - who have grown on-the-job and know their business's products/services inside-out - are the greatest asset of any organisation.

Streamlined apps like Quinyx, which offer task-based capabilities alongside scheduling functions, are helping deskless staff become product experts or brand ambassadors via the phones in their pockets - meaning nurturing top talent is even more vital.

3. The retail sector is making flexibility work for them, and their employees

We found that flexibility is greater in retail than other industries, according to our study: 60% of retail employees have a say on the hours they work, compared to 55% of hospitality workers and 50% of those in logistics-based roles.

The fact that 40% of retail staff still have zero flexibility means the situation is far from perfect – but suggests that organisations are becoming more open to providing some ‘give and take’ than they may have been in the past.

And when flexibility is such an important factor for the frontline workforce (a third say that a more flexible schedule would make them more motivated and engaged), it pays to make it a priority. Offering staff the chance to switch shifts between themselves via an app, and introducing flexible leave policies are just two ways of giving employees more leeway regarding their hours (for more on this, check out ‘3 simple ways to boost flex for your shopfloor’).

Find out more about how Quinyx’s digital tools can facilitate flexibility for your frontline workforce.

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Quinyx is a cloud-native, mobile-first workforce management solution that simplifies scheduling, time reporting, communication, task management, budgeting and forecasting, thanks to AI-driven scheduling automation. Through advanced and flexible features, Quinyx helps more than 850 companies around the world improve efficiency, engage employees, comply with regulations and reduce labour costs. Today, Quinyx helps some of the world’s biggest businesses save time and money, boost productivity and enjoy work.