Retail employee turnover rates are higher than they have been since before the Great Recession, according to the Hay Group. Hourly employees have the highest turnover rate in the retail industry, at 65 percent—and last year, almost 40 percent of HR professionals in a survey of retail organizations said their turnover increased.
In these tumultuous times, how can your retail store attract and retain the best retail employees?
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It’s All About the Apps
Start by getting your job posting on mobile device apps. More than 70 percent of respondents in a report on hourly workers used mobile apps to find their current jobs—more than the percentage that used desktops. If you want to attract hourly retail employees, you’ve got to go where they are—and for millennials (who make up most of the hourly workforce)—that’s on their smartphones. (A whopping 90 percent of millennial surveyed apply for jobs on their phones.) Posting job listings on job search websites with mobile apps will give you the widest range of candidates.
Hourly workers’ biggest pet peeve about job hunting, according to the survey, is when their application seems to go into a black hole. Once you receive applications, keep each applicant informed about the selection process and tell those you interview when the position has been filled.
Treating job applicants poorly can damage your reputation on social media or online review sites. By treating prospective employees politely and fairly, you’ll have more candidates on your “short list” when the inevitable turnover occurs.
What Retail Employees Want
The types of job applicants you’ll see will vary widely. About half the hourly workers surveyed view their jobs as an entry-level step to a long-term career, while half don’t expect to be in their jobs more than a few years. But whether your job candidates are potential lifers or simply see your store as a steppingstone, here are five things they all want:
1. Sufficient hours: Getting scheduled for enough hours is the No. 1 concern of hourly workers—even more than their wages. Over half prefer to work 36 hours a week or more. You may want to consider hiring fewer workers and scheduling them full-time rather than splitting work among part-timers.
2. Competitive pay: Money does matter—it’s the No. 2 concern for hourly workers when searching for jobs. Most survey respondents say $10 to $11 per hour is a fair wage; nearly 20 percent make under $8 per hour. Look at what similar jobs in your area pay. Paying even slightly more than your competitors can give you a big edge. You can also offer hourly workers the chance to make more money through commission sales or bonuses. Finally, help them stretch their dollars by offering them a discount on products from your store or a voucher for a certain amount of free products each month.
3. Flexibility: Flexible shifts are important for the one-third of hourly workers who have outside commitments (like childcare or attending school) that may limit their available hours. Accommodating employees’ scheduling needs helps retain them.
4. Location, location, location: Many hourly workers want jobs they can get to by walking or taking public transportation. If your store is near transportation hubs, highlight that in your job ads. Use localized keywords in your online job listings to attract nearby residents; advertise your openings at local colleges, adult education programs and career centers.
5. Wear it well: Almost one-third of hourly employees don’t want to wear a uniform. If you specify the colors, cut and style of acceptable clothing and then let employees choose their own wardrobes within those parameters, you can still have a consistent look for your store.
A little attention to what hourly employees want can make a big difference in attracting and retaining the best retail workers for your store.
About Rieva Lesonsky
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.
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