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Recognition, Work-Life Balance Can Help Retailers Keep Employees Amidst Record Quit Rates October 13, 2021 (0 comments)


Merrick, NY—A record 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August, part of what’s becoming known as “The Great Resignation,” and retailers are among the hardest hit. U.S. Department of Labor statistics released October 12 show only bar/restaurant workers surpassed retailers in quit rate: 892,000 workers in the food service and hospitality industry left their jobs in August, followed by 721,000 retail workers. The retail quit rate was 4.7%, 39% higher than the overall 2.9% quit rate among all employers. And contrary to expectations, the end of extra federal pandemic unemployment benefits has not driven workers back thus far. 

For retailers, it couldn’t come at a worse time of year. Many have already tried sweetening the pot with higher wages and sign-on bonuses, but they’re finding that’s not a magic bullet either. In an article in Retail Dive, Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based executive outplacement firm, said, "Wages are a classic lever that employers pull when they face a labor shortage, but it doesn't seem to be getting the job done entirely in this environment. I think smart employers right now are focusing on making their jobs attractive in ways that aren't just about the numbers."

While better pay does matter in attracting and keeping employees, working conditions like unstable scheduling, concerns about COVID risks, and burnout have been key drivers of the quit rate, explains the Retail Dive article.

Meanwhile, this article in Retail Customer Experience detailed some of the steps retailers can take to attract and keep talent. Retail Customer Experience interviewed Dr. Natalie Baumgartner, chief workforce scientist at the Achievers Workforce Institute, who pointed out that engagement and balance are key to keeping employees and replacing one worker can cost as much as $15,000. Here are some key excerpts from the article:

Baumgartner’s biggest piece of advice for retailer leaders looking to boost hiring efforts and retain workers is to listen to staff. “No one knows the ins and outs of a retail organization better than its frontline employees. They hold a wealth of knowledge from their biggest pain points to what they enjoy most about the job,” she told RetailCustomerExperience.

Read more here and here.

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