3 Tips For Employee Retention and Engagement

August 9, 2021

There’s a reason that employee turnover is a crucial metric for organizations to track. It’s costly, disrupts customer experiences, and interrupts productivity. Every employer is concerned with minimizing turnover, but that’s especially true in the retail sector, where turnover often exceeds 60%, compared to just 15% across the rest of the U.S. economy. That high turnover rate translates into more than 230 million days of lost productivity and $19 billion in costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training.

Now more than ever, it has become critical for organizations to remain agile and aligned in the midst of enormous change, and frontline workers are worn down and tired. 

The pandemic brought the struggles of part-time, frontline retail workers to light. Many struggled to balance grueling health and safety protocols and difficult customer interactions with inconsistent schedules and low pay – and it’s not getting any easier. 

In fact, 2 in 5 retail workers are considering leaving the industry– and that’s on top of the labor shortage we were already facing. For retail HR leaders, the stakes have never been higher and the challenges have never been harder.

So what’s a retail brand to do? 😳

We’ve seen first-hand how companies that have strengthened their messaging and communications, see increased engagement, better store execution, and increased cost savings. Bringing your retail brand to life means aligning the organization, from HQ to the storefront. Since we know that employee well-being (and ultimately, job satisfaction) drives better store engagement, our philosophy is to prioritize people-first communication that promotes engagement across the entire team.

Here are a few best practices and ways to empower your employees and align your team.

1. Connect the Dots

When we understand how the work we do impacts a greater mission, we are empowered and motivated to contribute. Effective retail leaders give meaning to the work that individuals do for the company. Specifically, by combining communications and task management, employees can connect to the brand. Your employees want to know how their workload is part of a bigger picture, and how their tasks are critical to the vision of the brand.

That’s why we believe that it’s important for retailers to provide the information people need to make good decisions and help them understand how those decisions affect the overall vision of the organization. Employees will feel motivated to know that their work can make an impact and implement change.

This feedback loop can be pivotal in connecting the dots and helping employees feel empowered. Associates feed information to marketing collaterals who speak to district managers who discuss with corporate. If that loop is followed full circle, people will feel like their voice is valuable and their opinions can help advance the organization.

In turn, this feedback loop boosts employee morale, and each individual who works for an organization is empowered to represent the brand. Inspiration isn’t something money can buy, but it is infinitely valuable for retail employees to feel proud to be part of a company.

2. Listen to the Frontlines

Never underestimate the importance of listening. If the teams in your stores have something to say, it’s crucial that you hear it. Your frontline workers will feel empowered when they feel that their input is felt, heard, and understood by their leaders.

Store associates and managers are your best resource for understanding local guidelines and customer sentiment so ask them what they’re seeing and what the company can be doing better to drive loyalty.

By empowering employees through reassurance that their voice matters, your store teams and frontline employees will be more engaged, and HQ can make future decisions with the help of valuable input.

 3. Equip Employees with Effective Tools

Today, only 29% of directions sent from HQ to stores are executed correctly. We know it’s not the fault of store teams and frontline workers. Most of them haven’t been given the tools and information they need to be successful.

Equipping your team with the right tools means giving them enough information to know how they can feel helpful when it comes to interacting with customers. Help them become educators, making each customer experience more than a transaction.

It comes down to having technology that is built with a real understanding of the challenges and inner workings of retail. Retail Zipline is the only operations platform for brick-and-mortar retail brands that combines store communications and task management to drive flawless store execution.

The Secret Sauce? Retail Communication!

At Zipline, we believe that associates are the answer. An engaged workforce results in more productive employees, more satisfied customers, and reduced turnover. It’s no secret that happy employees result in happy customers. Once you set your retail employees up for success, you can ultimately provide your customers with great shopping experiences. 

There is a magic sauce that fosters the growth and success of retail store associates. 

We believe the key to a successful workplace is retail communication. When workers feel valued, recognized, and heard, they take greater ownership and are empowered to execute daily tasks with pride. We’ve seen it first-hand. Employee engagement = boosted productivity & execution!

That’s why we’ve pulled together a comprehensive guide: To help our retail friends navigate the HR strategy building process and set their teams up for success in a post-Covid reality. Check out our Retail Talent Guide for statistics, trend analysis, case studies, and tactics to combat turnover and differentiate your brand in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

As retailers like you make in-store improvements to enhance customer experiences, we invite you to invest in the employee experience, too. If you’d like to see a demo and learn how you can unlock the power of your frontline workforce, please reach out

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