Retailers must prioritize employee financial security ahead of crucial quarter
As is well known in retail, the “golden quarter” from October to December often comes to the aid of many retail businesses hoping to end the year with strong sales. This year, as retailers and employees battle the cost of living crisis, the importance of protecting business and employee finances could rarely be higher.
Retailers will need to remain nimble and open-minded to provide the necessary support to their workforce – if they intend to retain employees through the holiday season and deliver the level of customer service quality expected today.
Ahead of this crucial time in the retail calendar, Fourth surveyed retail business leaders, employees and consumers to gather sentiment within the industry and how all are coping with the cost crisis. life and fears of a long recession. The results paint an interesting picture for the rest of the year.
Reenergize the Retail Workforce with Confidence Ahead of the Holiday Season
Our latest data revealed that with the recession looming and Covid cases starting to climb as winter approaches, the biggest worries for retail workers are staff shortages due to other shifts missing (44%) and job losses and layoffs (42%). With this level of uncertainty prevailing within the retail workforce, retail executives must prioritize the financial stability of their workforce through the winter and help, in possible, to dispel doubts in their minds about their job security amid worries of a deep recession.
When it comes to what matters most to retail employees, data shows that retail employees feel most supported by payroll and related benefits (42%), overall communication levels ( 38%) and mental health support (37%). These priorities are indicative of a retail workforce that has endured years of struggle and uncertainty, which business leaders must battle through the winter if they intend to retain staff. during the crucial holiday season.
The need for retailers to stand out and deliver value is all the more important given the impact of the cost of living crisis which is thinning the wallets of consumers across the country. This is clearly seen in our latest data, with consumers expecting to spend less on vacations (28%), clothing and footwear (26%) and luxury items (25%) this year.
So where are the priorities of retail leaders right now this winter?
Data shows that retail leaders are looking to increase the presence of technology, both in store and in the back office. Asked about the future of high street and the retail recovery, retail executives believe the following technologies will be most important to business success in the coming year:
- Click & Collect Services (30%)
- Presence in e-commerce (28%)
- Store management (i.e. planning and optimizing productivity) (27%)
This mix of customer-oriented and employee-oriented technology shows the positive impact that RetailTech is having on the industry. Refreshingly, retail leaders aren’t just focusing on improving the customer experience, but are also seeing the value in streamlining the work experiences of their employees. Additionally, when asked which technologies would most likely have a positive impact on their work, retail employees mentioned both Click&Collect and increased technology automation (self-checkout, mobile sales).
This reassuringly demonstrates that retail leaders and their employees are on the same page when it comes to what could speed up their daily processes.
The impact of technology
With an action plan to implement greater technology in the coming months, retail workers can expect to reap the benefits in several ways. Advanced payroll technology, like access to earned pay, gives employees greater control over their finances when they need it most. Additionally, greater transparency in planning and communication means that retail employers can help ease the financial stress of employees. Our research shows that 68% of retail employees would benefit from being able to report availability in advance through an HR/scheduling portal.
With the current crisis affecting the wallets of employees and customers, retailers need to be proactive in reassuring their staff that their wellbeing is at the heart of their business and that technology can guarantee it in the long term.