by Jeff Corbin | November 19, 2018

As the war for talent continues, and the country experiences a historically low unemployment rate – along with some of the highest rates of voluntary employee turnover in years – retailers currently face one of the most challenging environments of our time. Pair this with an approaching and projected record-breaking holiday season, one in which retailers are looking to fill 700,000 positions, and it’s a recipe waiting for disaster for those companies who aren’t prepared.

For some U.S. retailers, they’re leveraging new approaches to entice seasonal workers. Amazon, for instance, raised its minimum wage to $15; J.C. Penney hosted a nationwide hiring day and offered new hires substantial money, all-inclusive trips to big cities, and expensive technology; Kohl’s gave 15% discounts and associate shopping days for seasonal workers; and Macy’s enticed employees with a quarterly bonus based on performance.

While these tactics might create short-term benefits, companies still are missing the mark when it comes to engaging their existing employees. And what they might not realize is that this can result in decreased productivity, lower employee engagement and satisfaction, and even more turnover, which, during this busy time, can directly and negatively impact brand reputation.

Now is the time to ensure that employees effectively come together and feel empowered to create seamless and memorable experiences for customers.  And, employee communication is key to making it happen. Here are three suggestions on what can be done:

  • Leverage the right technology to connect: For many of retailers’ frontline workers, they are among the 2.4+ billion deskless employees who don’t have access to a corporate email, desktop, or intranet. Understanding the way your employees prefer to receive information, for instance through their mobile device, can ensure that the information is distributed most effectively, and, when last minute discounts are made, most efficient. Keeping them in the know (i.e. transparency) can also boost morale and make employees feel appreciated.
  • Make the content you use interactive and creative: While information about paychecks and benefits are extremely important, there are ways to introduce new and engaging content about great things going on within your company to go beyond the tactical information and create stories for your employees.
  • Learn from the big guys: For seasonal and year-round workers, the holidays can be difficult times, with long hours and challenging customers – so keeping spirits high is key. Communicating incentives like the big brands do can be a good way to make employees feel connected and appreciated. Sharing company successes, incentivizing employees with rewards and prizes, or even pushing out messages and notifications that simply make employees feel they are valued can make a world of difference and drive employee engagement.
December 2018
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