Reducing Retail Turnover with Employee Referrals

Retail is an essential part of our daily lives, whether you are picking up a last-minute item or shopping for a new look. However, retail workers have become very elusive, especially good ones. The pandemic has brought along the Great Resignation which has come with its own number of battles. People are quitting their jobs at record levels, yet companies are still trying to attract and retain talent with old methods. 

The turnover rate for retail in 2021 alone has been the highest we have seen over the past five years at 69%. Leading to a continual cycle of rehiring and retraining. Now, we know employee turnover will always be unavoidable, but the rise in numbers we are seeing is a cry for help on how to better manage the lifecycle of an employee. 

The lack of retail employees isn’t only impacting management, but also their coworkers. Retail employees are facing burnout from picking up the slack of their other coworkers who aren’t showing up or just leaving the company altogether. This leads to workers leaving the company as well from the extra stressors they have been taking on. Sales associates are being given the job of management by dealing with the effects of turnover, but what if there was a solution that would help employees feel empowered with hiring rather than burdened? There are three challenges when it comes to recruiting in the retail industry right now. 

  • Finding Skilled Candidates 
  • Competitive Hiring Environment
  • Work/life balance Expectations

Although there are challenges with recruiting, there are also tactics you can use to help overcome these obstacles. Finding skilled candidates isn’t as hard as you might think. Take advantage of your employee, who is an asset in the retail space right now. Help them to become your best recruitment tool by taking advantage of an employee referral platform. Your part-time retail associates may like your company, but wouldn’t they also love to work with a friend? An employee referral platform will help empower your employees to help in the recruiting efforts while also receiving a benefit for doing so. On average, employees who were hired via an employee referral program stay with a company longer than those hired through other methods. In an industry that is starting to see more turnover than ever before, it’s important to find qualified candidates who will stick around.  The average employee referral across the retail industry is $300. Create an employee referral policy that incentivizes your employees to want to be a part of a growing team. 

Hourly retail employees are facing high turnover, due to a number of factors, but the main one is the hourly wage. Across the retail industry, companies are competing with higher wages in an effort to bring on more employees and fill positions faster. Some companies are staying stagnant with pay while employees are going above and beyond due to the lack of employees at their location. The pay should be met with the amount of work that your employees are providing. Employees want to feel valued and the way to begin that process is by matching pay with the importance of your hourly employees. 

One of the biggest problems with turnover is the need for hourly employees to make up for the loss of the employees that have left. This quickly leads to burnout and workers not wanting to continue working extra hours and back-to-back days. A lot of hourly employees take jobs in retail, so they can work part-time, while management is set as full-time. Yet, employees are now making up for the extra hours that need to be filled and are working full-time hours to the point of burnout. How do you set better work/life balance expectations when you are working? First, ask your employees what schedule works best for them. Be mindful of how many hours and days your employees are working in an attempt to avoid burnout and the possibility of an employee leaving. 

Filling positions in the retail industry can be anywhere from an hourly in-store employee to an employee that comes in to fill online orders. We are seeing a large number of open positions across the board for retail. While those jobs are open and waiting to be filled, stores are facing an influx of sales like never before. It is extremely important to consider how to fill those positions quickly with qualified candidates to match the needs of sales. Keep in mind that employee referrals, wages, and a work/life balance are all tactics to help defeat the rise of employee turnover in the world of retail.