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HR Strategies for Talent Management in the Retail Industry

In a modern, disruptive and competitive landscape, the combination of technology and HR strategies for talent management in the retail industry is absolutely crucial. This combination… View Article


HR Strategies for Talent Management in the Retail Industry

In a modern, disruptive and competitive landscape, the combination of technology and HR strategies for talent management in the retail industry is absolutely crucial.

This combination has already reshaped old ways of thinking about retail, overhauling the brick-and-mortar business model and pushing retailers towards better and lasting growth.

Digital transformation and e-commerce have reached unprecedented levels in many aspects of every industry: and talent management in retail is no exception. To remain competitive, traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores must adopt and adapt. Talent management, the core logistics and strategy of building a motivated, skilled, and customer-focused workplace, stands at the centre of this equation. 

This blog will focus on HR strategies for talent management in the retail sector through digital transformation. It will serve as a one-stop-shop and guidance tool for retailers and HR professionals on how to attract retail talent and navigate the HR retail industry’s evolving trends.

What is talent management?

According to the Charted Institue of Personnel and Development (CIPD) talent management is:

Talent management is about using data from workforce, succession and contingency planning tools to understand what talent exists within the organisation, what talent populations are needed, and the identification of individuals who are particularly valuable to an organisation.

However, for the retail industry, talent management is more than ordinary HR capacity. It is a coordinated methodology to acquire, build, and hold the skilled representatives the company needs to be successful. People are the face, heart, and soul of retailers.

Being based on customer service, retail employees are those who face the customers and can make a real difference. As such, it’s vitally important for retailers to recognise, attract, and retain top talent to represent their brand. 

Talent management in retail includes the following elements:

  • Talent Strategy: Employing a consistent HR approach that links together all recruitment strategies and development activities to business goals. 
  • Hiring the Right People: Selecting and recruiting candidates with the appropriate skills, requisite experience, and the ability to thrive in the retail setting that is common in the industry. 
  • Onboarding New Talent: Introducing newly recruited workers to orientation and training initiatives that allow them to quickly assimilate into the business quickly and efficiently. 
  • Learning and Development: Training and skills development initiatives that must be completed regularly to enhance the versatility of workers.
  • Performance Management: Establishing performance expectations, giving regular input, and setting up performance management systems that motivate employees and keep them accountable. 
  • Benefits and Rewards: Competitive compensation and recognition programmes are implemented to attract and retain top personnel. 
  • Succession Preparation: Identifying excellent job prospects and developing future leaders.

Ultimately, talent management does not merely place the right people in the most appropriate positions; it also guarantees continuous learning, development, and creativity among the employees in the retail sector.

Retailers that enhance their talent capacity by investing in employee growth and development and aligning human management functions strategically, will gain a sustainable competitive edge.

Why is investing in talent management in the retail industry important?

For retailers willing to achieve superiority over their rivals and boost their growth and sustainability, investing in talent management is a must.

Recent studies point out a general increase in the number of companies that recognise the importance of talent analytics software. 56% of companies state they plan to invest more in talent analytics software within the next couple of years. This means that HR strategies will be shaped mostly through data-driven intelligence.

The benefits of focusing on talent management for the retail industry are numerous. 

Here are just a few of them:

Acquisition of Top Talent: A complete talent management scheme allows retailers to recruit a large number of high-achieving personnel with the necessary qualifications for accomplishment in their jobs. Top-of-the-line employees will serve as high performers who will go above and beyond the necessity and goals of their jobs.

Performance Enhancement: retailers can drive higher staff performance by creating a supportive learning culture. This involves investing in programmes that support skill improvement, feedback, and collaboration. Employees with access to training and opportunities to provide input, feel empowered to grow their skills and work together more effectively.  This will increase operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, business success, and, ultimately, shareholder value.

Lowering Turnover: Better talent management ultimately results in increased employee satisfaction and retention. The net effect is reduced costs related to turnover and the retention of institutional knowledge necessary for organisational stability and growth.

Increased Customer Satisfaction: Satisfied and committed employees provide excellent customer experiences and exceed service expectations. This results in more loyal customers and an excellent brand experience. Particularly in the case of client services, employee satisfaction contributes significantly to reshaping the consumer experience and generating more repeat sales.

Improving Your Employment Branding. Employment branding or employer branding, is the process by which a company actively shapes its reputation as an employer among current and potential employees and other stakeholders. A positive employment branding enhances a retailer’s appeal as a great place to work.

Retailers should focus on developing a workforce that is not only well-trained but also satisfied to secure excellent customer experiences and long-term success.

The challenges of attracting talent in retail

Talent management plays a vital role in the operations of any company and presents many challenges to retailers and HR teams trying to draw and retain top talent.

Some of them are:

Flexibility: The need for flexibility is expanding as the retail environment changes and employees do away with the idea of inflexible 9-to-5 work arrangements or demanding attire.

High Turnover Rates: Seasonal fluctuations, limited opportunities for advancement, and job dissatisfaction all contribute to the high turnover rates that plague the retail industry. Even though this issue is not as prevalent for long-term employees, it still negatively affects retailers.

Work Environment: Many retail workers have significant challenges concerning workplace culture, job satisfaction, and work-life balance. These issues are associated with the lowest level of engagement among retail employees and are pinned on employers.

Skills Gap: In recent decades, many retailers have had trouble hiring enough employees with the necessary skills, from customer service skills to digital literacy.

Addressing these challenges requires a strategic and proactive approach to talent management. The focus has to be on creating an inclusive, supportive, and engaging work environment.

How to attract and retain talent in 2024?

In the competitive 2024 landscape HR professionals and executives need to develop creative strategies to differentiate retail life and working conditions. This needs to be implemented in order to effectively draw, grow, and maintain talent in the retail industry. 

According to recent statistics, a significant 42% of talent management professionals feel their organisations lack a clearly defined path for employees. This underscores the importance of implementing robust strategies to address this gap 

The following are some of the best strategies to attract and maintain retail top talent:

  • Focus on diversity and inclusion: Utilise diversity and inclusion initiatives and solutions to attract a broader audience of applicants, create welcoming environments and reap the benefits of a diverse workforce. This can be further achieved through targeted training and development opportunities. Diversity in Retail offers specialised courses to upskill and nurture a diverse talent pool, with a focus on driving inclusivity throughout the workplace.
  • Invest in employee development and training: Continuously provide learning and training activities to increase worker expertise and careers. 
  • Career advancement: Establishing a clear career improvement opportunity costs programme that keeps your most skilled staff happy. You might consider outsourcing this aspect of talent management to reputable organisations like BRC. BCR offer comprehensive learning solutions, can streamline the process and ensure access to industry-leading expertise
  • Gig economy integration: embracing the rise of the gig economy by providing a remote job position and contractor or freelancing prospects.
  • Listening to employees: Get feedback from your employees and allow their input to shine in order to connect your HR methods to their values and aspirations. Make your employees feel appreciated and looked after.
  • Employee rewards and awards: Implement creative ways to showcase and reward employees for their commitment. Foster innovative rewards and rewards plans (including benefits packages) to improve retail employee engagement and retention.
  • Reducing “Talent Hoarding”: Promote internal job postings through job boards and collaboration. Foster ‘hoarding’ of critical skills inside departments or the company.
  • Strengthening your Employee Value Proposition: Emphasise work-life harmony, employee wellness, growth prospects, and employer reputation. 
  • Employee Referral Programme: Create a worker referral plan. Implement a worker referral plan in order to incentivise workers to refer quality candidates for open jobs. 
  • More Flexibility: Offer flexibility in work arrangements. This includes remote work options to meet diverse employee work preferences and needs.
  • Leverage Technology: Increase technology usage by utilising AI and social media as recruitment tools to reach a broader audience. Make the hiring process more efficient and effectively analyse employee preferences and behaviour patterns.

By incorporating these strategies, retailers can recruit and retain top talent, develop an engaged workforce, and form a robust team prepared to win in the agile retail environment of 2024.

Leveraging Technology: Best Retail HR Talent Management Software

In today’s digital age, the impact of digital transformation in retail HR is undeniable. Technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing HR practices and talent management in the retail sector. 

An essential tool that should be included in your digital transformation strategy is to invest in the right HR talent management software.

Here are some of the leading HR software for retail talent management:

  • Axonify– Axonify is sophisticated HR talent management software designed to revamp employee training and development. It uses microlearning modules to provide personalised learning experiences for the employees, ensuring that they receive proper training while remaining engaged. Axonify contains adaptive technology and strong analytics that allow companies to develop a skilled labour force that is vital in their growth and diversification strategies.
  • UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group): Ultimate Kronos Group is a complete human capital management system. UKG caters to HR solutions such as talent, workforce management, payroll, and HR analytics. It supports the recruiting and interviewing process, onboarding, performance, learning, development, and engagement. Due to its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features, UKG is widely used and known for meeting the requirements of retailers.
  • Dayforce: A cloud-based human capital management platform. Dayforce is a powerful HCM solution that offers a seamlessly integrated set of HR, payroll, workforce management, and talent management capabilities. Dayforce, among others, has features for recruiting, onboarding, performance appraisal and management, and compensation management. All come with an intuitive interface and real-time data analytics.
  • TalentReef: TalentReef is a talent management solution designed specifically for retail and hospitality. It offers recruitment, applicant tracking, onboarding, performance, engagement, and compliance management. Due to its specialisation and focus on the needs and internal regulations in those two industries, it is a solution widely used by retail chains.
  • CloudAssess: CloudAssess is a cloud-based solution that enables businesses to assess and manage employee skills and competencies. This platform allows for the “continued creation of assessments based on job competency frameworks.”. In addition, CloudAssess tools give the opportunity to track employee progress and identify skill shortages. The software can be used by a retail business to assess employee skills, develop job-specific training programmes, and measure performance improvement efforts.
  • ADP Workforce Now: An all-in-one HCM solution empowered with HR, payroll, benefits administration, time and attendance tracking, and talent management features. Additionally, the HCM system also aids in recruitment processes, onboarding, performance management, learning and development, and succession planning. ADP Workforce Now is highly known for scalability and flexibility, thus serving organisations of all magnitudes, including retailers. 
  • Employment Hero: Employment Hero is an HR platform built for small businesses and retailers to help them manage all facets of HR, all in one place. It is a platform where you can schedule, develop, cover, make payments, pay accolades and rewards, and stay compliant. The easy-to-use layout and customisable user pathways make Employment Hero the most popular HR system among small-to-mid-sized retail businesses

Overall, these software solutions are designed to address the unique challenges in the retail industry and the requirements of talent management in the industry. They help organisations attract, develop, and retain top talent more effectively while optimising HR operations for improved efficiency and productivity.

Final Thoughts

Talent management in retail encompasses a range of practices aimed at acquiring, developing, and retaining skilled employees. Given the industry’s high turnover rates, talent management policies and activities are necessary to stay competitive. HR professionals should have strategies that not only draw in top talent but also cultivate their loyalty to their brand.

Understanding the importance of talent management and implementing creative HR strategies help attract, nurture, and keep top talent. This consequently facilitates a company’s growth and promotes a positive retail company culture. In the future of retail, it is ultimately the right people who will make the real difference to the retail industry’s success and viability. 

Learn how to leverage retail talent management to empower your workforce at our upcoming retail conference ‘RETAIL HR CENTRAL 2024‘ on the 15th of May. Register today.

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