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How to overcome the labour shortage in retail in 2023?

Jackson Versitano, Regional Manager, UK & RoEMEA for Lightspeed: If you’re in retail, you’ve likely struggled with labour shortages in your business. Some of your ex-employees… View Article


How to overcome the labour shortage in retail in 2023?

Jackson Versitano, Regional Manager, UK & RoEMEA for Lightspeed:

If you’re in retail, you’ve likely struggled with labour shortages in your business. Some of your ex-employees might be choosing to leave the workforce, others are simply looking for something, well, better.

If you want to stack the odds in your favour, you’ll have to really stand out from the crowd and make people want to work for you (rather than expecting them to). We’ve put together our top tips for recruiting and retaining talent for years to come. 

Understand what workers want

There are five main reasons workers look for new jobs (according to PWC’s 2022 Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey): they want something more fulfilling, somewhere they can be themselves, being fairly rewarded financially, having a team that cares about them, and a manager who listens to them.

If you want to make sure your staff won’t leave you, you need to make sure you’re offering them a reason not to. The reasons listed are a great place to start. But, how can you actually do this? Here’s a few best practices you can begin to work on.

Improve your company culture

Company culture refers to a company’s shared values, attitudes, processes, policies, and behaviours that shape how the organisation is run. You need to provide a great company culture with genuine values that empower your employees.

The O. C Tanner’s 2023 Global Culture report, which surveyed more than 4,600 UK employees, leaders, HR practitioners, and business executives throughout 2021 and 2022 found that 34% of employees do not consider their workplace a community with 27% stating that they felt like outsiders at work.

And, companies who fostered a workplace community were 58% less likely to have employees actively looking for a new job. UK Recruiting Agency, Randstad, even found that 34% of UK employees would rather be unemployed than unhappy in their job.

Company culture was already of essence for employees previous to the pandemic as shown by a 2019 study from Glassdoor which found that a great company culture is not just a nice-to-have for most people, but rather, a total necessity as:

  • 71% would “look for a job elsewhere if their current company’s culture deteriorates”.
  • 56% said, “Company culture is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction”.
  • 77% would “consider a company’s culture before applying to a job there”.
  • 73% would “not apply to a company unless its values aligned with their own”.

In short, if you’re not making active strides in creating a workplace community, encouraging employee happiness, and improving company culture you will see huge struggles with employee recruitment and retention. You can improve your company culture by:

Communicating openly: Encouraging open and honest communication between employees and management is vital. Employees need to be heard. And, when they feel as though they’re not being listened to, they’ll be made to feel as though they’re not of value.

Talk with your staff. Listen to their opinions. Be active in addressing their concerns. Try to set up weekly individual meetings with each of your employees where you can offer feedback, talk through career goals and training, and listen to any concerns they may be having.

Encouraging collaboration: You should cultivate an environment that enables collaboration and teamwork. Make your employees feel as though they’re a part of something bigger. You might be surprised at how much this will boost team morale.

Try to give your employees tasks that they can complete together. Offer your staff the opportunity to train one another on certain different tasks. Or, even doing something as simple as a ‘Coffee Break’, with a few of your staff (that may not collaborate much) having a chance to get to know one another a little better. 

Providing recognition: Your staff work hard. They deserve to know that you recognise their hard work and want to celebrate their accomplishments.

Offer performance-related financial incentives (e.g. Quarterly Bonus, Dividends), and promotions (improved salary and responsibilities) for long-term achievement. In the short term, simple things like random days off, and gift vouchers can be great ways to celebrate and champion your staff. 

Promoting training: Allow your employees to learn new skills and develop professionally. Ultimately, it’s likely your employees won’t work for you forever. But, equipping them with the tools they need to flourish for years to come will not only enable them to be more productive, efficient, and so on, but also have them singing your praises.

Improve your benefits packages

Employees not only value, but expect, competitive benefits packages whenever they’re looking for a new role. You’ll need to make sure that the benefits you offer provide genuine value to your employees.

And, we don’t mean the basics. Free tea and coffee, bank holidays, and parking spaces don’t count. That’s what workers expect as a bare minimum. Here are some examples:

  • Competitive Paid Time Off (PTO)
  • Flexible working hours
  • Private healthcare
  • Private dental care
  • Health and wellness budget (e.g. Gym membership, prescription glasses, etc.)
  • Pension contributions
  • Childcare allowance
  • Employee discounts 

Raise your salary package 

You knew this was coming. You’ll likely need to raise your salaries. We know, it’s not ideal. But, simply put, if you decide to offer higher salaries, you’ll find it much easier to recruit potential employees. Workers want to make as much money as they can.

  • You’ll recruit greater talent: Potential employees are more likely to apply for a job with a higher annual salary (as it’s more appealing). This increases the number of applicants, and the talent pool to choose from.
  • Less turnover: If you’re offering competitive salaries, your employees are less likely to leave. Less turnover means less money spent on recruiting and training. Also, it’s never good for morale when team members constantly keep leaving.
  • Improved morale: Workers need to feel valued. And, if they’re not being paid enough, they won’t be. Low morale is not something that should be looked over. It will affect other team members, employee efficiency, and, especially in a retail environment, customer relations.

If you want to learn more about improving your company culture, managing your retail business, and more, you can check out Lightspeed’s content library here.


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