The curse of retail for the last few years has been the relentless filling and re-filling of roles at every job level. Especially in Canada, which has historically ranked amongst the highest countries for retail employee turnover.
Resumes showing more than 2 years at any one company are becoming rare.
Fewer people working in retail trade
According to the Labour Force Survey for September 2021 from Statistics Canada, employment fell by 20,000 (-0.9%) in retail trade, bringing employment in the industry to 3.1% (-71,000) below its February 2020 level. Despite the easing of many restrictions across Canada, employment in the industry has hovered around the same level since June. Also, data shows that the total number of active businesses in the industry has shown little growth in 2021 and was 2.7% below its February 2020 level as of June 2021.
Whose fault is it? YOURS (Retailers)
4 Reasons Driving High Canadian Job Turnovers in Retail…
- Career Wounds
At some point along the employment path you hurt your staff. Either they got passed over for promotion without explanation, that raise didn’t come or they feel ignored or abused. Rarely will they tell you how they are feeling. You will see it in their declining engagement with you and the role. Goals are missed. Energy is decreased. Within 6 months of a career wound most employees are either gone or you have terminated them. Learn to read your staff. Which means you have to spend time with them, dig, ask.
- Lack of Career Path
Ask any recruiter and they will tell you the number one reason people agree to speak with us about new roles is stagnation. They have no particular career path to follow. They might get a promotion one day or not. They have no sense their work is adding value or they are getting anywhere. Clear game plans are the future of hiring. You can no longer hire for just the role at hand. You need to hire with a full plan.
- Negativity (Lack of Praise)
Most staff only ever hear from their bosses when they make a mistake. The old rule of “say 9 positive things before you say 1 negative thing” has gone out the window. Candidates often say the stream of endless criticisms is unbearable. They feel disrespected and undervalued. Create and track a Praise System to ensure you aren’t sucking the positive energy out of everyone who works for you.
If the only way to get a raise of substance in your firm is to quit and go somewhere else, you can be sure they will. The average next offer is between 5k and 10k more. What’s so great about working for you that exceeds the value of such a raise? If you cannot answer that, you are the problem. Well your sense of value of your people is.
How do you fix it?
Recognize that it costs you so much more to have empty roles not filled in your stores! Retailers have to stop talking about pay bands as if they are clad in iron. “Not in our budget this year” to give bonuses. These throw up your hands, can’t fix answers don’t fly with the little bit of retail talent left in the pool. If you can’t be nimble with compensation, you won’t keep talent.
Give Human Resources the tools to hire outside the pay bands to find the right fit that will stay and help you build your brand.
Relationship building with great staff is much better dollars spent than just hiring the cheapest person to fill the role. They will leave as soon as someone offers more pay and/or incentive. If you want to be able to expect job loyalty from your employees and new hires, you need to treat them well.
Give them reasons to stay and be loyal.