By Claudine Rochecouste
Head of Learning and Development, Retail Doctor Group

In 2023, the post pandemic climate has created a war for talent and retail is no exception. You may ask yourself… Where are all the good people? My guess would be that they have either made a career change (given the lack of career path planning and succession planning in retail in general) OR they are with a competitor that has more to offer them.

In my almost 30 years working in executive leadership teams within the retail industry I have admittedly witnessed more strategic goals, meetings, energy and focus on product performance than I have on people performance.

These days it’s not just dollars they are after. In fact, all the current research shows that work flexibility and learning and development opportunities are in the top five things people are in search of in a job. We spend 5-10x a salary to recruit and hire someone and then a minuscule fraction of that to help them be successful and stay. Millennials are also looking for brands that they have a philanthropic connection with. An organisation that has core values aligned to their own, a healthy and engaging culture and which values sustainability. Not asking too much?  Where to start? Let’s take a look through our people checklist to see how you fair………

Below is a six point checklist with key questions to ask that will form how you strategise for your business’s people and culture.

RDG Retail Leaders “2023 People” Checklist

What is our Employee Value Proposition:
– Who would want to work for us and why?
– How would we define our Employer Brand and how is it aligned to our overall brand values?
– What do we offer our employees?
– What makes our offer enticing and unique and gives us a point of difference?

What is our current spend on training and development as a % of our annual budget?
– As a guide, ideally it should be sitting around 5%.
– Is it in proportion to my overall strategic goals? Have we given it enough value in our budget?

What areas do we need to target to maximise results?
– If every retail team member were to attempt the add on sale, what difference would it make to our bottom line results?
– If every staff member asked for the sale, what difference would it make to our figures?
– Are my stores maintaining consistent standards? If our team members were up-skilled on product knowledge and sales performance standards what difference would it make to our customer experience and items per sales and/or average transaction?
– Are we using our mystery shop results to identify gaps? If so what are they?
– Are my shop floor team members highly skilled sales people?
– Do these team members reflect our brand promise to customers?
– Have we crossed checked all divisions and departments for training needs and if we’ve addressed these needs what increases in performance would we expect to see? E.g Buying, Visual Merchandising, Marketing, Merchandise Planning, Operations, supply chain, etc.

What is our recruitment & selection strategy?
– How can we target our core customer group to attract the right talent who are aligned to our brand?
– Get creative and assertive with your campaign and think outside of the box. Set your recruitment and selection criteria clearly and don’t compromise on standards just to put “bums in seats” so to speak.

How are we currently driving a performance driven culture?
– If I was a team member within your company, how would I know what I am expected to achieve? How is my performance measured? What support and or coaching do I receive to achieve success?
– And lest we forget, great onboarding can cut a new hire’s time to quota in HALF. That could be 1-2 extra months of productivity on an already-shrinking employee lifespan. Worth it!

How are we retaining talent?
– What is my staff turnover rate?
– Exit interview feedback?
– Why would I stay?
– Are we mapping career paths and what are we doing to maxmise our succession planning?
– What incentives and benefits are there to remain loyal and long-term with your organisation?

The war for talent is still here and most of our retail and hospitality community are experiencing their share of talent challenges. To ensure a successful 2023, “People” need to be in focus now more than ever before despite the increase in e-commerce, people are still at the heart and core of any business especially retail.

As a result of common retailer performance gaps(covered in part 2 of this series), vacancies, high turnover, shortage of quality applicants, these people issues don’t just go away. Instead they translate to minimal performance standards, poor customer experiences, lost sales, poor brand representation and greatly hinder the successful deployment of other strategic priorities and objectives of the organisation.

Let’s face it, without collaborative people power no initiative nor project would be executed effectively nor achieved or translated to results.

So please fellow retailers …. let’s start 2023 with a final wake up call, it’s time to pay attention to your people and put them at the top of your priority list.

With all the modern technology in the world statistics show time and time again that humans crave human interactions.

Bricks and mortar and the holistic shopping experience is what people crave. Your instore customer experience heavily depends on your team members (whom are representatives of your brand). In fact your sales depend on it. How much are you investing in attracting and retaining the best talent for your business? How will you win the talent war in 2023?

If you’re looking for a retail training program which ticks all of the above why not have a look at our Retail Academy:
  1. It’s an engaging and insightful learning and development journey for your team members.
  2. Engages them in organisational values and goals.
  3. Up-skills and lifts sales performance by 5-10%.
  4. Maximises your customer experience and more.

Contact RDG L&D Division to discuss your needs.
or call +61 2 9460 2882.