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When an employee leaves your business, they take with them all the skills and experience they’ve accumulated during their time with you. Replacing these things can cost considerable amounts of time and money. Plus, there’s the hassle and expense of covering the lost productivity while you seek to fill the role again.

It’s therefore in the interest of employers to reduce the rate at which staff need to be replaced.

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Why is this a problem in retail?

Recent research reveals a staff turnover rate of around 38% in the retail industry. This rate of attrition can be put down to several factors. 

Retail staff are more likely to be on lower pay and to be asked to work weekends and evenings. They’re unlikely to be able to pick up skills and progress their careers, and there’s a lack of opportunity for promotion, with most stores being very bottom-heavy. Retail can also be surprisingly physically demanding, with employees being on their feet for long periods.

So, exactly how do we address this problem. Several strategies stand out.

Get Recruitment Right

At the outset, you should look to recruit personnel that will stick around for the long term. This means vetting candidates thoroughly, and having an ideal employee in mind when you compose interview questions. Look for someone with the right personality and disposition. Many would-be retail employees are heading into the industry by default; you should be on the lookout for people with personalities that match the demands of the job.

Look to weed out candidates who are overqualified, or underqualified, for the position. The former may become bored and dissatisfied, and leave quickly. The latter may be pushed away by the learning curve.

Give Staff the Right Onboarding

‘Onboarding’ is a piece of jargon that refers to the process via which your employees are brought up to speed when they’re first brought in. In a recent blog post, MHR International note that around 40% of new hires leave within the first 45 days as a result of a negative onboarding experience. In around 5% of cases, they quit after the first day (though we might equally attribute this to a failure of vetting and expectation management earlier in the recruitment process).

Investing in Training

Among the most high-cited reasons that employees leave their current positions is a perceived lack of opportunity to progress. Employers might counteract this by investing in training programs that allow employees to pick up new skills, and to take advantage of any opportunities that might arise within the business. When you recruit from within, you send a message to the entire workforce that it’s possible to move forward without leaving the company.

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