How to reduce retail employee turnover

Author Martin Oliva Date May 06 2022

According to our recent report written in partnership with Boston Consulting Group, in 2020 and 2021 the vast majority of employee turnover occurred in hourly service sectors like retail. With staggering numbers of retail employees leaving their roles every single day, it’s high time for businesses to implement strong retention strategies.

What can you and your HR team do to reduce retail employee turnover at your organization? Keep reading to find out.

Flexible hours

Flexible schedules are imperative to supporting and retaining retail employees. While many members of your retail workforce may be full-time employees, those working on a part-time basis may have other responsibilities that require a flexible schedule. For instance, working parents may need to come in early to take their child to a dentist appointment, while working students may need to come in late so they have enough time to finish up their final papers.

Whatever the case may be, try to accommodate the busy schedules of your retail employees to ensure that they have the flexibility they need to continue working at your company.

Safe working environments

The COVID-19 crisis has shone a spotlight on the safety of retail working conditions. As your front line, it’s critical that retail workers feel not only safe but also supported by management when upholding safety standards for customers. Allocate part of your budget towards providing your store staff with the protective gear they need to feel safe throughout their shift.

Be sure to convey to your retail employees that their health is of utmost importance. Retail organizations that make their workers feel safe will have a much easier time with retention than those that don’t take a vested interest in their employees’ well-being.

Career path development

Make sure your retail workers can see a long-term future at your company by building clear and attainable career paths. Target does a great job of promoting employees from within and publicizes these sorts of success stories within their workforce.

In addition to regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings, retail managers should take time to chat with their employees quarterly to understand how their workers would like to grow in their careers. Maybe one cashier would love to become a store manager one day, while another may want to move into a corporate role at your retail company. Regardless, help your employees devise a clear plan of how they can get where they want to be at your organization. If your employees can’t see an achievable future at your company, they will not be inclined to stick around.

Unique benefits

With more and more retail organizations raising their hourly wages for frontline employees, it’s no longer enough just to offer competitive pay. Additionally, you must consider building out a more comprehensive retail benefits package to encourage your employees to stay. 

In addition to standard benefits like medical and dental insurance, also consider adding a few unique benefits to differentiate your retail company from the pack. For instance, PetSmart offers employees tuition assistance and Apple gives retail employees stock grants! Bespoke benefits like these will encourage you workers to stay, as they won’t be able to secure the same perks elsewhere.

Employee recognition

There is no better feeling than being rewarded for doing a great job! When your retail employees go above and beyond, be sure to encourage managers to tell them that they notice their hard work. If you don’t already have one, consider implementing an ‘employee of the month’ award at the store level so great employees are recognized on a consistent basis.

Rewarding employees for a job well done is a great way to keep them engaged in their roles and motivated to stay with your company longer.

We hope these five tips give you the inspiration you need to reduce retail employee turnover at your organization!


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About the Author

Chief People Officer

Martin Oliva

Martin Oliva leads the People function at Fountain. His experience ranges from startups to Fortune 500 companies, where he has been instrumental in searching for creative ways to develop teams and effective strategies that allow the business to thrive.