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4 ways for retailers to improve their HR processes

Owning a retail business can be challenging, especially when it comes to retaining employees. Inside Retail reports that retail in Australia has a turnover rate of 41 per cent, with employees staying for an average of only 10 months. High employee turnover can be a challenge for these businesses, as time and resources must be spent on hiring and training new employees.

Retail in Australia has a turnover rate of 41 per cent with employees staying for an average of 10 months.

One way for retail business owners to address this challenge is to revamp their HR processes; this could potentially both improve employee performance and keep staff around longer. Here are four suggestions that could put you on the path towards a better HR presence and a more smooth-running business.

1. Make informed hiring decisions

Who you engage can impact every area of your business, from staff morale to operational efficiency, profitability and your company’s overall reputation. An efficient and effective employee screening process reduces the risks associated with worker engagement as well as supporting the efforts of your business to attract and retain talent.

One way to ensure that you’re bringing on the right kind of employees is to implement various screening checks so you know exactly who you’re hiring.

Salesforce notes that an employee’s interactions with customers could greatly affect your business; for this reason, it might also be smart to prioritise hiring people who you imagine will fit in well with the company culture, who have a positive attitude and who will add something valuable to the company.

They also note that having a team of competent, friendly employees to represent your brand to customers is a core component to the successful running of a retail business.

Updating your employee induction process will keep your workers safe and protect you from costly workplace injuries.
Updating your employee induction process will keep your workers safe and protect you from costly workplace injuries.

2. Review the induction process

One of the most important elements when bringing on new employees is making sure you have a streamlined induction process. In addition to giving a good first impression and making the new workers feel welcome, this means ensuring that they have received the proper, mandatory induction and workplace health and safety training.

As well as delivering generic induction training, it’s important to reflect on role and job specific tasks, including additional tailored inductions. For example, retail workers are typically on their feet for the majority of the day and could also be doing some degree of manual labour. This makes it even more imperative that they have been properly trained to follow the specific procedures outlined by your company.

These processes are beneficial for both parties; you will be teaching them how to respond and stay safe in potentially dangerous situations while also protecting your business from the costs of a workplace injury.

If a task appears hazardous, the first step is to try and get rid of it all together, according to SafeWork Australia. In some cases, it might be integral to your business’s operations, so the next step is to try to restructure it in a safer way – for example, rearranging the floor plan to be less dangerous, or making load sizes smaller.

3. Consider implementing moral boosting incentives

In some cases, retail employees have stayed at a company because they were offered incentives that boosted their morale. These can include bonus schemes, awards, team and individual acknowledgements, or even wage reviews.

Reevaluating the remuneration structure could entice your employees into staying longer and would likely improve their experience at your business.

Companies like Tesco have also implemented wellbeing programmes, such as subsidised healthcare, free counselling and money advice services which are thought to have made employees perform better at work.

Though it is just one way to achieve greater retention, reevaluating the remuneration structure could entice your employees into staying longer and would likely improve their experience at your business.

Take Walmart, for example – in 2015, the company raised the wages of 500,000 workers and saw a massive decrease in employee turnover. The operating costs increased during that time period, but so did the revenue, employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

4. Address retention initiatives

Retail, unlike the corporate world, doesn’t tend to be known for its long-term career opportunities, even though many businesses actually do have them. This issue can be addressed by coming up with retention initiatives, such as training and education (which will also better their performance and understanding of your business) and promotion opportunities.

One way to make sure your employees are aware of the potential progression opportunities at your business is to share with them a roadmap of the different available positions, including the job description and benefits. This type of initiative will not only ensure that your employees know they have the option to stay for the long term, it helps to cement their commitment to you and will give them career goals to work towards.

Many employees leave retail because they don't have progression opportunities.
Many employees leave retail because they don’t have progression opportunities.

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Streamlining your HR processes has a positive effect on both your employees and the general workplace dynamic. By making well-informed hiring decisions, implementing employee induction and workplace safety training, adding morale-boosting incentives and addressing retention initiatives, you can begin to strengthen your business’s HR presence.

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