Retail is a thin-margin and labor-intensive industry where the competition never ends.There are all kinds of challenges a retailer has to face such as inventory management, shelf space management, technological adaptation, just to name a few. However, lately, a new problem has been overshadowing all the other problems, which is employee management.
HR Challenges in the Retail
The problem of employee management is quite complicated in itself. In fact, it isn’t just one challenge at all, but rather many different challenges under one umbrella:
Training has been the single biggest challenge faced by the retail. In this era where brick and mortar stores are gradually getting eaten up by massive online stores, a“personal and quality customer service” is the only thing that can save them.This is one thing that the electronic stores can’t provide to their clients, and this is where excellent training comes in.
The HR needs to focus on creating a healthy and encouraging workplace environment that imparts a positive impression on every customer that leaves the store.A few basic things, such as greeting customers with a smile, going an extra mile to make shopping a pleasant experience for them, etc. should form an essential part of the training.The crew members should also be educated on the products that are being sold in the store.So that when a customer asks the difference between a DD3 RAM and a DD4 RAM, why or why not an individual printer is better than the other, they should know the right answer.
A retail store can’t do business without its crew members on the floor.However, the employees also need to be managed properly, so that’s their abilities are used in the most efficient manner.
For starters, using decent HR software can make a huge difference right away.It will enable the HR to track the productivity of the employees,assessed by the number of hours a particular employee spends on the floor every day, the number of sales they close, etc.It can also provide critical data for strategic decision making, especially during layoffs and hiring.
The retail business works differently than the other companies.For starters, the employees working at a retail store can’t be delegated only a limited number of duties. They have to be a jack of all trades or else the business would suffer.
When hiring it is important to reflect on all the qualities a candidate has. They can’t be allowed to bask in their comfort zone. They should be able to change roles on the spot. For instance, the typical employee should be able to stock shelves, tend to customers, and the smooth process returns when need be.Pigeonholing them into a single role can easily be disastrous to the business.
Retail is one of the biggest employers of staff in the sales department. However, the industry is also suffering from a high attrition rate.
The cost of training is quite high in retail, which is why a business can’t afford to lose too many employees in a small time. What’s more, the loss of inventory is still a major problem that’s linked to it. In fact, employees themselves are the biggest fraudsters in the Indian companies.So, how can one deal with it?
Well, one of the primary reasons why retail stores have to hire new employees frequently is because the retail industry itself is not being taken seriously from the employee’s perspective. The employees want jobs in software firms and MNCs where they may get a chance to work in pristine and shiny buildings. Retail is not glamorous or appealing to them.This, however, can be changed.
For starters, the basic salary offered can be increased, at least for the top-performing members. The employees often have to work under tremendous pressure, which is why some flexibility can also be provided to them.
If the HR can create a fun workplace environment where the employees are appreciated and cared for, they will think twice before switching jobs.
Every knowledgeable business person worth their salt knows tough retail is. However, the challenges are also what make it fun.That being said, it is important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all formula for the problems. Thus, the management should carefully assess the weak spots and devise a strategy that is apt for those particular areas.