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GUEST COMMENT How retailers can prevent workers from shopping for new opportunities

While retailers are busy trying to address vital issues such as increasing foot traffic and attracting customer’s spending power as well as improving conversation rates, they could be losing grip on talented workers.

No matter what you make of the widely covered ‘demise of the high street’, the negative press could be putting people off roles in the retail sector and persuading existing retail workers to seek new opportunities in other industries. The 2017 Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD and The Adecco Group found UK employers are struggling to fill roles with the right candidates despite a near-record number of vacancies.

Retail is often seen as the gateway for younger workers that want to find their way into the fashion industry. For others, it provides steady stopgap employment while studying for their main career choice. For those that remain in retail, there are plenty of opportunities to be had, from buyers and merchandisers to positions in management and marketing. However, what is evident is that retail relies heavily on shop floor workers.

It’s not the easiest job, being on your feet all day, often working unsociable hours as the only ‘faces’ of the business that deal directly with customers. Retail businesses should consider placing greater emphasis on the progression opportunities available to those working at the lower levels of the career ladder. In doing so they could be safeguarding staffing levels and also improve employment and retention by considering that better perks which can have a tangible impact on workers lives.

Off the shelf solutions

Smart scheduling software is one way of improving satisfaction for a workforce. A smart scheduling platform can automatically define rotas based on availability entered into the platform by workers themselves via a simple smartphone app. This enables a greater work-life balance as the platform takes the headache out of creating a rota that comes close enough to pleasing everybody.

However, considering the daily demands modern society has on today’s workforces, retailers might have to go a step further than smart shift scheduling. Managing money is tough for workers on all salary levels. Impulse spending is particularly high amongst younger workers and there is a myriad of high-cost credit options available that could see workers borrowing their way into debt while trying to balance their incomings with their outgoings.

Retailers could reduce financial stress in the workforce and improve employment and retention by exploring flexible pay as a perk that sits alongside the traditional pay cycle. Flexible pay lets workers access funds from their own earned pay rather than struggling until payday or resorting to borrowing to get by.

Using £100 of funds from an overdraft for just 30 days can cost up to £180 in overdraft fees. Hastee Pay’s recent research reveals that 88% of people would take pay frequency into account when looking for a new job.

A positive impact

Retailers providing flexible pay can also have a positive impact on mental health and a person’s quality of life. Money charity MIND and the NHS have both highlighted links between money worries and poor mental health. Hastee Pay’s research found that nearly three-quarters of 18 to 34 year-olds have experienced mental health or financial wellbeing issues. It also revealed that 54% of earners say the frequency of pay has an impact on their lifestyle choices.

Businesses can experience repercussions by failing to address financial wellbeing in the workforce. Hastee Pay’s research found that 25% of workers state that they have suffered from a lack of concentration at work due to their personal finance concerns, thereby highlighting a threat to business productivity.

Considering that solutions like flexible pay and smart scheduling can be free to implement for employers, there is plenty of potentials for the retail sector to boost employment, employee engagement and staff retention by introducing these exciting new perks.

Author: James Herbert, chief executive officer, Hastee Pay 

Image credit: Fotolia

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