Three Ways to Retain Retail/Blue-Collar Employees

September 20, 2021
concept image of employee retention. stick figures surrounding a horseshoe shaped magnet
It's increasingly difficult to retain employees. Don't worry, we have a few killer tips to help you out!

As companies have rapidly evolved in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States and many other countries have witnessed a shortage of staff in the workforce. The reasons are many and the impact can be seen all over, whether that be the 740,000 plus workers who left the leisure and hospitality field or thousands of others leaving their comfortable office jobs in favor of a workplace with flexible work options. There seems to be more job vacancies than there are people willing to work. This leaves business owners, many of whom are in desperate need for normalcy for the sake of their livelihood, in a predicament. They need workers, but are either outright losing them or, shortly after hiring, have a hard time retaining them. With that in mind, what are a few proven strategies to retain such workers in the face of this pandemic and the many challenges it presents?

Make them Feel Engaged

We’ve all been there. We show up to our retail job, punch the timecard, and try to not look at the clock, hoping that will make the day go by faster. This is the definition of disengagement. Employees feeling disengaged while at work is a key reason they move on in search for greener pastures. Why bother sticking around for something that feels mundane and monotonous? The tragic part is just how common this is. According to a study done by Qualtrics, just 53% of employees around the world are engaged in their work. There are a variety of ways to help employees feel more engaged, which we outline in the remaining sections of this article.

Create Collaborative Decision Making Processes  

There’s no better way to isolate and make an employee feel less engaged than to simply tell them what to do without soliciting any feedback. At the end of the day, it is your business. But it’s also your business when it comes to employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention. Employees who feel engaged are less likely to leave. It’s as simple as that. Involve them in the decision making process. It could be something as simple as where to display particular items, or where to make a roster change in the assembly line. Allowing employees to have a say in some aspects of the company helps them feel connected and to see the outcome, good or bad, making them feel more invested in their work.

Working on Leadership Skills 

Leadership is crucial. In fact, a Gallup poll found that “Managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores, and engagement is strongly linked to productivity.” In other words, a worker’s level of engagement and productivity can be greatly impacted by the company’s leadership, or lack thereof. Some great leadership traits include soliciting feedback, being receptive to critique, inspiring creativity from your employees, and so much more. There are tons of great leadership traits to work on, but we suggest that you start with this list we put together a few weeks ago.  

Where are we going from here?

In the face of the pandemic, it’s truly impossible to know exactly how workforce trends are going to play out in the coming years. For all we know, things can return to normal and the workforce attitude and inspiration to look for new, meaningful work could hit the proverbial reset button, but don’t count on it. We should move forward with the assumption that things will continue trending the way they do. The world has changed, but some things haven’t. Something that has not and will not change is that business owners need employees who will stick around. By focusing on employee engagement, creating a collaborative decision making process, and honing in on leadership skills, business owners are more likely to retain great employees for the future

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