Employee retention in retail is more important than ever

Jan Prickett TellermateYour employees are your most valuable asset. Which is why employee retention in retail is critically important in today’s competitive retail environment.

Much of the latest retail buzz surrounds the significance of the customer experience – and rightly so. Customer loyalty isn’t what it used to be; and brick-and-mortar retailers are putting up a good fight to offer memorable, personalized experiences to entice shoppers into their stores.

But one crucial part of bringing these customers back into your stores is your employees – as long as they are friendly, knowledgeable, engaged, efficient and helpful.

The high cost of losing retail employees

The turnover rate for retail employees is notoriously high ‒ 67% for part-time retail workers.  Add to this the fact that employee turnover is expensive. A study by the Center for American Progress found that the cost to replace an employee who makes less than $30,000 a year – a category into which most part-time retail associates fall – is 16% of their annual salary. Put another way, replacing an employee who makes $20,000 a year costs the employer roughly $3,200. And some studies report that figure to be much higher.

Here are just some of the costs associated with employee churn:

  • Temporarily covering an employee’s duties through overtime for other staff or coping with being short-staffed
  • The time it takes to place job ads, screen applicants, conduct interviews, verify applicant backgrounds, and carry out employment testing
  • Training costs such as orientation, teaching new staff members their duties, shadowing other employees and supplying uniforms
  • A new employee’s learning curve, which could include reduced quality, errors and slower productivity
  • Low employee morale associated with constant turnover

If you’re in charge of staffing stores and managing retail employees, you would likely agree that retaining good employees is both critically important and tough at the same time. Retail human resources staff recruit, interview, conduct background checks, hire, onboard, motivate – all in hopes of finding – and keeping the top performers.

The toll retail stress takes on your employees

Several steps can be taken to help hire and retain the right employees for your business. This could include paying better wages than your competitors, pairing new employees with a mentor, or providing a path of growth within the organization.

But what about reducing on-the-job retail stress and the fact that stress adversely affects employee retention? Although dealing with some stress is a part of everyday life – and particularly during retail’s busy seasons – it is often unnecessary. Especially when this stress results from a lack of procedures and the prevalence of wishy-washy processes that make it difficult for honest employees to thrive.

Let’s say you want to be a successful retail manager or human resources director and you hire a hard-working, competent cashier who takes the job seriously and does the best she can to balance the drawer at shift’s end. But, she shares a cash drawer with two others, and it often falls short during closeouts or shift changes. Cash counting is done inconsistently, sometimes after hours, and the process changes from one day to the next. Sometimes, there is no time for closeouts, so the drawer doesn’t get counted until the next day. And money is missing.

Mistrust creeps into your store along with resentment. Not only does this honest cashier wonder if her co-workers are stealing, but she’s fearful of becoming suspected of theft as well. Perhaps local management practices require this cashier and her co-workers to make up for shortfalls by dipping into their pockets to balance the drawer; or to take money from a slush fund.

Stress, doubt and bitterness toward the retail environment continues to build. And this honest employee decides the job isn’t worth it and quits – particularly since unemployment rates in many areas of the world are low, and there are plenty of other retail establishments that will hire.

Retail technology protects employer and employee alike

Clever retail technology can prevent staff stress at cashing up time, during spot checks, and even if and when a customer claims a cashier has given the incorrect change. An intelligent cash drawer tracks cash transactions in real-time, so employer and employee alike are protected.

How? Tellermate’s LiveDrawer™ eliminates cash loss – and therefore stress – at the source. In fact, LiveDrawer even does away with a point of contention between unions and retailers since some unions dislike the use of shared tills.

The count-by-weight cash management solution reconciles cash in the drawer against your point of sale (POS) system, meaning you get a real-time picture of the physical cash in a drawer. If a cash handling mistake occurs or an employee pockets a $10 bill, you get an instant alert that something’s amiss. The LiveDrawer™ Manager dashboard allows you to drill down to the exact store, lane number, cashier, drawer and time the infraction occurred. So, it can be corrected on the spot or provide an audit trail for later.

By pinpointing cash discrepancies, honest employees are protected – thus, their stress is reduced. Which mitigates the cost of possibly replacing a diligent and conscientious staff member. In fact, the audit trail may actually save your business from potential litigation costs that could occur when a minimum wage employee was forced to make up for losses from her own pocket.

And let’s face it, when your employees are happy and feel protected on the job, they are likely to become the brand ambassadors you need to create those much-needed customer experiences. Because when you invest in your employees’ well-being, you are more likely to keep them.

Looking for ways to reduce staff stress, retain valuable employees and mitigate the costs associated with staff turnover? Find out more about the LiveDrawer solution.

Tellermate LiveDrawer Intelligent Cash Drawer

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