As we begin the new year, it is crucial retailers are on top of staffing issues – a challenge which is following retailers into 2023. Fourth’s latest research found 78% of retail leaders are worried about talent shortages in their business for the year ahead. With consumers watching their cash after the festive season, retailers cannot afford a poor shopping experience impacting potential sales – meaning getting staffing right is essential.
Technology continues to play an important role in helping retailers to achieve the right staffing balance. Workforce management solutions not only help managers plan effectively, but also enable flexibility, enhance communication, and generally offer more support for both employees and employers – all crucial for attracting and retaining the best talent.
Enhancing your workforce
At the start of 2023, half of retail employees (53%%) feel both overworked and underappreciated due to staffing issues. To combat this, taking action and increasing their staffing levels during busy periods is essential – from national events like the upcoming coronation to holidays and celebrations from Easter through to summer sales and back to school promotions. Fortunately, Fourth’s 2022 data showed that 63% of retail leaders planned to hire more staff for the recent festive season, a positive step to ensure demand at one of retail’s busiest times of year was met with supply.
For 2023, with workforce management solutions that offer demand forecasting capabilities, retailers can offset some of this recent extra expense in increasing staff by ensuring the optimal number of employees is distributed across a store’s key functions throughout the working day.
Supporting and retaining your workforce
Whilst the continued hiring of employees to suit demand is important, retail leaders must also prioritise actions that will ensure that they retain their best talent. In fact, Fourth’s data shows the ability to see payslips online and in real-time with earned wage access (34%), access to apps that allow real-time communication with employers (29%), and access to digital scheduling (26%) all rank highly among the technologies that would make retail employees’ jobs easier in 2023. It is important that employers lean into this to prioritise the wants and needs of their staff. If retailers intend to hold onto the best of their workforce during the beginning of the year; technology is essential in furthering this support.
The introduction of financial wellbeing solutions, such as earned wage access, can assist with retention during an economically uncertain time, allowing staff to access their wages in real-time. In fact, 81% of retail employees said that access to wages as they are earnt would help to reduce their financial stress in 2023, up from 62% in 2022.
The sheer number of employees showing interest in flexible pay with earned wage access schemes is telling. With a proven up to 86% reduction in financial stress, it is clear enhancing payroll leads to happier and more productive employees. It is important therefore that retailers meet this demand adequately. However, only 15% of employees currently have access to such schemes, the same amount who had access at the start of 2022 – indicating no action from retailers within the past year.
As 2023 begins, it is pivotal that retailers are proactive in tackling staffing challenges and are optimising technology to support their workforce. Practices put in place now will only strengthen retailers’ positions further into 2023, setting them up to navigate an economically tricky year with a united and happy team.