With the pandemic as a backdrop to constant change and uncertainty, employees of retail companies have had to adapt in many ways. Unfortunately, this has led them to grow increasingly disengaged. More than ever, it’s vital that businesses proactively combat decreased engagement. Below is a summary of our report on key employee engagement statistics. These findings will empower retail business owners to make the changes they need to better support their employees and, ultimately, benefit their businesses.
Engagement and turnover
Employee engagement is down from last year, with 38% of deskless workers reporting high engagement and 29% not feeling engaged at all. This is significant—lower engagement leads to a decrease in customer service quality and profits while increasing absenteeism and turnover.
There are 5 main reasons for decreased engagement:
- Stagnant work. Work that is not challenging does little to stimulate – much less engage – workers.
- Pandemic-related stress. Two years of shutdowns and constantly adapting to changing conditions have made employees tired, stressed, and disengaged.
- Turnover. Not only does turnover affect morale, but it also means more time and effort is spent recruiting and training new staff.
- Changes in culture or business model. These shifts can cause workers to feel less connected to the company.
- Poor management. Managers ill-equipped to lead their staff through change contribute to low morale and uncertainty.
To boost engagement, employees suggested better communication and tools, offering incentives and rewards, improving management, and building team morale.
Customer service quality
Compared to last year, the percentage of employees who said they provide outstanding customer service quality dropped from 56.4% to 38.0%. However, the rate of those who said service quality decreased (32.9%) was roughly the same as that of those who said it increased (34.9%).
Employees who noticed a decrease attributed it to a shortage of inventory, limited hours of operation, and a lack of customer service training, employee recognition, and technology.
Employees with the right tools are more engaged and provide better customer service. Unfortunately, only about half (54%) of employees said they had the tools they needed.
The drop in this percentage from 71.8% last year may be due to an overall need for new tools to adapt to changes brought on by the pandemic—for example, new technology used for curbside pick-up or real-time updates for in-store inventory.
This is not to say employees don’t have any tools. In fact, 30.5% said they used 8 or more tools daily. What matters is having the tools that they actually need. In this case, quality beats quantity.
Communication is directly related to employees feeling like the company recognizes their value. A little more than half (54.6%) of employees believe their company is aware of their value.
Businesses should use what communication tools they have—email, digital signage, mobile apps, verbal, etc.—to make employees feel connected to the company and to ensure that they are being recognized for the value they bring. Recognition and a sense of belonging are vital when improving employee engagement.
Future engagement and commitment
A staggering 51.8% of retail employees say they will likely quit their jobs in the next year. Furthermore, 45% think their companies will be out of business in the next 5 years. They believe factors such as a lack of employee incentives and rewards will contribute to this result.
It is clear that retail employees see a direct correlation between employee engagement and the longevity of an organization. As such, it is more important than ever that companies put in the effort required to make employees feel valued and engaged.
These employee engagement statistics create a picture of decreased engagement in 2022 and warn us of the negative impacts this can have on businesses.
Below are 4 main recommendations to improve employee engagement across retail:
- Invest in employee tools and technology.
- Prioritize communication.
- Offer more incentives and rewards.
- Provide sufficient training.
Implementing these measures will boost engagement, and, as a result, companies should expect to enjoy benefits such as better customer service quality and employee commitment.
Get a more in-depth look at our findings and statistics on employee engagement in our complete eBook, 2022 State of the Deskless Work – Retail.