Retail HR: 3 Trends to Watch Right Now

The first few months of 2017 have flown by. March is here and spring is on its way. For many retailers, the battle for customers continues, as well as the struggle to keep their employees. As the first quarter of the year almost comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on ways to improve employee retention. Starting immediately, because business doesn’t wait around for anyone. Here are 3 HR trends for retailers to watch right now.

I. Your Applicants — and Employees — Are Your Customers

You know what they say about the power of repetition right? We’ve talked about the importance of treating your applicants as your customers before. In retail, most of your candidates are your customers too. Needless to say it’s tricky to reject them; turning applicants down for a job might turn them away from your business too. What’s more, disappointed candidates may spread the word about their unsatisfying applicant experience among their friends and family. In a hugely competitive environment such as the retail industry, that obviously is the last thing you want.

Now, what to do? Start by thinking of your applicants as your customers. Show them the same friendliness and willingness to listen. Answer them in due course when they send an application and keep them posted on the next steps of your application process. In other words: keep them happy.

The same thing goes for your employees by the way. If your employees are content, they are more likely to go the extra mile for your customers. This in turn will lead to an increase in business. Besides, happy staff members have no reason to leave, which is good for your turnover rate. Especially in retail, a sector that has one of the highest unwanted turnover levels, this is a welcome change. For more in-depth information on how to treat your employees as customers, go here.

II. Technology for Targetting

Retention starts before you’ve even recruited new employees. It’s all about hiring the right people — i.e. people that are a perfect fit for your company and culture. Employees that fit are naturally more engaged and thus less likely to leave. One way to find exactly those candidates you’re looking for, is by using something called programmatic advertising — we’ve posted a blog about programmatic advertising in HR before, you can find it here if you missed it.

What it boils down to is this: programmatic advertising makes it possible to target your commercial/message/job ad directly at a specific audience. For recruiters this means they can now define what candidate profile they are looking for and aim their job advert directly at the relevant people. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the use of programmatic advertising in recruitment saves a lot of time and money, not just during the search, but also when the applicant is hired.

Another thing to keep in mind, particularly when it comes to hiring for retail, is the importance of social media. With many young employees working in the retail industry — mainly millennials and generation Z kids — social recruitment will continue to grow. You can go as crazy — or non crazy — as you like, but some basic social knowledge is a must. A creative agency in New York for instance set up two Tinder profiles (yes, Tinder is a dating app) to look for their potential rockstar interns. You can find a few more creative examples here.

III. Feedback & Rewards

Regular readers of our Haver blog already know this: 21st Century employees want continuous feedback. A once a year talk with the manager doesn’t cut it anymore. Ideally your staff wants (instant) feedback from each other as well, via a company forum or an app for example.

When it comes to financial rewards, the same thing is true. Money is a popular reason for retail employees to leave a company and as such a big contributor to the unwanted turnover in the industry. Employees, retail staff included — especially since their salaries usually aren’t that high — don’t want a yearly evaluation. So if you haven’t done so yet, it’s time to turn to a regular feedback system as well as a financial reward scheme — outside the annual raise — for your staff as soon as possible.

Trends in the Selection Process

Trends are rarely limited to one single space. The demand for feedback doesn’t just come from employees, candidates want to know how they did too. Ideally they want to get out of the application process feeling they learned something from it — even if they didn’t get the job they applied for. From our own experience at Harver we know how much applicants value a personal feedback report. It’s one of the reasons why our preselection tool TalentPitch sends an individual results overview to every candidate that went through the online assessment.

The same thing goes for the targeted recruitment trend we see in retail HR. Companies try to narrow down their applicant pool as accurately as possible during the selection process. The use of a data driven preselection tool allows them to create exactly the profile they are looking for; in terms of personality, intelligence, skills and company culture.

Get Going!

Obviously you don’t need to follow every trend that pops up. The ones we spoke about in this blog though, are more than just another hype. They are part of a shifting perspective on employee-employer relationships on one hand and a different way of thinking about personal growth and work on the other. More than the umpteenth HR trend, these changes are elements of a new, 21st century workforce mentality. And it’s time to seriously start working on them.

The Beginner’s Guide to Predictive Analytics in HR: Get Your Free Copy!

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