The WFC Group Blog

Do Retailers Have an Employee Experience Problem?

Posted by Neil Shah on Sep 25, 2018 11:45:00 AM

retail image

Let's get the not-so-good news out of the way first. Retail, you've got something to worry about when it comes to your employer perception.

Retailers are woefully underrepresented among top-rated workplaces

In a short article, Chain Store Age called attention to this interesting fact: only three companies on's annual list of the "50 Best Workplaces" fit within the retail industry.

These rankings take into account employee ratings, reviews and history of company job openings posted to Indeed's job board, among other criteria. In short, Indeed and others help bring to light the employee experience.

Why is this representation concerning?

The retail industry is an unrivaled economic engine, accounting for an estimated two-thirds of US GDP. According to the National Retail Federation, retail also happens to be the largest private sector employer.

Nearly 29 million people are employed in retail across 3.8 million locations. Around 42 million jobs (1 out of 4 across the US) are supported by retail.

For a market that touches so many lives, 3 out of 50 top employers seems low. That means the opportunity is high for retailers to grab hold of the wheel and take charge of their market. Those that make a conscious effort to improve early can join the ranks of Costco, Publix Super Markets and Starbucks as companies that earn employees' satisfaction.

Something Needs to Change

When your employees are highly engaged, they vouch for your brand. This holds true in person, just as it does in surveys like Indeed's. We view these results as a sign that retail employee engagement has room to improve. Maybe it's time to reevaluate the retail work experience. Time to get in touch with what employees need most to feel fulfilled in their environment and proud to support it. Time for retailers to gain proper representation as influential employers.

Where to Begin

If you're ready to go to bat for the industry and become a top-rated employer, taking a good hard look within is a great place to start. Gather employee perspectives. Do they have what they need to do their job best? Do they feel they have a purpose and a clear path for personal growth?

It may be worth evaluating the infrastructure that supports your workforce, including workforce management technologies. Does your current system allow for a balance of standardized practice with localized flexibility? Do you have the necessary tools to give HQ insight and accountability into performance across multiple storefronts (just like our task management implementation provided for The Container Store)?

Let's make a change together in claiming retail's place at the top-rated workplace table. We're here to help!

For more ideas on where to start, we suggest reading our partner Kronos's recent feature on called Aligning Customer and Employee Experience in Grocery.

Topics: Workforce Management