Hiring in Retail – Top Strategies to Onboard and Retain the Best In-Store Employees

Author: TASC Outsourcing
Apr 15, 2024

There's a lot on the plate for every retail business – hitting sales goals, increasing revenue, and keeping costs in check. Amidst all this, it’s natural for leaders to often forget about their frontline employees, ensuring that they stick around.


When our frontline workers aren't excited about their job, they don't give customers that extra-special experience necessary to boost sales. Plus, they're more likely to leave, which means lost profits and higher costs for finding and training new staff.


Retail is facing a big problem right now – around 60% of frontline retail staff have been quitting their jobs. 


It’s a cause for concern, and retailers must make the right changes to avoid being victim to the ever-increasing attrition rates. 


But how?


It all starts with making an excellent first impression and, over time, maintaining the same. 

Did you know that about 33% of workers decide whether they want to stay with a company within the first week?


That’s not all. According to a report, about 20% of employees decide to leave during the first 45 days of starting a new job. 


Do you realise how important it is to lead with a good impression? After putting all that effort into finding the right person, the last thing anybody wants is for them to second-guess their decision in the first few weeks.


The best way to deal with this challenge would be to revise your onboarding and retention strategies. It can make all the difference that your business needs. 


When you offer a good onboarding experience, your staff will be almost 70% more likely to stick around for over three years. 


Onboarding and Retaining Retail Staff – Strategies that Work


Now that you know how important it is to provide a positive employee experience, here are some simple and effective strategies that you can implement to ensure your retail staff is happy from day one – 


Making the Preboarding Experience a Pure Delight

You might miss out on a secret weapon you could use to leave a great first impression – the preboarding stage. Most retailers make the mistake of thinking that the excitement candidates show during interviews will remain the same. The job market is fierce, and opportunities exist everywhere; you must take the first step in keeping the excitement alive. 


Here's how to do it right – 


  1. Personal Welcome – Send new hires a warm welcome message. Let them know you're there for any questions they might have. 
  2. Complete the Employee Profile – Encourage newbies to fill out their employee profile. It makes them feel like they're already part of the team and puts them in the right spirits.
  3. Meet the Team – Give them a sneak peek into their future team. Knowing who they'll be working with helps them feel more at home from the beginning. 
  4. Fun Learning Materials – Make things interesting for them with short and interesting videos or readings about the company's mission, vision, and values. It's like a crash course on what makes your workplace awesome.
  5. Sort Out the Paperwork – Get the boring stuff out of the way – paperwork, handbooks, etc. It will ensure a smooth transition into the company routine.
  6. Share the Important Stuff – Let them know what matters – pay, time off, holidays, benefits. 
  7. First Day Plan – Paint a picture of their first day. It helps build excitement and allows them to prepare for what's coming. 

Creating a Memorable Day One

The day your new hire joins is your ultimate opportunity to make them feel welcome. Here’s how you can do it – 


  1. Show Them Around – Give your new hire a tour of their workspace and the tools they'll be using. Getting familiar with everything helps them feel more at home. 
  2. Make Introductions – Introduce them to their co-workers and team members. Meeting everyone multiple times helps them quickly become part of the team.
  3. Give Them Something to Do – Begin by assigning small tasks to let them showcase their skills. It boosts their confidence and shows they’re a valuable addition to the team.
  4. Create a Sense of Community – Invite them to join the company's social media and networking groups. Make sure they know about upcoming team events. Building a sense of community makes the workplace more enjoyable.
  5. Take Them to Lunch – Treat them to lunch. It's a simple way to show they're valued. Plus, it's a chance to chat outside work and get to know them better. By doing these things, employers can ensure a new team member's first day is not just about work but also leaves a positive and inclusive impression.

Making Work More Engaging

About 30% of employees leave their jobs because they do not enjoy what they do. You might want to keep a good worker in the same role, but that often makes them look for more exciting challenges elsewhere. 


Even another report confirmed that 59% of employees are so disengaged that they’re quitting jobs quietly. 


It’s evident that boring and repetitive work is a big reason why people leave in retail – around 25% of frontline retail workers say they quit because the work isn't meaningful. 


Luckily, retailers can use technology to handle the boring, monotonous tasks so that workers can focus on more interesting tasks. Doing this not only makes things more efficient but also makes the job more satisfying because employees get to do more interesting stuff.


Offering Better Training for Managers

Leaving a job often comes down to more than just the tasks—it's also about the leaders. Three out of 10 workers leave because their bosses lack empathy or fail to inspire.


People want to be part of a workplace where leaders help them do their best. It's frustrating when managers don't notice hard work or potential. Feeling undervalued pushes employees to seek a place where their efforts truly matter.


Managers play a critical role in keeping retail staff on board. Having an inspiring leader, avoiding too much control, and offering chances for career growth make a big impact.


So, it's essential to focus on giving managers better training. And it's not a one-time thing. Make it an ongoing effort with monthly workshops and masterclasses. Encourage managers to share their thoughts and let them know you support them when they need help dealing with specific issues.

Building a Feedback-Friendly Culture

Workers who believe their opinions matter are 4.6x more likely to give their top-notch performance.


To make employees feel more connected and engaged, bosses should let them be part of decisions and understand what they want. It would mean regularly asking for their thoughts and actually doing something about it.


A study even found that when companies offer frequent strength-based feedback to employees, their turnover rate reduced to 15%


It shows that it’s not just about hearing your staff but also offering positive feedback and appreciation whenever necessary. 


Closing Thoughts


Even when you do everything right as an employer, people might still decide to leave sometimes. When that happens, it's important to respect everyone's choices. 


It's not easy to say goodbye, but how you do it is essential to those who stick around. 

As a retailer, the key is to give your employees good reasons to stay. When you keep your team happy, not only will you keep them around, but you'll also attract top-notch talent.