I am well aware that I have chosen to build a business that relies heavily on recruiting fantastic people in a fluctuating industry. Retail and hospitality has always been a unique arena in this regard and I was cautioned against this in the early years. For high street retail, it is widely accepted that employees come and go more than in other industries – whether for stopgap purposes or for students looking for ways to earn a little extra cash. extra during their studies. Those who have chosen a career in retail often move up the ranks quickly with the goal of being promoted “out of the shop floor” in just a few years.
We have always taken this as a reality and have tried to get the best out of team members while they are with us, not treating those with other commitments or ambitions any differently than our long-standing team. . It has served us well over the years and our reputation means our retention is good and recruiting has never been an issue.
However, the current pressure on recruitment is the worst I can remember and it seems that even large companies, which treat their employees well, are not immune.
Job vacancies are on the rise
Recent ONS data shows that the number of job vacancies reached a new high of 1,300,000 between March and May 2022. The implications of this for recruitment are significant, as 85% of UK businesses admit to feeling the impact of the Great Resignation. In addition, 31% say they have encountered problems with retain staff and a similar 32% struggle to hire new employees. With such an earthquake problem at hand,
What can companies do to change this discourse? What are the main factors at play?
The main factor, I believe, is that the world of work has evolved considerably over the past two years. While wages were once seen as one of the defining qualities of a “good” job, other factors now come into play and have taken precedence. Illustrating this is how 88% of workers say they would consider lower pay if flexible hours were offered. Largely shaped by the pandemic, it’s clear that employee priorities have shifted: features like flexible working are no longer seen as added perks, but as basic necessities.
Employers therefore need to be fully aware of what potential employees are looking for if they want to attract top talent. Job seekers are entering what can now be seen as a ‘buyer’s market’ in which the power has swung in their favour, and so companies are having to adapt to accommodate staff from a plethora of ways that were previously considered important. If companies are slow to do so, how can they hope to attract and retain the necessary personnel?
From a retail perspective, headcount is currently one of the most pressing recruiting issues. In March 2021, it was reported that more than 17,500 chain store outlets disappeared across Britain during the pandemic, which has left thousands of workers out of work. But this problem persists in the sector, as a mass exodus of retail workers who left their jobs due to the pandemic have no intention of returning, underscoring the lasting imprint that has been left on the staff recruitment. A company’s employees are crucial across its entire value chain – from the day-to-day running of the business to its ability to grow and develop – so this poses a problem for all, especially for startups on the about to enter their growth phase. At Bird & Blend, our people tell our story, proving that businesses can succeed by putting people first. And that means both sides of the counter: consumers and my team.
In response to barriers to recruiting staff, companies – particularly retailers – are reconsidering not only how they recruit personal, but also how they engage with them. Since Bird & Blend’s inception, we’ve openly recognized that staff won’t stay forever – and it’s important to communicate why this isn’t a problem. From providing learning opportunities to helping young people enter the world of work; each new employee adds value to the company, whether they spend 6 months or 10 years with us. This mutual employee-employer understanding is important for communicating in the recruitment processfulfilling the duty of empowerment.
Companies that relate to a hybrid physical and digital retail model also have additional factors to consider when it comes to their recruitment process. Maintaining synergy between these two arms of a business leads to more complex employment considerations. Making an office or creative team feel empowered and fulfilled will have different criteria for the needs and wants of a retail workforce. In summary, there is no “magic” one-stop solution and employers really need to understand what is important to their team, namely existing and potential recruits.
Although retailers are struggling to hire staff, the implications are not all dire. If companies do more to attract the right talent with the right company culture, initiatives and moral standards, it will only be beneficial for these companies in the long run if staff feel that their needs are sufficiently taken into account from the start. departure. And with a wider range of jobs to choose from, retailers can be confident that staff are choosing them for reasons that sufficiently align with their own business plans and values, which will pay off over the next few years.
About the Author: Krisi Smith is co-founder of Bird & Mix.