Online sales are on the rise. In the U.S. alone, e-commerce sales represented $453.46 billion in 2017, an increase of 16 percent compared to the previous year. For 2018, these figures are expected to go up even further.
For brick-and-mortar retailers, these figures are yet another confirmation of what they already knew: Today, when customers make the effort to physically go into a store – for reasons other than simply collecting their online purchases – they expect something more from the in-store experience.
After all, online they already get a great product offer, a sweet customer experience, and a quick checkout. The key element that truly adds value to a high street retail business is – you may have guessed it already – its employees.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what many retailers struggle with; finding and keeping their employees. All the more reason to reflect on ways to improve employee hiring and retention, starting immediately. Here are three HR technology trends for retailers to watch right now.
1: Programmatic Job Advertising
Retention starts long before you’ve even recruited your new employees. In fact, it starts with your job description.
Often underestimated – and thus overlooked – the job advert is likely to be the first thing a candidate actually gets to see from your company. As such, its content is directly linked to the number of qualified and diverse applicants who will apply.
Once you’ve got that awesome job advert sorted, it’s time to find those top retail candidates. People who are a perfect fit for your company – and culture. This is important because employees who fit are naturally more engaged and thus less likely to leave prematurely.
One way to target precisely those applicants you’re looking for is by using programmatic job advertising software. The technology allows recruiters and hiring managers to target their job adverts directly at the retail profiles that correspond with their selection criteria. As such, the use of programmatic advertising for recruitment can be a huge time- and money-saver.
Another thing to keep in mind here – particularly for retail hiring – is the importance of social media. The retail industry is known to be one of the biggest employers of young people, often (high school) students. These mostly Generation Z workers grew up with smartphones and social media which means that’s exactly where you’ll find them: online.
Programmatic advertising tools can help you target retail candidates on ‘classic’ social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook), but also on niche sites that are less obvious. Think of dating app Tinder or Spotify for example.
Wonderkind aims your job adverts directly at those people who correspond your candidate profile.
2: Pre-employment assessments
Especially when you’re facing a high volume of candidates, AI-powered preselection software can be of use. While your applicants respond to online life-like job scenarios, get a virtual tour of the store, watch employee testimonials and complete various assessments, the software gathers data about their actions and answers. Based on this data, it can predict how successful an applicant is going to be in the role he or she is applying for.
Pre-employment software can be useful to find out whether or not a candidate has the right skills for the job, assisting you in finding the right fit. After all, future retail rock stars need to be good at multitasking, they need to be patient, stress-resistant and have excellent communication skills (to name a few examples). With this type of software, you can determine if someone possesses these skills beforehand.
Harver offers pre-employment assessment software. Organizations like Netflix, Zappos and Booking.com use it to hire top performing employees.
3: 360-Degree Feedback
Feedback and personal development are important topics for 21st-century employees. And feedback doesn’t mean a once-a-year chat with the manager.
Millennials and Generation Z workers – but increasingly Gen X and Boomers too – want to know how they’re doing and how they can become better at their jobs. They also want a personalized learning and development plan.
When it comes to the feedback part, a 360-degree feedback tool can fit the bill. Available as an app on their mobile device, employees can instantly give and receive actionable feedback. An added benefit of such a tool is that it encourages peer coaching and creates a culture of feedback, which has proved to drive performance.
Especially in the retail industry, where the hours are often irregular (evenings and weekends) and the salaries usually not that high, you can use all the benefits you can get to attract and retain staff. A continuous feedback system and peer coaching could just be the reasons why applicants decide to choose you over the competition.
Impraise helps companies make feedback and coaching a routine.
On a final note
Great retail workers are a rare breed. Working in a high street store is demanding, both physically and mentally. As a brick-and-mortar retailer, however, your employees are the number one thing that sets you apart from the competition.
These three technologies are transforming retail hiring. Use them to help you find – and retain – the best retail candidates and lower those dreaded turnover rates the retail industry is renowned for.
About the writer: Neelie Verlinden is the Founder and Editor of Digital HR Tech and has been writing about related topics for the past three years. She also is the content manager for Harver. You can connect with Neelie on LinkedIn.
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