Store staff are worried about their jobs, are suffering from low morale and do not see retail as a good career choice, our groundbreaking report Talking Shop reveals. So, what can retailers do about it?

Four in 10 store employees would not recommend retail as a good career option. It is an eye-popping stat for a sector already struggling to recruit talent.

And that struggle has only intensified amid the pandemic, as RWRC’s free wide-ranging report Talking Shop shows. 

For the first time, we surveyed 500 store staff across all levels of seniority and spanning verticals to get a clear picture of how Covid-19 has impacted retail’s frontline staff.



Elsewhere, Talking Shop reveals that staff morale has taken a huge hit in recent months, with 37% describing morale as poor or very poor, while nearly one in four feel insecure in their jobs. And some sectors feel less secure than others (see chart).




This snapshot of the in-depth data revealed in the report lays bare the scale of the challenge leaders are up against when it comes to motivating staff – the face of their business and their most valuable asset.

But the report does more than just highlight the problem. It offers solutions, too, in the form of case studies from those retailers tackling it head-on.

It is within retail leaders’ power to help address these issues by truly understanding their workforce and taking action as outlined below:

  1. Make sure store workers feel valued and are galvanised for when shops reopen. Management should regularly communicate their appreciation, highlighting when individuals have gone the extra mile, and consider introducing special rewards – from discounts to days off.
  2. Have a health and wellbeing strategy and provide staff with the support they need during what is a challenging time for everyone. Train all line managers to identify issues and offer appropriate support, and provide staff with the resources for self care.
  3. Communication is critical during this time when stores are dealing with unprecedented levels of change, yet almost a quarter of workers believe company communication has been ineffective. Ensure important updates reach all colleagues and make sure your company is using the tools, channels and messaging that cuts through.
  4. Tech is letting store staff down, with stock availability information and in-store communication the top areas where workers feel they need tech support. Take heed of these concerns and find new tools or ways to make such tasks easier for hard-pressed shop workers.
  5. Leaders must make working in retail look more attractive. Take a zero-tolerance approach to abuse in stores and ensure staff are protected through extra security measures. Try to be flexible by scheduling working hours around employees’ other commitments if possible. Such actions can help to avoid churn.


Reflexis report 2020 cover

Why is this report relevant to me?

While the results make for difficult reading at times, as we uncover the extent of the pandemic’s impact on staff wellbeing, it is essential reading for retail leaders looking to engage their workforces ahead of stores reopening, in these toughest of times.

Download Talking Shop for free here