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  • Writer's pictureHunter

Low Staff Engagement Costs Retailers Tens of Thousands Per Year

Employee engagement is a critical factor for success in the competitive UK retail sector. However, the industry often faces challenges in maintaining high levels of staff engagement, which can result in decreased productivity, increased turnover, and a negative impact on customer experience.

In this blog post, we will explore the key insights and strategies that retailers and hiring managers can implement to tackle staff engagement challenges effectively.

Understanding the Impact of Low Staff Engagement in Retail

1. Decreased productivity: According to a study by Gallup, disengaged retail employees have 37% higher absenteeism and 60% more errors, leading to reduced overall productivity and potential revenue loss.

2. Higher turnover rates: The retail industry experiences one of the highest turnover rates among all sectors, which can be attributed, in part, to low staff engagement levels. The cost of replacing a single retail employee can amount to 16% of their annual salary. If we assume an average salary of £28,000, this equates to £4,480, and if just 10 employees need replacing per year, that’s a whopping £44,800 in additional spend.

So what can retailers do to tackle low staff engagement?

1.Foster a Positive Work Culture

Create clearly defined values and purpose: Establishing a strong company culture with clearly defined values and a compelling purpose can create a sense of belonging and provide employees with a higher sense of purpose in their work. In a Randstad study, 50% of Gen Z and 42% of Millennials said they would rather be unemployed than work in a job that makes them unhappy or unfulfilled, further reinforcing the need to define a purpose for retail employees.

Open and transparent communication: Effective communication is crucial in engaging retail employees. Regularly updating employees about company news, performance, and recognizing their contributions fosters a sense of transparency and involvement.

Empowerment and autonomy: Providing employees with opportunities for decision-making, autonomy, and ownership of their work promotes a sense of empowerment and increases engagement levels.

2.Recognition and Rewards

Personalised recognition: Recognizing employees' achievements and efforts on an individual basis can significantly impact engagement levels. Tailoring recognition to their specific strengths and contributions helps build a culture of appreciation.

Incentive programs: Implementing performance-based incentive programs, such as sales contests or employee of the month initiatives, can boost motivation and engagement.

Career development opportunities: Offering growth and advancement opportunities through training programs, mentoring, and clear career pathways demonstrates a commitment to employees' professional development, enhancing their engagement and loyalty.

3.Work-Life Balance and Well-being

Flexible scheduling: Providing flexible work schedules and considering employees' work-life balance needs can contribute to higher engagement levels. This flexibility allows employees to manage personal commitments while maintaining job satisfaction.

Employee well-being initiatives: Promoting well-being programs, such as wellness challenges, mental health resources, and work-life balance workshops, demonstrates a commitment to the overall health and happiness of retail employees.

4.The Role of Human Resources in Boosting Staff Engagement

Hiring for cultural fit: During the recruitment process, retailers should prioritise candidates who align with the company's values and exhibit enthusiasm for the retail industry. This focus on cultural fit helps ensure that new hires are more likely to engage with their work and the organisation.

Structured onboarding process: A comprehensive onboarding program helps new employees feel welcomed and equipped to succeed in their roles. Providing clear expectations, training, and opportunities for early wins sets the foundation for long-term engagement.

Continuous feedback and development: Regularly providing constructive feedback and investing in employees' professional growth through training and development opportunities fosters engagement from the outset and throughout their employment.


In the competitive landscape of the UK retail sector, maintaining high levels of staff engagement is crucial for success. By fostering a positive work culture, providing recognition and rewards, promoting work-life balance and well-being, and integrating talent acquisition strategies that prioritise cultural fit and continuous development, retailers and hiring managers can effectively tackle staff engagement challenges. Investing in staff engagement not only benefits the employees themselves but also enhances customer experience, boosts productivity, and contributes to long-term business growth.


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