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08/19/2020

Employee Engagement Remains Most Important Component of Retail Pivot Strategies

The evolving COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the retail industry yet another new challenge to overcome. While essential goods are seeing an uptick, much of non-essential retail is struggling. Now more than ever, a harmonized, omnichannel sales approach, along with business transparency for both customers and employees, is mission critical for retailers to recover.

As retailers re-open, many must tweak their business models. We are seeing this agility through pivot approaches like increased delivery, curbside pickup, and more effective ways to engage and retain employees.

For reopening plans to succeed, employees are the most important part of the equation. Gig workers, freelancers and hourly employees are among the most economically vulnerable — and retail is no stranger to this type of worker. According to Ceridian’s 2020 Pulse of Talent report, 59% of freelancers and 72% of gig workers claim they are dissatisfied with their current roles because their pay isn’t adequate.

This isn’t sustainable in the best of times, and especially in today’s uncertain climate.  For retailers to thrive, companies need to take an employee-centric approach and utilize solutions that help maintain employee engagement and wellness, as well as minimize employee flight risk.

For example, offering on-demand pay to your employees will help ease the burden of living paycheck to paycheck, especially for workers who are facing reduced salaries or furloughs. Offerings like on-demand pay play an important role in immediately delivering emergency funds or other forms of financial support to employees whose circumstances may be adversely impacted.

There has never been a better time to put your pivot strategy into practice and empower your employees. Retailers who will come out on top are the ones who embrace innovative approaches to this crisis.

This will require the industry to move beyond simply satisfying customers — to place more emphasis on the internal customers, the brands’ front-line advocates: the employees. To do so, organizations should prioritize investing in modern technologies to help create experiences that employees will love.

John Orr is senior VP retail strategy and execution, Ceridian.