How Retailers Can Increase Engagement Among Working Families

Retail is one of the largest industries in the world, employing more than 15.2 million employees in America alone, according to Plunkett Research, Ltd. With so many individuals making up the retail workforce, it is no surprise that it faces one of the highest turnover rates. Turnover can be commonly traced back to the lack of understanding employees have for their HR benefits and rewards programs.

Multinational retailers face the added challenge of engaging a workforce spread across various regions. According to the recent Global Employee Benefits Watch study conducted by Thomsons Online Benefits, 50 percent of global companies lack appropriate communication of total benefit packages to employees. Without the right tools, retailers cannot be effective in streamlining benefits processes.

As organizations take a closer look at benefits and rewards programs, there is one particular market segment that they need to pay close attention to: working families. By taking a proactive approach in communicating HR benefits and rewards, in addition to implementing strategies that promote a healthy work/life balance, employers can promote a positive company culture and create confidence in an organization's benefits program.

Benefits for working families
When it comes to implementing employee benefits that support working families, America is far behind in comparison to the rest of the world. According to 24/7 Wall St., which identified the nation's 11 worst companies to work for, seven included popular clothing and electronic retail companies. Simply receiving higher pay isn't cutting it anymore. Employees in the working family demographic are looking for a variety of options such as flexible schedules, earlier shifts and personal days to address family concerns. Many working parents look closely at maternity and paternity leave, child care, and wellness programs offered by employers.

Addressing the needs of employees with families ensures that they feel like valued team members and improves overall morale, and ultimately decreases turnover. High turnover rates for retail jobs often cost about 16 percent of the employee's annual salary, which can certainly add up over time. High turnover costs time and money and can lead to lower productivity within a company, or overworked employees. Therefore, it is essential to retain good talent through a strong HR benefits and rewards program.

Taking working families to the cloud
Cloud-based HR management software can quickly streamline processes for retailers as its flexibility allows employers to provide employees with more personalized attention. With robust HR cloud-based platforms, benefit offerings are highlighted for each individual so she can effectively determine which benefits meet her family's needs.

For instance, imagine that an employee at a large retail chain learns that she is going to be a parent. Through the intuitive and personalized nature of cloud-based HR systems, the employer is able to provide comprehensive information on benefits options that are available to that employee. The information is delivered with consistent messaging and branding of the organization, and more importantly, is specific to the employee's location. This reduces the time, energy and stress involved in a company's effort to clearly communicate benefits to employees, and for the employee it's just great customer service.

For international retail giants, localizing HR benefits can be even more challenging as organizations have to tailor benefits based on different laws and regulations for each country. In this instance, cloud-based HR platforms can easily provide benefit administration on a country-by-country basis and seamlessly communicate options on flexible benefits, PTO, and other company-wide perks for working families. This ensures that employees truly understand the value of the benefits package offered and what they are entitled to based on their location so they can take full advantage of these benefits and rewards.

Benefits access on the go
Retail giants spend hours analyzing information on how customers receive information and what communication preferences they have. With the popularity of mobile devices, retailers are optimizing automated messages to market more effectively to customers. Applying the same practice to deliver HR benefits and reward information can promote constant employee engagement. Whether it is timely updates on the availability of new benefits options or internal changes to procedures, utilizing automated technology ensures that employees are always aware of changes in HR processes.

In the retail industry, employees are constantly on the go. With the hectic schedules of working families, things can become chaotic quickly. Today's cloud-based HR solutions are also optimized for mobile devices and can be accessed from an individual's tablet or smartphone device any time – at the retail store during break, when traveling to another site, or during non-work hours. Using mobile technology for benefits and workplace communication gives retail employees the tools to achieve success.

As the retail industry continues to grow, retail giants have the ability to positively reach an important and powerful group of employees, working families. Using cloud-based HR technology, retailers who promote HR benefits and rewards programs set new standards for flexible benefits for working families and ultimately drive company growth. Over time, using this technology promotes employee engagement, loyalty and retention – key elements for a successful business.

Chris Wakely heads up the enterprise sales and account team at Thomsons Online Benefits from its Silicon Valley offices.
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