Keeping Retail Associates Engaged Through Surveys

Leila Hatami standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera

Employee churn is a chronic problem within retail organizations. Why? Compounding the issues of long shifts and comparatively lower pay, employees at the store level can often feel as if they are easily replaceable and that their voices, including their grievances with work conditions, aren’t being heard.

Such factors can lead to a low level of job commitment which ultimately translates to continual recruiting, hiring, and training — an expensive and time-consuming cycle. As an example, the average cost to replace a single $10/hour retail employee is $3,328.

This is why it’s important for retail organizations to establish a “listening” program to monitor employee satisfaction levels, and to proactively identify and resolve problems. Today, polling automation technology can make the creation, implementation and analysis of employee experience surveys a fast and simple process.

When considering a tech-driven approach to polling employee opinions, retail organizations should consider the following:

Mobile Optimization

People are increasingly choosing mobile for their digital interactions, especially Millennials who fill the bulk of retail positions. In fact, this generation spends about 5.7 hours on their phone per day. Survey software should support mobile including the creation of polls that are easy to respond to on smaller screens.

The best polling software is omnichannel, meaning that surveys can be taken using a variety of methods. Organizations should strive to provide a digital employee experience by making it easier for employees to fill out the survey through multiple channels.

Real-Time Capabilities

The ability to set up real-time alerts and routing rules if a response “scores” below a certain threshold can help retailers detect and respond to problems immediately, before they get out of hand. Even when respondent anonymity is protected, alerts can help identify problems within specific stores or departments, although complaints aren’t traceable to an individual worker. Make certain the survey platform you choose enables such escalation.

Ease of Use

Surveys should be customizable by people without an IT background so that retailers can quickly and easily capture the exact data they want to collect. Templates and drag-and-drop capabilities — i.e., no coding required — can democratize survey creation.

Further, reporting should be simple with a centralized database and easy-to-understand dashboards. After all, it’s not just about data collection; it’s also about being able to put the data to use.


Retailers in particular may want a cloud-based survey solution due to its scalability and affordability. Some survey technologies offer both cloud and premises-based options.

Overall, engagement strategies must focus on creating an employee-centric work environment and improving communications so that even store-level workers feel connected to the bigger picture and understand their value to the organization.

Sumit Aneja
Sumit Aneja

That being said, regular surveys should be a core component of any employment-retention strategy since they can help retailers keep their finger on the pulse of worker satisfaction while also giving employees the opportunity to be “heard.” This in turn can lead to reduced worker attrition, something any retail organization should want in order to improve its bottom line.

Sumit Aneja serves as CEO at Voxco, a provider of omnichannel cloud and on-premise feedback management solutions.

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