Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

UK retail workers remain loyal to industry, but retailers need to invest beyond pay 

The UK’s frontline retail workforce want to build lasting careers with their employers, with 58% planning to stay in the industry for four or more years, but retailers must step up and demonstrate their support for their employees if they are to beat the Big Quit, as job vacancies in the industry reach record highs, YOOBIC’s research shows.

As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, pay (88%) understandably tops the list of most important workplace factors for the retail frontline.  But nearly as many (87%) say feeling valued and supported by management and trusted organisation leadership (85%) are crucial to engender loyalty and employee engagement, reveals exclusive research from YOOBIC, the digital workplace leader, in its 2022 State of the Frontline Employee Experience survey of over 1,400 retail and hospitality employees.

While 63% of the UK frontline workers felt their employers did a good job keeping them safe during Covid-19, post-pandemic many employers have significant room for improvement when it comes to motivating and retaining workers and attracting new talent.  Less than half (40%) of respondents believe management values and cares about them, with only 45% indicating they feel they can grow professionally in their organisation.  And just 33% agree their organisation has invested in their professional development. 

“The big takeaway from the 2022 Frontline Employee Experience Survey is that employees’ expectations are changing,” said Fabrice Haiat, CEO and co-founder of YOOBIC. “They want to feel valued, respected, and empowered in their work, and it’s the absence of those things that leads them to look elsewhere – and not just to other retail businesses, but potentially outside of the retail sector altogether.”

When asked which initiatives their employer has taken to increase employee engagement, 30% of respondents said their employers had offered mental wellness support and activities and 26% reported receiving increased pay.  However, a similar number (28%) indicated their employers had done nothing. 

Haiat commented: “Frontline workers bore the brunt of the pandemic and are now contending with the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades.  Fair levels of pay are critical in growing employee loyalty but additionally businesses need to recognise employees’ achievements and contributions and invest in their future success.  This means building out the tools, processes, and infrastructure needed to help frontline teams bring their best selves to work every day.”

For further information and action plans detailing how employers can improve the employee experience and boost retention and productivity, download the latest YOOBIC report.