Many changes are happening in the work environment, especially those related to people. Employees today enter the labor market with different expectations regarding technological evolution and way work is completed. The shift is felt in all sectors, retail industry included. In fact, the issues HR in retail encounter are much more complex. The following are the challenges retail HR experience today:

retail industry
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Retaining Top Talent

2021 surveys have revealed that up to 60% of workers in the United States retail industry are unable to stick to one employer. Generally, the United States’ retail industry has a track record of maintaining very few long-term workers. The situation is worrying because the acceptable turnover rate is 10% to 15%. This large level of turnover is costly. 

Hiring and Training

 With the huge turnover rates reported in the retail industry training is apparently a major issue, as new employees are received all the time. A company in the retail industry has many training activities because they have employees across states or countries and time zones. Besides, employee training is required for a number of departments including distribution centers, warehouses, and corporate management, among others. Other than training the newly hired staff, retail HR has to train for successful adoption of new technology.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, many consumers have become used to buying goods online. The main tools that a retail employee needs to be considered tech savvy include point of sale systems, analytics tools, central CRM databases, and electronic inventory control systems. When planning the training programs, HR  should consider educating workers on how to reduce CNP fraud. This together with other technology-based courses will help retailers to achieve efficiency in their hiring and training programs.

Inability to Create Meaningful Employee Experience

A company should nurture a culture of engagement to be able to give employees meaningful experience. It is not easy for retail industry firms to achieve employee engagement. HR teams continue to struggle with this aspect, which is as well believed to contribute to the high employee turnover rates. Generally, retail HR lacks systems that will help them minimize paperwork, prepare for audits, and connect virtually with employees in various parts of the globe.

Theft and Employee Misbehaviour

 A 2017 survey by the National Retail Federation showed that 30% of retail thefts are internal. The majority of such thefts are connected with temporary and part-time employees. Retail business’ transient nature also exposes it to product theft. Retail HR also have to deal with employee conduct issues such as discrimination, safety problems, and sexual harassment. HR teams must dedicate themselves to workplace training aimed at curbing such negating behaviour. Such initiatives can be time-consuming and also lead to wastage of company resources.

There are many steps that retail companies can take to improve their cultures of engagement. Incorporating the appropriate technology and seeking employee feedback are among strategies that will help HR teams to attain a good level of employee engagement. While it is impossible to completely eliminate the threat caused by theft, better working conditions, introduction of penalties for misbehavior, and better training programs will significantly improve the situation.


The problems that retail HR teams face costs them and the companies time and resources. Executives have to set time away from their daily roles to offer the type of training that will help employees to behave in the desired way. In the process, company resources are also utilized.