How retailers can attract and retain employees

Megan Lipscombe

Megan Lipscombe

Head of Marketing

A combination of COVID and Brexit has left many UK retailers facing staff shortages. Here we discuss some of the things you could be doing to help you both attract and retain employees…

Advertise vacancies on the right channels

Carefully select the channels you use to reach new recruits. Your choice of channel might not be where the best employees for your business are looking. For example Eploy’s 2022 candidate attraction report found that 49% of retailers are using social media to advertise job openings, yet this typically results in the lowest quality and quantity of candidates. It goes on to note the highest quality candidates came from employee referrals; whilst the highest quantity came from job aggregators.

If you’re struggling to find the right people via your existing channel of choice, you might want to consider trying something new. There are plenty of options out there in addition to the ones already mentioned, to name a few… paid advertising, your own website, events, word of mouth and agencies. And of course there’s nothing to say that you can’t use multiple channels at once.

Employee advocacy

As mentioned above, employee referrals attract the highest quality candidates. Potential new recruits are more likely to trust the words of an existing employee than something they see on a job board or advert. 

Whilst your team may not know someone to refer directly, they can still help attract new employees by sharing their feedback on platforms such as Glassdoor. So if you’re not encouraging it already, consider incentivising your employees to directly recommend someone they know for a role and/or publicly share their experience of working for you. 

Two-way communication

There’s a lot to be said for listening to your employees. Not only does it help you earn their respect, you might learn something from them. Your team is on the front line so will be able to give you feedback from customers that you wouldn’t otherwise hear; as well as offering suggestions on things such as store layout or offers you could run.

Yet a recent study found that 87% of people believe their company should be doing more to listen to the needs of their workforce. If you fall into that 87%, think about reassessing the way you communicate with your team. Give them the opportunity to come to you with any issues, ideas or feedback – it’ll benefit both you and them. 

The right tools for the job 

Technology has played an important role in the retail industry for many years, but now more so than ever. From self checkout and contactless payments, to inventory management and efficient rota building; retail workers are recognising how tech can help both make their lives easier and enable them to work more efficiently. This in turn is making access to the right technology highly sought after by retail employees.

Honesty & transparency

Transparency should start at the recruitment process and continue throughout employment. This could be anything from an accurate job spec or interview feedback at the recruitment stage, to full visibility of upcoming shifts and regular company updates during employment. Giving visibility where you can and sharing both good and bad news will help you gain trust from your employees and earn respect from new recruits, from day one. 


How you treat employees should always be consistent. But this can be easier said than done in retail businesses with multiple stores. Make sure you have processes in place to ensure teams are treated the same across sites and have access to the same benefits and support. Being consistent with your employees will not only keep them happy, but will also help strengthen your brand and how customers perceive your business – as employees will be trained to deliver the same level of service. 


As is the case with employees in many other sectors, job flexibility has become more and more important over the years. Primarily job seekers are looking for roles that enable them to have a good work-life balance. And whilst you can’t give retail workers things such as the option to work from home, there are many other ways you can offer flexibility To name a few…

  • Choice over shifts 
  • Option of split Parental Leave
  • Time off in lieu 

Whatever you decide, promote it internally and externally in order to both increase employee retention and attract new talent.

Training & development

A key contributor to employee retention is the opportunity to progress in a role. If your employees don’t see there being an opportunity to grow, they are less likely to stay at your company. If you have a clear training and development program in place, existing employees will be encouraged to stay and new employees will be attracted by the opportunity to progress.

Good pay rates 

Whilst not the most important thing to potential candidates, a good pay rate is still highly sought after by retail job seekers. And competitive pay rates are also a key contributor to employee retention. Giving transparency over pay rates (and bonuses) means your employees know where they stand and have achievable targets to aim for.

Anything we’ve missed? 

If you’ve found anything other than the points mentioned above, has helped you attract and retain your employees, then let us know at We’d love to share your experiences with others in the industry!

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