How to Attract and Retain Staff During Inflation

by Diana Lam, 3 minutes read
HOME blog how to attract and retain staff during inflation

Rising inflation has made retaining employees a steeper hill to climb. In fact, 49% of retailers say keeping staff will be their “biggest challenge over the next year.” Although it can be costly to lose employees, not every business can afford to offer higher pay right now. But it turns out that higher pay is not the only incentive that matters when it comes to hiring and retaining staff.

Even though average hourly wages have increased the most in over a decade by 5.1% between February 2021 and February 2022, research and shift workers themselves state that it’s about more than just the money. 

It’s true that your employees are likely feeling living cost pressures from inflation as well, but there are ways you can help your staff navigate them without breaking the budget.

Keep reading to see what your staff really wants aside from a higher paycheck. And gain insights on what it’ll take to keep your top talent for the long-term during these uncertain economic times. 

Upskill staff

32% of retail shift workers say they want to move up at their current company, according to our 2022 State of Shift Work Report. Are you currently offering opportunities for your staff to grow?

If not, consider giving your team a chance to learn new skills through training and development. Let’s say one of your staff members is currently a merchandise associate who focuses on managing the stockroom. You can cross-train them in other aspects of the business like managing the cash register or supporting customers on the sales floor. 

This will not only help them become more trained across different skill sets but also give them a chance to advance in your company. When staff feel valued and have opportunities to grow, they are more likely to stay longer with the company they work for. 

Additionally, this will also benefit your business as you can backfill or rotate roles with staff who are well-rounded across many roles. This will especially come in handy during high peak periods when you need more coverage in different parts of your store.

Provide flexibility

51% of shift workers shared that a top perk they want in their role is job flexibility. And a lot of employers have already been accommodating this. According to the Washington Post, “expanding on the pandemic-era employee demand for flexibility, employers have offered employees more say on where they work and when they work.”

Retail businesses are catching on that flexible work hours are desired by their employees. Shops like UNTUCKit have given their staff autonomy over their schedules by allowing them to claim shifts, swap shifts, and request time off using a mobile-friendly app. 

This allows employees more control over their working hours, which leads to a more engaged workforce. UNTUCKit’s Operations and Communication Manager, Michael Saldana, says that a scheduling app has improved the employee experience.

“Staff have enjoyed a tech-forward platform. They’re able to download an app and get their schedule or swap shifts on their phone. We had staff feeling more engaged right off the bat,” says Michael.

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Distribute paychecks sooner

Economic times are tough and uncertain right now, elevating financial stress for many. People are struggling with higher prices due to inflation – even on essentials like food and gas.

During these times, take some weight off of employees by decreasing the amount of time they have to wait for their next paycheck. For example, changing bi-weekly or monthly payments to weekly or same-day pay. 

Small adjustments like this can make their current pay even more attractive because of the frequency their paychecks are coming in. And it can make a difference in staff retention and even attract new hires. It also wouldn’t cost you more than you’re already spending on your budget. 

In retail, it can also take some extra nudging to get your staff to work overtime during busier periods. Getting paychecks on a more regular basis can encourage overtime work and help ease times when you have limited staff or resources. 

Go beyond the financial

Sure, money is one way to draw in new talent and reduce churn with your current team. But these days, that’s not all employees want. 

Take note of factors they care about and actually value. Keep an open mind about increasing flexibility in your workplace, upskill or cross-train staff so they can grow within our company, and update the timeframe for paycheck distribution.

These changes can make a difference in keeping your employees happy, motivated, and retained. If you need support on reducing burnout or keeping staff engaged, see how Deputy can help.