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3 Biggest Volume Hiring Trends in Retail: 2021 Edition

We work with major retailers across the globe and one of the common themes in our discussions last year was how to approach their volume hiring strategy in the Covid-19 reality to make their processes more efficient and streamlined. Our clients handle large volumes of applicants, and after Covid hit, they’ve seen their candidate numbers going up from hundreds to tens of thousands per month.

Volume Hiring

Not only did this accentuate the known challenges – high employee turnover rates, time-consuming selection procedures and a not-so-ideal job application experience, but also brought to light a series of issues that before Covid didn’t seem that urgent.

Let’s dive into the volume hiring world and see what changed and which trends will shape retail recruitment in 2021.

The state of high volume retail recruitment before Covid-19

When it was clear that the effects of Covid-19 will not go away and that we’ll need 1-2 years to fully recover from this pandemic, retail leaders started to look at the big picture again and to identify those steps that were slowing down their recruitment process.

Aspects like having the overview of candidates applying across locations, rerouting applicants from one store to another, or automatically scheduling interviews with the selected candidates were all nice-to-haves before the pandemic.

The adoption of technology and the digital transformation of retail recruitment were seen by many as nothing but buzzwords.

Today, digital acceleration is the most discussed topic in retail hiring, especially because of the increasing volumes of applicants and online orders.

Retailers need to accelerate their recruitment digitization

Retail happens to be one of the most innovative industries when it comes to embracing new technologies. To give you just some examples: retail invented self-checkout and is experimenting with auto-checkout through facial recognition.

Inventory control automation also started in retail; stock is counted automatically and purchase orders are made, picked, packed, and shipped with almost no human interference.

Retailers lead the way when it comes to innovation and technology adoption, except for one area: their recruitment strategy. Some of the processes haven’t changed in decades.

Surely, there are some improvements in the way candidate selection is handled; automated assessments are common in high volume hiring, for example.

But the real question is whether these small steps bring a fundamental change to retail recruitment. Are these changes enough for the reality that we’re facing today, in the post-pandemic world?

A study by McKinsey that looked into digitization across industries showed that retail invested in innovative physical assets and that business processes and customer interactions have gone completely digital.

Related:- HOW TO RUN A REMOTE CALL CENTER IN 2021

Top 3 trends for retail volume hiring in 2021

Trend no. 1: Recruitment agility

If 2020 taught us one thing, is that things can change overnight and there are a lot of factors at play that are impossible to control.

The retail market is volatile, so that’s why the most important trend for this year is recruitment agility. Retailers need to be prepared to respond and adapt to whatever comes their way.

For multi-location retailers, there’s an additional complexity layer, which is caused by the false presumption that there is only one labor market. In reality, if you have 1000 locations, you might be dealing with 100 different labor markets.

Supply and demand differ per area. Unemployment rates differ not only per state but also per city and neighborhood, so the labor market is not homogeneous.

Trend no. 2: Empowering store managers

Going through a global pandemic changed the lives of store managers completely. They were the ones in the front lines and suddenly had to guide staff who was not prepared for the new reality.

In 2021, store managers will be key players in driving retail businesses forward.

Historically, store managers had to divide their attention and time over a wide range of tasks, from inventory management and stock control to store promotions, staffing, managing budgets, training new employees and driving revenue.

This role is now evolving, as certain processes – such as inventory management – are now automated; and it makes sense, as store managers should be driving revenue instead of being busy with admin tasks.

But recruiting new employees falls under the same category of administrative processes that can and should be automated. Of course, you don’t want to take the human component out of recruitment completely, but the current processes are simply inefficient for a lot of retailers.

Related:- EMPLOYEE TIME TRACKING TOOLS IN POST-PANDEMIC WORLD

Trend no. 3: Two-way matching

This trend is all about new ways of assessing and matching applicants to retail jobs. A key step in any talent matching framework is to identify the characteristics that are predictive of success in the specific role.

For retail service jobs, there are some characteristics to look for in your hires, such as:

  • Dependability,
  • Interpersonal skills,
  • Customer service skills,
  • Sales skills,
  • Time management

No matter the type of retail job that you’re looking to fill, whether it’s the people who stock the shelves or the store associates, you should always start by identifying the key characteristics leading to success in your specific organization. From there, you can build a matching framework to help you find qualified people for the role.

Today we won’t go too deep into how to set up a matching framework. Instead, we’ll focus on how you can use assessments to help address a major challenge that we see affecting the retail industry in particular.

When we talk to retailers, the number one issue mentioned, again and again, is not that they’re not finding enough high-performing people; the main challenge is the high turnover rate.

There are two main causes behind the high employee attrition in retail jobs:

  • Candidates are not qualified for the job, or

There’s a misalignment in expectations because applicants don’t fully understand what the job is about and how the day-to-day reality looks in a retail position.

People leave prematurely because they don’t like the job, or the job is not what they were expecting. And this is something that retailers struggle to figure out: how do you bridge this gap and attract applicants who are less likely to leave?

We’ll walk you through how you can use assessments not only to get applicants that are qualified for the role, by assessing their key skills and characteristics but also to address the turnover issue that comes from the misaligned expectations.

It’s common for retail candidates to imagine that the job is different from what it is in real life.

People leave prematurely because they don’t like the job, or the job is not what they were expecting. And this is something that retailers struggle to figure out: how do you bridge this gap and attract applicants who are less likely to leave?

We’ll walk you through how you can use assessments not only to get applicants that are qualified for the role, by assessing their key skills and characteristics but also to address the turnover issue that comes from the misaligned expectations.

It’s common for retail candidates to imagine that the job is different from what it is in real life.