As at June 2021, statista6 reports that a majority at 59% of Singaporeans shop in physical stores for non-grocery items at least several times a month to several times a week.
Notably, this further supports the idea that brick-and-mortar Retail is still alive, well, and kicking.
Retail Frontliners: A Turning Point for Sea Change
Amidst this positive outlook, however, just when the pandemic appears to be releasing its stranglehold on the world, the various challenges of the Retail industry to keep up with the “New Retail” Omnichannel Brick-and-Click expectations of shoppers are being compounded with a different problem of “intensified manpower crunch amid post-pandemic recovery”7 according to a Straits Times report on 09 April 2022.
…local workers continue to shun its front-line jobs due to the long hours and shift work, even as other sectors compete for the same pool of workers…
7 Straits Times, 09 April 2022
And this situation is not unique to Singapore alone.
Globally, the Retail industry is facing a similar crunch as post-pandemically, Retail frontline workers are lodged at an inflection point that is driving them to demand a sea change to redefine how their roles are recognized and valued within the organization structure.
In the US, it is reported that “Many companies, large and small, are struggling to find enough workers amid the economy’s rapid recovery from the pandemic-spawned recession.” 8
The values of Retail frontliners around the “Work Experience” have changed as they seek to gain a firm foothold into the “Future of Work” (FoW) – that requires Retail employers to reimagine the role that Retail frontliners play, and accord them with the support, inclusion and advancement that address their unique challenges, and recognize their unique contributions.
Retail Frontliners: Why They Leave*
Across many reports from around the world including in Singapore – and which all Retailers can learn from – the story remains consistently the same on why Retail frontliners are leaving their jobs, or at the very least weighed down by heavy pessimism about their roles and their futures:
Don’t feel adequately supported9
For better pay and benefits, work-life balance, career growth and flexibility9, 10
Often don’t feel that communication from management is reaching them as they handle the needs of customers, navigate COVID-19 protocols, and even deal with supply chain issues10
Often operate in a silo and are disconnected from team members11
38% indicate lack of formal training9
70% rank training as important to their job satisfaction13
51% of non-management workers don’t feel valued as an employee12, 13
46% feel pressure to adapt to new tech or fear losing their jobs12
55% had to learn new tech on the fly, with no formal training or practice12
60% are unsatisfied with the technology they’ve been provided with to do their work12
One of the key leadership lessons from these frontline stories is recognizing that people at all levels are integral parts in the success of an organization.
Don’t let Your Customers’ 1st Impressions of Your Business become the Last Experience they have with you.
Retail frontline workers are often the first – and sometimes the only, and of many – interactions businesses have with a customer or prospect, even in this digital age.
A failure to recognize this critical impact that frontliners have on the business is a failure to connect the dots vital to the expectations of today’s customers, and making a sure headway to irrelevance and eventual elimination in the aggressively competitive Retail environment.
ONE Unhappy Worker
MANY Unhappy Customers