Clientbook Blog
May 18, 2023

What to do if you have high turnover at your retail business

Historically, the retail industry has had a high employee turnover rate. But in a post-pandemic, economically uncertain world, retail employees are harder to find—and retain—than ever.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s analysis of Labor Department data, nearly 75% of retail job openings remain unfilled in 2023. Learning more about your retail employees and what they look for in a job will help you retain workers and create job satisfaction.

Turnover in retail doesn't have to be your biggest business challenge. In this article, learn why so many retail employees are leaving their jobs and how you can improve your employee retention rate as we return to a resurgent brick-and-mortar, in-person shopping experience.

Why are so many retail workers looking for new jobs?

Replacing half of your staff yearly is a common experience in retail stores, but why is it trickier now than ever before? Many factors are swaying today’s retail workers away from the retail sector. Below we describe a few of the top factors leading to high retail turnover rates.

Economic anxieties

Traditionally, retail positions have not paid a very high hourly amount. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites a $13–$15 hourly mean wage in retail in 2022. While this might be a livable wage for some people, specifically those who don't have to pay for housing, college, medical bills, loans, and other necessities, it's not realistically a livable wage in today's world.

Economic uncertainty steers employees—especially millennial employees—away from the retail industry, contributing to high retail turnover rates.

Happiness levels

In a survey of 1,000 frontline workers, Waitwhile reports nearly half of frontline retail workers are apathetic or unhappy at work. That's a lot of unhappy people!

Happy workers are more productive, more likely to stay at their current job, and ultimately bring in more profit for the business than unhappy workers. This seems like common sense, but it might be a good time to reflect on what you're doing to give your workers a positive employee experience. Employee satisfaction has everything to do with how a business is being managed.

Remote work

The pandemic opened up a whole new reality when it comes to working—the ability to work from the comfort of your home. This is an enticing setup for many and offers the possibility of better work-life balance.

Rather than spending 40 hours outside your home, many are now able to stay home and work just as much, if not more than when they went into a physical store or an office. This is not really something that can be offered when it comes to the retail workforce, but it's a factor to consider when asking why there's such high retail employee turnover.

What are workers looking for in a job?

To retain your retail staff and prevent corporate turnover, certain changes should be made and improvements implemented. Below are the most important factors that frontline workers look for in a job.

Higher pay

If you're looking to make improvements in your business, it's time to invest more into your retail workers. Minimum wage is no longer enough. According to data from a Checkr survey on high retail turnover rates, 91% of retail workers would leave their jobs for a raise. If you're offering your frontline employees more pay for their work, the likelihood of them staying at their current job increases.

Retail companies can no longer afford to pay their employees minimum wage, or even just a low-wage—it's important to show your hourly store employees that there are career growth opportunities at your company and their hard work will be worth it for them monetarily.

Respect and fair treatment

A respectful environment leads to happy employees. While retail workers are not the highest earners at your company, they keep your retail business afloat and deserve tremendous respect. Showing respect to your employees can look like consistent scheduling, respecting their time and boundaries, and not asking more of them than their job description entails.

Positive management

Poor management can be the downfall of your retail business. It's important that you promote retail managers that will be respectful of their coworkers and have their best interests in mind. While setting goals and expectations for your employees is important for growth, these expectations must be realistic. High pressure expectations lead to workplace dissatisfaction.

Retail managers and upper management set the tone for a positive work environment and are the ones responsible for creating the pillars of the company culture. Individual employees often follow cues that are given by management, so it's vital that managers are aware of their role in retaining employees.

Three ways to improve employee retention

While it can feel overwhelming to face the issue of high employee turnover, there are some small and effective ways to improve your retail business to attract and retain workers.


According to Waitwhile's Retail Employee Sentiment Report, nearly 1 in 2 retail workers want more automation in their retail job. 54% of Waitwhile's survey respondents said that they wished their employers would invest more in improving and expanding the technology that they have at work. 41% of these employees feel that non-automated tasks are a time suck and detract from the most fulfilling part of their job—interacting with customers.

Clientbook is a retail tech tool that automates tedious tasks and makes the most of a small retail team. More automation of small but necessary tasks will likely lead to happier employees. Automation can help to streamline customer complaints, issues, and questions so that these depleting tasks don't take away from the energy your employees can be giving to current customers.

If you're ready to see how Clientbook can improve employee retention in your business today, book a demo here!

Implement employee feedback

Ask for feedback from your past and current retail workers. They're your best resource when deciding how to make positive changes in your retail business. Because of their proximity to customers and their experience on the floor as sales associates, they will have the perspectives you need to make your work environment a better place to be.

Engaging employees in the process of improving the workplace will benefit you and your future workers. When employees feel that they're being heard, their work experience is more positive.

Improve your training programs

Adequate training is vital to employee retention. Lack of training leads to miscommunication, confusion, and a lack of confidence in the retail space. Giving your employees the right information is crucial for productivity. Think about ways that you can give your employees more than just job training. How can you give them the tools to be successful and satisfied in their work?

How Clientbook can help your retail team succeed despite the challenges

In this challenging time when retail workers are scarce, turn to the tools at your disposal. Clientbook is a retail tool that will improve employee experience and productivity by taking care of the menial tasks and emphasizing the part that really matters—the connection between a retail worker and a customer.

To see how Clientbook can improve employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and help you retain retail workers, explore our feature pages today.

Continue reading