Frontline workers in the retail and consumer products sector

How can companies acquire, retain, and reward talent?

Economic turbulence, supply chain issues, and COVID are among many challenges that retail and consumer product organizations faced over the past two years. Additional disruptions occurred when many frontline workers quit their positions due to burnout, health concerns, turbulent markets, and the pressures of childcare shortages.

As the consumer demand rebounds, frontline talent becomes a big challenge, and accelerating hiring is essential. Providing the right career pathing, training, development, and pipeline are all problems organizations should start solving for—and fast. Job seekers are in the driver’s seat—organizations need to deploy creative ways to fill their key positions to keep their shelves stocked and customers happy.

In this three-part series of articles, we explore some leading talent strategies that retail and consumer products companies could leverage to attract the talent they want, provide meaningful rewards for a job well done, and retain talent for the long term. Each article dives deep on the approaches to attract, reward, and retain frontline workers, respectively.

The competition for frontline workers

Retail and consumer products companies need to shift their perspective and find ways to surpass their competition for hiring and attracting top-quality frontline workers. Companies need to entice potential frontline talent with the same rigor they employ to entice customers to shop their products. 

In order to win today’s talent race and attract crucial frontline workers, companies must take a creative approach to recruitment. To stay ahead of the competition, hiring as usual is not an option. This first article in the series explores key talent acquisition and hiring tactics focused on filling skill gaps, framing an employee value proposition (EVP), and designing attractive roles.

Retaining frontline talent through flexibility, opportunity, learning, and a compelling employee value proposition

Frontline retail workers are the unsung heroes critical to your success. They handle products, enable the health and safety of your workplaces, and are instrumental to the customer experience. They often make up the majority of a company’s workforce yet many times do not receive the same attention and programs as those in corporate positions—and continue to turn over at alarming rates.

The second article in the series explores how organizations can retain frontline workers by reimagining the worker experience. Those with meaningful programs and opportunities can reduce turnover, spend more time upskilling rather than on foundational training, and turn frontline employees into loyal, proud brand ambassadors.

Creative approaches to rewarding frontline workers

There are more than four different generations in the frontline workforce with widely differentiated job preferences and values. Think about what you want from your job: Is it stability? Insurance benefits? Development opportunities? Seasonal work? Rewards should not be treated as one-size-fits-all. A great deal of time and effort is spent creating rewards packages for salaried employees—but compensation and benefits for frontline workers rarely receives the same consideration. To accommodate different employees’ needs, taking a holistic view on rewards offerings is critical.

The last article in the series explores how organizations can reimagine the total rewards packages for the frontline workers and stay invested in their quality of life and continued success. It also highlights the creative approach companies must take to keep today’s frontline workers satisfied and productive while building a culture of respect and recognition at all levels of the organization.

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