From embracing flexible work arrangements to harnessing the power of technology, the retail sector is undergoing a transformation.

In an exclusive interview with Jon Wilson, Senior Vice President at Deputy, a global software platform for managing hourly workers, we delve into key insights and recommendations for UK retailers navigating these changes.

Embracing work flexibility: meeting the needs of modern workers

Wilson highlights the growing importance of work flexibility in attracting and retaining top talent in the retail sector. He notes, “The ability to fit in other commitments and schedule flexibility are top priorities for retail workers.”

With 38% indicating they would change jobs for more flexible working hours, it’s evident that flexibility is no longer just a perk but a necessity.

Retailers can adapt to this trend by implementing flexible work patterns and rotas. Wilson explains, “Flexible work patterns can benefit both businesses and their staff,” citing examples of retailers effectively managing demand across physical and online outlets by optimising staffing.

By prioritising flexibility, retailers can not only enhance operational efficiency but also foster a happier and more engaged workforce.

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Prioritising mental wellbeing: a cornerstone of workplace culture

Another key trend highlighted by Wilson is the increasing focus on mental wellbeing in the workplace.

He reveals that almost two-fifths of retail workers desire wellbeing programs and employee assistance programs, indicating a growing need for holistic support beyond traditional benefits.

Wilson emphasises, “Employers who focus on wellbeing in the workplace are likely to be more successful in attracting and retaining top talent.”

By offering comprehensive wellbeing initiatives, such as gym memberships and access to counselling services, retailers can demonstrate their commitment to employee welfare, ultimately enhancing morale and productivity.

Harnessing technology for optimised workforce management

In the age of digital transformation, technology plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of retail workforce management.

Wilson underscores the importance of leveraging technology to align staffing levels with real-time demand, citing demand planning and staff scheduling technology as essential tools for optimising workforce efficiency.

“Technology can help improve employee engagement by removing mundane tasks,” says Wilson, highlighting the shift towards digitising operations to streamline administrative processes.

With cloud-based technology and mobile apps, retailers can empower their teams to easily access schedules, swap shifts, and track leave, fostering a more agile and connected workforce.

As UK retailers navigate the complexities of shifting labour dynamics, embracing work flexibility, prioritising mental wellbeing, and harnessing technology are key strategies for success.

By proactively adapting to these trends, retailers can not only attract and retain top talent but also drive operational excellence in an ever-changing marketplace.