Why Good People Quit Their Retail Company (And What Compels Them To Stay)

Why Good People Quit Their Retail Company (And What Compels Them To Stay)


The workplace has all different ways of measuring and assessing “human capital” facts to plan for a variety of expected business changes and to forecast future changes. For example, according to this story from HBR, At Best Buy the value of a 0.1% increase in employee engagement at a particular store is $100,000! Additionally, the article states: Employee attrition can be less of a problem when managers see it coming. Sprint has identified the factors that best foretell which employees will leave after a relatively short time. (Hint: Don’t expect a long tenure from someone who hasn’t signed up for the retirement program.) Interesting, right?

I have written several posts about Workplace Happiness and Employee Engagement in #Retail. These things are truly important in today’s workplace. People want to be challenged, they want information, they seek a workplace with transparency, they want a career path, they want to believe in their executive team, and they want to build lasting and valuable relationships at work. All of this information available at our fingertips that tells us what keeps employees happy and engaged at work. Strangely, not all companies place an emphasis on how their business practices drive wellness, happiness, and engagement.

One of the easiest things to manage is turnover. If you have a workplace that is conducive to a respectful, honest, innovative, and inclusive culture you are working to minimize turnover. To take the guess work out of retention the amazing folks at TINYpulse created this whitepaper. To summarize the top motivators people leave and what, conversely, compels them to stay:

(1) The Supervisor
-Employees with managers that respect their work and ideas are 32% less likely to think about looking for a new job
-Micromanaged employees are 28% more likely to think about a new job
-Strong management transparency lead to 30% better employee retention
-When there is trust between supervisors and their direct reports, employees are 1.3x more likely to stay with the company and 67% more engaged
Employee surveys are crucial to taking a team’s temperature with their direct supervisor. A terrible supervisor can be toxic in an otherwise healthy workplace and can motivate great employees to look for other opportunities. Culture is a top-down practice…if the executives in the company value innovation, freedom, and trust. Hire talent that is smart and business savvy and let them do their thing – why would it be okay for a supervisor to impede that employees daily behavior. I cover the topic of hiring innovators more in this post.

(2) Workplace Relationships
-Receiving peer recognition makes employees 13% more likely to stay
-According to Globoforce: 71% of workers with 25+ friends at work say they love their company
If companies aren’t supporting healthy workplace relationships and investing in that culture – it is a huge mistake and more likely to drive good people to cultures that value the “people” piece of the business.

(3) Positive Work Culture
-Employees that give their workplace culture low marks are 15% more likely to think about a new job than their counterparts
-When a work culture is positive employees are 40% less likely to think about a new job
-Companies that support, invest in, and encourage company event have a 10% higher retention

(4) R&R
-A positive work/life balance environment means a 12% lower chance of turnover
-When you burn your employees out they are 31% more likely to think about leaving
-When they are encouraged to use their PTO they are 13% more likely to stay
I have written about work/life balance in Retail. It’s a real thing and a real need in this industry. Hours worked does not equate to highest productivity or top performance – it’s the opposite really – why are people so challenged getting their jobs done in a reasonable amount of time

(5) Opportunities for Growth
-As I have quoted in several posts in the past: “Employees are 2 times more likely to commit to their jobs when they are challenged and intrigued by their work” – Aberdeen Group
-People want a career and, if they start with you for just a paycheck, your culture should be giving them motivation to plan a career with you
-Commitment to professional development leads to 10% higher retention

These are things that, as employers, we should just be focusing on naturally, for our team members. We need to commit to delivering a best place to work culture in order to grow our business and evolve with the ever changing landscape in retail. In addition to the reasons employees want to leave, here is a HUGE reason why retail organizations should want to retain their best employees…Here is a CBS News article that talks about how much it costs companies to lose their employees. Nevermind the 70% of the knowledge that the departing employee takes with them when they leave. Finally here is an amazingly useful whitepaper from the brains at Globoforce about Workplace Retention and the impact of turn.

In today’s connected world there is no reason why retail companies aren’t doing what they can to attract and retain the best talent in the industry. For example, here is a great article about The 5 Leadership Behaviors You Need To Boost Employee Engagement from Entrepreneur and one that I recently wrote about Contributing To The #Retail Zietgiest which will give leaders a starting point to positively impact change in your culture. Even if your company hasn’t yet embraced the focus on workplace culture – make it a focus and priority for your area of responsibility. Make a difference where you can and make your department, district, or region a best place to work for your employees and a place where they want to stay and grow.

Added December 4th, 2015

Here is a great infographic from Redii about “The 10 Reasons Why People Really Quit Their Jobs” – it includes some additional statistics and supporting information for your review.


Founder and Editor in Chief of Excellence In Retail and 18 year retailer. I am a passionate and creative leader and coach committed to inspiring thought, action, truth-telling, solution-seeking, and dialog about how to maximize talent through identifying and creating a process around critical success factors, workplace culture, signature leadership practices, productivity, profitability, alignment of employees and company vision & values, and workplace happiness inside all retail organizations. I help create healthy, vibrant, high-performing, and highly-productive organizations that are talent magnets and focused on delivering the highest level of customer experience that will differentiate them from competition and result in long-term growth and sustainability.

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