by Rotageek on 31 July 2020
The last year had already begun with a relatively bleak outlook for British retailers: Brexit, rising costs, ever-increasing customer expectations and UK productivity levels that had fallen to their lowest in recent memory. And then a global pandemic reared its head and the country ground to a halt (with the exception of essential services, of course).
Research from academics at Sussex University and Loughborough University, found that productivity growth was at its lowest levels for over 200 years with Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane calling productivity the “single most pressing issue” for the UK economy.
So, while Covid-19 has perhaps forced the issue of rethinking business models and rebuilding operational productivity, the need for retailers to be more agile, forward thinking and embracing of technology is long overdue.
In a new report that we collaborated on in partnership with Retail Week and Catapult we reveal the UK’s top 30 most productive retailers across bricks-and-mortar, multichannel and pure play. We dive into everything from staff-cost-to-sales ratios and the value-per-employee, while exploring what has powered the productivity of retail giants including BrandAlley, and ASOS. So, what did the report reveal?
As expected, brands who spoke of employee engagement initiatives, performance indicators and staff training featured higher up the ranks. BrandAlley spoke of a recent emphasis on mental health initiatives to support employees whilst ASOS has used the crisis to drive productivity by investing in company spirit and entrepreneurial innovation.
Staff costs are often the first to be cut during difficult times however investing in your workforce is more important than ever. Low-cost methods such as work perks, driving employee collaboration and on-the-job training can have a high impact on employee happiness and overall productivity.
In the report you will read insights into how these retailers have achieved such productivity performances and reacted to the challenges of Covid-19 plus:
In today’s landscape when looking to improve productivity, after countless marginal gains have already been made through the years and online retail is squeezing bricks-and-mortar stores harder than ever, retailers have to be even smarter to realise those much-needed gains.
Working across the retail and healthcare industries, we see time and again that embracing automation and integration are key drivers of productivity gains.
While Covid-19 may have kick-started the digital transformation in the healthcare industry only recently, we see that retailers have been on this path for some time and are seeing the benefits of automation and integration in areas such as logistics, e-commerce and customer experience.
Whilst it might not feel like the time to invest in staff engagement, there is scope to dramatically improve productivity by aligning employees and the brand operation.
“Competitive gains can be achieved without necessarily making huge investments. There is a real opportunity for those retailers who can convert employees into brand ambassadors.” Michael Frank, Head of Retail at BDO.
Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that businesses with the most engaged employees saw 15% greater productivity as well as 26% less staff turnover. Their workforce was also 20% less likely to quit if they experienced better work relationships, wellbeing support and a work-life balance.
So it is well-documented that the happier your shift-working teams on the ground are, the better the store performance will be, but what are shift-workers really looking for to move the dial in their employee experience and work/life balance when it comes to their schedules?
Giving staff input and control over their schedules will not only impact their happiness, but has seen businesses reap the financial, productivity and customer satisfaction benefits, now and over the long term.
Read the full report by clicking here ↘️ and take a deep dive into retail productivity in 2021!