Here’s What Retail Stores Can Do to Get Hiring Back on Track

improving hiring at retail stores

Let’s be honest – it’s a big challenge right now to find staff to work in retail stores, hospitality, and restaurants for any number of reasons. If you are a retail manager, you know how difficult it is to find quality staff to work at stores and perform at a high level.

Let’s talk about some things I think retail stores can do to alleviate a lot of this pain.

Lower Staff Turnover Rates 

The first thing you should do is work really hard to get staff turnover rates down. If you can lower your staff turnover rate by 50%, that’s 50% fewer people you actually have to go out and hire.

So how can you achieve this?

  1. Pay attention to your stars: Have you noticed the amount of time you spend chasing the poor performer while ignoring the really good person. Star employees, if not acknowledged, end up feeling neglected, and they have several opportunities available to them. NEVER ignore your best performers; in fact, do the opposite and lavish time and attention on them.
  2. More coaching/training: If you’re not investing in your people, they’re not staying. Gen Y and Z have been brought up with training and coaching, and you need to provide this for them. If you are a member of the management team, you need to go deep every shift with these people to show them how they are growing.
  3. Be a better boss: Most people don’t quit the company; they quit the boss. Are you the type of person you would want to work for? Are you inspiring? Are you positive? Are you full of enthusiasm? Do you show your employees how to get ahead? All these things make you a better boss and can help lower your turnover rate.
  4. Run a professional store: Everyone wants to work for a place with a sterling reputation in town. So, make sure you run your store professionally, and staff feel a sense of pride working there.
  5. Don’t tolerate poor performance: If you’ve got a dud on the schedule, you must address their performance. If you let one person not perform according to your standards, the rest of the team will reconsider whether they want to work at your store.

Remember, you don’t have to get your employees to stay on forever, just longer.

Always Be Hiring

You have to be constantly looking for staff everywhere. Look under every possible stone and every possible angle. Here are two things I think you should be doing when it comes to hiring.

  1. Recruit: Most people don’t like doing this, but you have to go out of your store and recruit staff working in other types of environments. I’m not saying you should go around stealing employees, but when you run across someone good at what they are doing, you have to let them know who you are. Make that connection!
  2. Referral programs: A lot of stores have employee referral programs in place. The trick here is to keep changing the reward. If it’s the same reward every time, people will stop paying attention to it. Trying changing the rewards [increase the referral bonus] every 30 or 60 days so you can get your staff’s attention to go out there and recruit for you.

Get Better at Interviewing

Let’s not feel so panicked that we start hiring people just because they showed up to the interview. This just creates the never-ending cycle of hiring, trying to onboard somebody, they turn out to be a bad fit and end up leaving at the 30 or 60-day mark. It’s worth your time, energy, and effort to do proper interviews.

So, what does a good interview look like?

  • Questions need to be standardized.
  • Always conduct at least two interviews [you can run both interviews back-to-back].
  • Establish rapport with the candidate so you can understand who they truly are.
  • Ask follow-ups to candidate responses.
  • Always check references.

It’s not easy to find or keep staff. But we’re retailers, and we can overcome the impossible. We will get through this, but we will get through this better if we take a disciplined and committed approach to hiring our staff.

Having a hard time with hiring? Get in touch with me today and learn how you can turn this around at your store.


At Graff Retail, we create leading-edge retail training programs specifically designed and customized to increase staff knowledge and performance with innovative teaching methods to drive sales and revenue for businesses.

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