New Hay Group Insight Research Shows That Product and Service Quality Are Significant Areas of Concern for Retail Employees
February 21 2006 - Workers in the retail
industry provided one of the lowest ratings of their company as a place to work compared
to other industries, according to a recent Hay Group Insight Employee Survey Benchmark
Report. Retail employees also gave lower ratings for product and service quality with just over
a half (53%) responding favorably on whether
their company adapted well to changing market conditions. This compared to almost 60%
as a general industry average.
"As retail becomes more and more competitive, stores are open longer
hours, staffing is stretched and associates have to work harder and more varied
schedules -- mandatory weekends, late hours, and split schedules," said Craig Rowley,
vice president and head of Hay Group's Retail Consulting Practice. "This clearly has an
impact on working conditions and climate."
Despite these relatively negative views, however, employees in retail
also reported job satisfaction that was clearly favorable and slightly above the general industry
norm. Contributing to this (contradictory) feeling was a strong understanding
of how their jobs related to their companies' overall direction. They also
gave high ratings for the interesting and challenging work provided by their jobs.
Retail respondents gave higher rankings than the general norm in two key areas:
- that they had a clear idea of expected results (88%)
- that poor performance was not usually tolerated (53%)
"Retail is one of the few industries that can and does measure performance
down to the store level (even down to the department level) on an hourly basis and takes
action based on this information daily," continued Rowley. "And because of this ability to
monitor and track performance so closely, it's not uncommon to see a 'two bad seasons and
you're out' culture in retail."
But the lowest scores in the retail industry were given for the competitiveness of their
salaries, with fewer than 20% responding favorably. This was approximately
half the general industry norm.
"This is not surprising," said Rowley, "given retail's focus on cost
control, and the heavy use of part time employees in the industry. Best practices
retailers deal with this by having very effective career progression programs that
rapidly promote the best performers to higher paying jobs."
Career counseling excepted, retail supervisors are rated on
par with the norm. But the esteem with which employees hold other members of their
work group, especially regarding cooperation received, is rated lower than
the average across all industries.
"Human resource executives should take a look at compensation, turnover,
tenure, and career advancement opportunities in their organizations and analyze how they
compare to their competitors and top performing companies," said Tom Agnew, a senior
consultant with Hay Group Insight (www.hayinsight.com). "This was not a one or two question 'quick poll.' In these employee surveys, we ask a broad set of questions, helping companies better understand what drives their performance and results."