OPERATIONS

Benefits more important than ever to retail job seekers

BY Marianne Wilson

A new report sheds light on how retailers can fill open positions in today’s tight labor market.

More than half (52% ) of all retail candidates say that benefits are one of the top two factors when making career decisions, up 5% from the last year, according to a study from ManpowerGroup Solutions and the Retail Industry Leaders Association that was revealed at Groceryshop 2018 in Las Vegas. Benefits are now ranked second behind compensation and tied with type of work.

Interest in benefits is especially high among candidates for in-store positions (56%) and warehouse and distribution positions (60%). Paid health insurance is the leading benefit preferred by all retail candidates and is desired by 65% of retail candidates versus 56% of U.S. candidates across all industries. Financial education and saving plan opportunities ranked second (37%), followed by food or lunch onsite (27%) paid maternity leave (25%) and continuing education (23%).

The report, “What Retail Employers Need to Know about Candidate Preferences,” also revealed that a retailer’s brand or reputation is more important than ever among retail job applicants. One in five (20%) retail candidates say an employer’s brand or reputation ranks among their top three career decisions criteria, up 7% from last year. Though employer brand still ranks behind factors such as compensation, type of work, schedule flexibility and benefits, the brand/reputation of the company is the fastest-growing factor in career decisions among retail job seekers.

In another finding, virtually all types of retail candidates desire more flexibility. Forty-two percent of e-commerce workers prefer full-time work from home. Twenty-two percent of warehouse and distribution workers want choice and control in their work shifts, and 30% of corporate candidates want flexible arrival and departure times – nearly twice that of candidates from all industries.

“Retail job seekers are looking to fit a job into their lives and not their lives into their job,” said Melissa Hassett, VP of client delivery at ManpowerGroup Solutions. “Sales representatives are in the top five hardest roles to fill in the U.S..  That means that in this competitive labor market, employers should understand that candidates are consumers too and need to work hard to attract people using a strong employee value proposition. What’s bringing retail workers into the role is the need for flexibility, an attractive benefits package and opportunities to upskill and earn more. ”

The report, What Retail Employers Need to Know about Candidate Preferences, provides retail insights and practical tips on how to attract and retain workers. ManpowerGroup Solutions surveyed nearly 2,500 retail workers across the U.S. to understand how they want to work.  For more, click here.

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Increasing ‘Dark Web’ activity puts retailers at risk

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Retailers may be leveraging more digital channels to increase revenue opportunities, but these are also fertile ground for cyber-thieves.

This was according to “The Retail and E-commerce Threat Landscape Report” from e-commerce fraud-prevention firm Riskified, and IntSights Cyber Intelligence, a provider of enterprise cyber threat intelligence and mitigation solutions. The study, which analyzed the transaction-level results of hundreds of millions of purchases between Q3 2017 and Q3 2018, revealed new tactics used by fraudsters.

According to data, cyber-thieves are getting more sophisticated in their attacks via the Dark Web, a part of the Internet where fraudsters rely on special software to remain anonymous or untraceable via digital scams. For example, there was a 297% rise in the number of fake retailer websites designed to “phish” for customer credentials. In Q3 alone, there was an average of 23 phishing sites per company. This was a significant increase from 2017, which averaged 5.9 phishing attacks per company.

Fake apps and social media profiles are also on the rise. There was a staggering 469% spike in suspicious applications, and a 345% increase in fake social media profiles, respectively, in Q4 2017.

There was also an average of 22.1 internal login pages or development servers exposed per retail company in 2018. When accessed, this gives cybercriminals a portal into the retailer’s internal network.

In addition, there was a 278% rise in stolen goods listed on black markets for resale, the study revealed.

“Retailers are increasingly focused on driving sales through a variety of online channels — Facebook, SMS messaging, Instagram, Twitter and more — all of which provide an ideal opportunity for fraudsters to lure in new victims through phishing attacks as it is the most common way to obtain stolen credit card numbers,” said Guy Nizan, co-founder and CEO of IntSights Cyber Intelligence. “As prime targets for cyber-crime, retailers need to understand how their goods are being sold and bartered for on the Dark Web. This glimpse into criminal behavior and activity helps inform the overall cybersecurity program, leading to an increase in security posture.”

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Survey: Unplanned employee absences disrupting store operations

BY Marianne Wilson

Employee absenteeism is wreaking havoc on store operations across the globe.

For every 10 hours of in-store labor budgeted, more than one hour is wasted due to staffing misalignment caused by unplanned employee absence, according to a survey of 800 global retail managers by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. The top three operational downfalls of absenteeism (defined as shifts that are scheduled but unexpectedly not worked) cited by respondents are staff productivity (58%), customer satisfaction (47%), and store revenue (42%). Interestingly, absenteeism has an above-average impact on staff productivity in the U.S. (69%).

The Global Retail Absence survey, conducted with Coleman Parkes Research, found that retailers are understaffed 25% of the time due to last-minute absenteeism. Retailers in the U.K. (44%) and the U.S. (41%) are hit hardest on the weekends. In Germany, the highest rate of absence typically occurs on Mondays.

For the most part, retailers are given just one to three hours’ notice when an employee is not going to show up for work. The impact of filling these shifts on short notice means that one in four retailers are working with staff that have the wrong skills at least half the time, according to the report.

In other survey findings:

• An average 6% of labor hours each month are worked to cover issues such as unplanned absence but have not been formally scheduled. This causes unnecessary stress for 57% of U.S. retailers.

• Nearly half of retailers worldwide (48 percent) find it challenging to deal with administrative issues resulting from associates working additional shifts and/or incurring overtime to cover unplanned absence, and 42% feel a big impact on labor costs.

• The perpetual issue and corrosive effects of absenteeism have led the vast majority of retail organizations (88%) to proactively over-schedule additional labor each day to cover for anticipated absences.

• Retailers regularly find themselves with either too few or too many associates during periods of low- and peak-demand, and some admit to being understaffed (31%) or overstaffed (22%) at least half the time.

• The most common (69%) workforce management challenge for retail mangers across the U.S. is building schedules that meet customer, business, and employee demands.

• Only 55% of retailers worldwide have technology in place to manage unplanned absences. In comparison, 76% have an automated solution to manage time and attendance, and 73% use technology to manage planned absences, such as time-off requests.

• Three out of five retailers say scheduling technology has a positive impact on productivity within their teams.

• Retail managers are confident that effective absence management technology can help reduce absenteeism: globally, retailers anticipate an 18 percent decrease in unapproved absence rates after implementing a new absence and shift-swapping solution.

• Quantifying the benefits of absence management, retailers additionally expect a new absence and shift-swapping solution to reduce labor costs by nearly 3%.

“The corrosive effects of absenteeism can swiftly knock retailers’ plans off course and erode performance potential,” said Joyce Maroney, executive director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos. “How you minimize and manage absence is critical to staying on target, and it starts with understanding employee preferences, considering their availability, and making it easy for them to modify their schedule or swap a shift as needed. After all, employees who work schedules built around their preferred hours and availability and who are empowered by self-service workforce management technology will be happier, have fewer instances of absence, be more productive, and have a longer tenure.”

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