To say that grocery associates have had a difficult few years would be an understatement. After bearing the brunt of the pandemic, they are now finding themselves facing labor shortages, rising crime and ever more demanding customers. This has led to a sharp decline in mental health, along with rising quit rates across the industry.
As the countdown to Christmas begins, these pressures are only going to grow. If stores want to retain associates, they need to prioritize wellbeing as a matter of urgency. This is where we can help.
By providing store-wide communication on a single voice channel, our headsets put associates back in control. When information can be shared easily, everything else falls into place, including the mental health of your team. Here’s how you can put wellbeing at the top of the agenda in 2024.
Pressure from all sides
It’s a tough time to be working in any sector, but retail and grocery employees are struggling more than most. Recent surveys of associate mental health paint a worrying picture:
- 84% of retail associates report a decline in their mental health in recent years
- 22% of associates suffer from high levels of anxiety at work
- Retail is ranked in the bottom 10% for workplace mental health
There is no single reason for this decline in wellbeing. Instead, several factors have come together to make life unusually difficult for associates:
- Many stores are still short-staffed following the “Great Resignation” of 2020/2021. This has left three quarters of remaining associates juggling multiple roles and responsibilities.
- Rising living costs have forced a third of associates to take second jobs. This increases the risk of burnout, making it harder to deal with the pressures of the shop floor.
- Economic hardship has led to an increase in crime. Half of all retail and grocery associates witnessed theft in 2023, and 36% felt unequipped to deal with the situation. This has left 40% of associates feeling afraid to go to work.
- Non-violent altercations have also increased. Half of associates have had to deal with a verbally abusive customer, and 60% say that customers have become more irritable.
- The holiday season has ramped up these pressures further. A fifth of associates report increased stress in the run up to Christmas.
With so much on their plates, it’s no surprise that almost half of full time associates have considered quitting their jobs. This would put even more strain on remaining associates, leading to a potential avalanche of resignations.
This might sound like an impossible situation, but there is hope! Taken together, these problems seem overwhelming, but individually they can be solved. It all comes down to a single factor- communication.
No associate left behind
Your team needs to feel supported no matter what, and this is where we can help. Whether it’s dealing with an abusive customer or keeping up with a heavy workload, our system ensures that associates never have to face these challenges alone:
- Headsets allow instant communication at the push of a button. All associates can speak on a single channel, allowing you to pool information and offer support.
- Associates can check stock levels or find information for customers immediately. This saves around 1500 yards of walking per shift, helping your team to conserve their physical and mental energy.
- Hands-free headsets allow multitasking, increasing task efficiency by 105 minutes a day. This ensures that associates don’t become overwhelmed during busy periods.
- Our messagecast feature allows head office to send updates directly to associates. As well as guaranteeing that everyone is working with the latest information, this lets shop floor associates know that management hasn’t forgotten them.
- If associates witness a crime, they can contact the security team directly. This is more efficient than a PA announcement, not to mention more discreet. Our research shows that associates feel 54% safer when wearing our headsets.
- Headsets can be used to report spills and breakages, ensuring these are cleaned up as quickly as possible. This reduces the risk of injury to associates and customers during busy periods.
We can’t fix every problem in retail, but we can make sure that associates don’t have to face them alone. Our headsets give the shop floor a voice, both literally and figuratively, and this can make a huge difference to wellbeing. Talk to our team to find out more.