from Justine Watson, Director, The Talent Partnership, Berkeley Scott Group, Godalming, Surrey
Sir; It has become increasingly apparent over the past 18 months that the skills shortages affecting the retail industry have been getting worse. Even so, the survey reported last week in The Grocer made gloomy reading.
With 75% of retailers admitting resourcing problems, it is hard to comprehend how these same organisations plan to carry through their aggressive expansion plans. It is projected that an additional 100,000 retail jobs will be created within the coming 12 months ­ a figure which must represent an epic shortfall of manpower. The question of how to resolve this shortage is acute and must be addressed from several aspects.
One of the most fundamental angles open to all companies must be to achieve a more holistic resourcing strategy which encompasses the better management of talent. With a quarter of companies polled admitting to a staff turnover rate of more than 50%, it is obvious this is an area with scope for improvement. Not only are recruitment costs higher than retention and development, there is real competitive advantage to be gained in keeping key personnel.
It is time for companies to embrace cultural change and value the workforce as human beings. There must be flexibility in the delivery of working conditions and benefits which offer real value. A company which wins the hearts and minds of employees will create a strong corporate loyalty. Couple this with practical policies to ensure employees are equipped with the skills to fulfil their potential, and a winning situation is created.
If these principles are combined with an holistic overview of the recruitment and resourcing process, it is possible to achieve an upward spiral of continuous improvement.