Employees Ready to Walk During Holidays
The Christmas holiday season is one of great stress at retail. This is particularly true of store personnel who have to deal with large numbers of shoppers, many of whom are
not in the holiday spirit. Ultimately, however, most retail workers can handle the customer side of things. What gets them really angry, in many cases, angry enough to quit, is
the perceived treatment they receive at the hands of their supervisors and store management.
A new Harris Interactive study commissioned by the workforce management company Kronos found 46 percent of retail store workers were prepared to walk out if companies did not
address a number of key issues.
Stuart Itkin, CMO at Kronos, told RetailWire, “Thirty-two percent of survey respondents indicated that the number one reason that could cause them to quit this holiday
season is ‘I am not treated with respect by my boss.’ This statistic shows that employees want to be treated as an asset rather than an expense.”
Following workers’ complaints about not being treated with respect, were objections resulting from having to do a job when there were too few employees to adequately address
Having requests for time-off ignored was the next biggest reason workers were considering taking off altogether.
“Forty-three percent of retail employees said that if they ask for a day off but are scheduled anyway, it has a negative affect on their job performance,” said Mr. Itkin. “The
top three ways it affects them are: they are likely to be less motivated at work; they may call in sick; and they may arrive late or leave early – all of which have a grave impact
on customer service.”
According to Kronos’ Itkin, the problems highlighted in the study have already been addressed successfully by a number of retailers.
“Best practice organizations are able to show their workforce that they respect them by giving them access to self-service functionality. This allows them to access their personal
information, including the time they have available to take off,” he said.
The same process, said Mr. Itkin, “allows store associates to submit time-off requests for manager’s approval. This eliminates the need for the infamous time-off notebook, a
myriad of colored stickies on the wall, verbal requests, or hand-written notes that end up in the store manager’s washing machine.”
The study conducted online by Harris Interactive queried 1,009 hourly retail employees (aged 18 and over). The survey results had an error margin of plus or minus three percentage
Discussion Questions: How important is it for employers to address the complaints of workers identified in the Harris Interactive study? What answers
are there for fixing the workforce management problems this time of year?