Employee Well-Being Reexamined at Retailers

Blog Post05 Oct, 2021

Big Idea

There is a new urgency to reexamine the workplace and employee well-being. Nike recently closed its offices for a week-long mental health recess. Retail companies, especially, are alleviating workplace stressors as stakeholders begin to attribute a well-rounded work environment towards a better reputation. For retail companies, this shift is noticeable – the Workplace Driver has improved from the last position to 4th since 2020. Retailers should be motivated to improve their Workplace perceptions, as solving shifting workplace needs is another lever for reputation progress.

RepTrak Perspective

Both internal and external stakeholders view employee well-being as an increasingly significant issue for companies to address, and in turn, an integral aspect of their reputations. With the increased scrutiny of workplace conditions, retailers must take a top-down approach and connect Workplace-related actions to leadership-led initiatives.

Reputation Context

Where does the Retail Industry Reputation stand?

In Q2 2021, the Reputation Score for the Retailing industry was 74.1 and has remained flat over the past year. Although it has the 4th highest industry Reputation Score, the sector is borderline for Workplace, placing 10th with an “Average” score of 69.8 for Q2 2021. While overall Workplace scores have stayed flat, during this same period, the Workplace Factor “Demonstrates concern for the health and well-being of employees” was the only one to decline, decreasing 1-point.

Why is this Big Idea important? 

Companies need to consider both their external and internal stakeholder perceptions. For retail companies, the pressures of COVID-19 and the struggle to reopen safely for both their customers and employees have not gone unnoticed. Despite consumers being happy with resuming services, company treatment of their employees can foster resentment or negativity. This perception has already begun to affect business outcomes – the retail sector is underperforming across critical business outcome measures. “Defends company in a discussion,” “Say something positive,” and “Work for company” have all decreased among advocates 7% - 10% in one year.

What must the Retail industry do?

Retailers cannot apply a one-time salve when addressing workplace stressors. Here, reputation progress begins with improved communication with key stakeholders, particularly employees. Retail stakeholders had a deficit for the Reputation Factor “Open and transparent,” with a 2-point decrease in the past year. Beyond creating workplace initiatives such as Nike’s mental health recess, companies must have more conversations regarding their employees’ physical and psychological well-being.

Convo Starters

What steps can your company take in the Retailing industry to connect Workplace initiatives and reputation gains?

Where is there room for growth in your company to facilitate conversations on employee satisfaction?

How can you incorporate part-time and corporate employee voices into Leadership goals?

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