Despite Ongoing Challenges, Retailers Optimistic For Holiday Season
The ongoing labor crisis and supply chain disruptions are tempered somewhat by the optimistic spirits of U.S. retailers as they look at the upcoming holiday season, according to a new UKG survey, “Retail’s 2021 Holiday Season Outlook.”
According to the research, retailers expect 2021 could be the worst holiday hiring season in memory (63%), yet nine in 10 are confident they can deliver a positive experience for shoppers (94%) and associates (93%).
A quarter of retailers (26%) expect holiday season staff shortages and unplanned absences to result in daily understaffing, while many cite demands for higher pay and health and safety concerns as the top reasons stores are struggling to attract workers. Retailers also blame a stressful work environment — with 88% worried about employee burnout — and argue that what jobseekers really want from an employer is greater flexibility.
“Finding ways to introduce flexibility into frontline work should be a top priority for every U.S. retailer — particularly those hoping to appeal to Gen Z, draw caregivers back into the workforce, and optimize scheduling across multiple stores or brands,” said Rob Klitsch, director of the retail, hospitality, and food service practice at UKG.
To prepare for the holiday shopping season, retailers are bolstering contactless systems and safeguards (81%) and putting managers in charge of enforcing store safety policies. Nearly all retailers think that customers — if given the choice — prefer to shop with as little contact as possible (88%) and expect in-store fulfilment will be even more popular this holiday season than in 2020 (90%).
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