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After the ‘Great Resignation’ Hit Retail Hard in 2021, Here’s How Companies Plan to Hire and Retain Talent in 2022

After the “Great Resignation” hit retail hard in 2021 amid a labor shortage, the big question remains: Will the situation get better in 2022?

Since July, the U.S. has added a net total of just less than 40,000 retail jobs, which accounts for gains in October as well as losses in August, July, and November. In September, roughly 4.4 million people, or 3% of U.S. workers, quit their jobs. Retail and the food service industries saw the most turnover in September.

While top executives said hiring will continue to be challenges, they’ve implemented new strategies to attract and retain workers.

Bob Philion, President of Puma North America

‘We are in the incredibly fortunate position that our industry has a tailwind behind it. While there is certainly a labor challenge out there, our brand is experiencing incredible momentum and as a result, we have a number of positions open at our North American headquarters and across the country. We are racing to add talent to keep up with the acceleration of our business.”

Michelle Poole, Brand President, Crocs

“Employment branding is a key area of investment for us, and we’re fortunate to be in a position where we’re aggressively hiring for corporate, regional, retail and distribution center roles. Our focus is to have a compelling employee value proposition and culture that encourages all team members to bring their true selves to work, and helps us compete to attract the best talent we can.

Bill Jordan, President, Designer Brands

“While some people are calling this period the Great Resignation, we call it the Great Retention.  This is such a great time to re-recruit our talent and keep them engaged.  We were able to provide bonuses to all of workers this year, including all store associates at DSW.  That, along with our continued flex working policy and continued efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion have been well received by our associates. After all, our associates are the heart and soul of the business. They’re the reason we’re able to move so nimbly and provide the best customer experience.”

Danny Ewoldsen, President, Johnston & Murphy

“If we’re honest with ourselves I think we will admit that our industry was bruised by the pandemic. Collectively we need to educate the workforce that our industry is viable and thriving. I was drawn to retail because it’s the ultimate meritocracy.  Strong individual and team performance can absolutely fuel a career.  I believe this is an attractive prospect for motivated individuals.
We also need to prioritize retention.  At J&M we have been blessed with tenure. I’m certain that our collaborative and inclusive culture has served us well on this front. We must respect and nurture our culture as we navigate the new reality of hybrid office arrangements. Keeping our people connected is one of our biggest priorities.”

David Kahan, CEO, Birkenstock

“We have been very fortunate in that our brand power has helped us attract high quality employees, even in areas that we hear are very tough like retail stores. We have fans who not only wear the product, but are in fact passionate brand missionaries — this is the level of people who come to us and become part of our family. Obviously if labor across the logistics/service sector continues to be an issue, it may impact us in a general sense since it would be with third parties who we and our retail partners may use, and of course the ability for retailers themselves to attract and retain a quality workforce.:

Ashley Petrie, SVP of Merchandising, Fred Segal

“We saw an improvement in our hiring abilities over the course of this year, there seemed to be a greater pool of talent with so many amazing people in the greater LA area looking for work within the retail space.  We feel confident this will only continue as we head into 2022.”

Anne Cavassa, President, Saucony

“We have a strong and committed team, many who have been with the brand for years. We continue to develop and retain our team with ongoing education and growth opportunities, flexibility and connection, and a supportive culture that is diverse, equitable and inclusive.”

Ankur Amin, CEO, TGS (parent to Extra Butter)

“I certainly hope it gets better. People are distracted from the pandemic, politics and social issues in our country right now.”

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