Improve seasonal retail employee retention with better communication

Improve seasonal retail employee retention with better communication

Retail employee retention is a challenge, especially when you have to adapt your business to fluctuating seasonal needs. According to a study from Kronos, only about a third of store managers ever feel fully prepared for the holiday season, and nearly half feel that the process to rehire former employees should be easier. These findings likely extend to other kinds of seasonal businesses, too.

66% of store managers feel unprepared for the holiday season, and 48% feel that the process to rehire former employees should be easier

Your stores rely on seasonal workers who come and go with your changing needs. The more of the same people you can bring back year over year, the less recruiting you have to do. Furthermore, onboarding them takes less time.

However, you hardly communicate between seasons, and then you suddenly have to track them down when you need them. More recently, a similar situation exists for workers who have been furloughed or laid off due to the pandemic.

Staying in touch with these employees in between their bouts of employment with you is easy. It goes a long way towards building affinity with your workforce, and also saves you a ton of time. If you have an employee app, you can do it without even needing their email address or phone number.

Here are a few ways you can engage with your seasonal workers in the off-season.

Ask for their input with surveys and polls

Sending a survey out to seasonal workers in between seasons accomplishes a few things:

  1. Makes them feel valued
  2. Gives you valuable insights into their needs
  3. Keeps your brand in their minds

You could ask about any number of topics. Gather feedback about your onboarding process or their overall experience last year. You might also ask about their plans for the upcoming year. Knowing whether or not they’re thinking about returning is always useful.


MangoApps can help you create and deploy employee surveys


Anything you ask about becomes valuable data that will inform your rehiring and recruitment strategy. 

One of the best recruiting tactics in any industry is to simply offer a positive experience to workers. Do this right, and word will spread. If you’re having trouble with retail employee retention, survey data can help you understand why.

Employee engagement surveys can boost retail employee retention

Offer smaller-scale opportunities for work

Your seasonal workers are a pool of people that already know how to work in your store. Do you often find yourself short-staffed or need replacement shift workers occasionally on short notice? Some of the people you hire seasonally are likely in the area and available all year round. They might be interested in picking up work occasionally.

Maybe there’s a one-off event you need help with, or recurring special situations that require a few more hands for a day or two. Having people on hand that you already know and trust can save you a lot of trouble. It also builds affinity, increasing the likelihood that they’ll come back when you need them next season.

With an employee app, it’s just a matter of keeping them in the system. Then, you can send out a quick post, which will notify the workers by SMS, email, or push notification.

Opposite season partnerships boost retail employee retention

There is probably a business in your area that needs extra hands in the opposite time of year as you. If you’re a retailer with a big rush around the holidays, for example, you might be able to find a beach or pool that needs summer lifeguards, or a chain of ice cream shops that are closed for the winter.

By reaching out to your network of seasonal employees with this kind of opportunity, you provide value to them. You also get the added benefit of access to the other business’ network for your own hiring.

Retail jobs can be challenging and disheartening

Ask for referrals

It’s never too soon to ask your seasonal workers for referrals from their networks. Around the holidays, for example, most hiring decisions don’t happen until October or November. Starting the conversation well before then ensures that you’re ahead of the competition. Asking for referrals is the perfect pretense for doing so.

Furthermore, there is likely a correlation between high-performing seasonal workers, and those who refer others to you. The response to referral requests can help you figure out which superstars will return next season.

Retail employee retention hinges on feeling included

You may think your seasonal workers don’t feel any loyalty to your brand, but everyone likes to feel included in things.

If you have a company app, it’s easy to create a group for your seasonal hires and occasionally post some feel-good content. You might also invite them to a team event you’re holding in the off-season. If not, a quarterly or monthly email blast can keep you top of mind and help foster a sense of belonging.

Here at MangoApps, we’ve helped hundreds of companies, like Superdrug and Kelly-Moore Paints create a great digital experience for their employees and boost retail employee retention. For more reading material, see our curated list of retail resources

Otherwise, learn more about how our products could improve your intranet, communications, and training.