Sluggish growth, rising interest rates and the skyrocketing cost of living pressures have driven up overheads for most retailers, making it harder to operate and expand. Our retail base has repeatedly told us that record-low unemployment rates are making it extremely difficult to find, attract and retain the talent they need to grow their business. The solution to finding and retaining talent in retail is surprisingly simple and easy – entrusting the workload to artificial intelligence (AI).
Most retail businesses, due to sheer size and fewer resources, lack the number of skilled and qualified staff needed for better productivity and future growth. And when they do have experienced staff on the books, retaining these employees is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s volatile job market.
AI proactively aims to address these recruitment pain points by empowering employers to gain control of the process, providing them with all the tools they need to seamlessly recruit and retain talent – giving them time to focus on operations and growth. Adopting tech also works to centralise recruitment functions, giving retail businesses access to distinct apps that work to support every core step in the employment process.
Using AI functionalities eases the pain of the time-consuming and often overwhelming process of finding, engaging, and onboarding talent for a new role, doing all the heavy lifting for employers throughout the recruitment process. This includes producing AI-generated job advertisement templates, job descriptions, offering a one-click ‘post’ option, and automating the extraction of information from CV PDFs in bulk to streamline manual inputting.
Long gone are the days of job listings in newspapers, these are now available online through a variety of job posting boards. When we designed our employment superapp Swag, we looked at modernising the process with AI and equipping employers with a free job advertisement board – Swag Jobs. By using a Saas model, retailers can post an unlimited number of job postings for free, something that would traditionally cost $800 a head.
Once employed, AI allows employers to reduce HR admin and onboarding inefficiencies by keeping timesheets, payslips, leave requests, induction policies, and certifications within one central location.
It also enables employees to engage in reward and recognition initiatives such as peer shoutouts and accredited personal achievements within the business. With AI-powered programs, retailers can provide their workforce with increased purchasing power and discounts without impacting the business’s bottom line. This goes a long way in building rapport with employees in uncertain economic times, giving smaller businesses a leg-up in the war for talent.
The competitive economic landscape also poses many challenges for jobseekers. This downturn has led to job losses, redundancies and hiring freezes in many industries, increasing competition for available positions and prolonging the time it takes to secure employment. AI not only helps out employers it also provides nervous job seekers with an uplifting and easy job process. Through AI-supported applications the entire recruitment process can be streamlined and personalised to help jobseekers cut down on manual tasks such as sifting through open roles and writing up time-consuming cover letters and job applications.
While AI serves as an assistant in the job search, it by no means replaces the human elements of recruiting. Rather than automating every interaction, it streamlines the manual, tedious aspects of the job process like double entering resume details and writing job descriptions, and enhances the personal parts – creating a unique candidate profile, receiving personalised job recommendations, and direct messaging with potential candidates. With more time back in the day, retailers can focus more on their business and job seekers on landing their next role.
AI is emerging as a trustworthy ally for retailers, working hand in hand with employers to find quality talent whilst also helping new hires to engage in their new roles and form a connection to the workplace. Recruitment is only set to get harder for both job seekers and recruiters in retail, and so it’s time to finally turn the tables. This kind of tech is no longer just a futuristic dream. It’s a game changer that promises to transform the employment landscape in a number of ways. Attracting and retaining talent is only the start of a dynamic relationship between retail and AI.
Ben Thompson is co-founder and CEO of Employment Hero.
Photo credit: Anna Kucera.