fusion point research Marketing Research Reports

Marketing to Human Resources in Retail

Understanding Their Role

As in most industries, retail human resources (HR) departments are responsible for the organization’s recruiting, hiring, development, compensation, performance management and employee relations processes. However, HR in a retail environment poses several distinct challenges, including:


  • High employee turnover
  • Large numbers of part-time workers
  • Employees with little work experience
  • Highly visible employees
  • Low wages
  • Need for seasonal, temporary workers
  • Requirement for employees to work weekends and holidays.1


Labor accounts for a large percentage of a retailer’s total expenses.2 The industry has traditionally paid low wages to entry-level employees. The cost to recruit, hire and train workers is prohibitive, especially since workers quickly turnover. The result of hiring workers with little education or training at low wages can sometimes result in employees who are not motivated, often late or absent, and perform poorly.3

“Today's cashier is tomorrow's store manager. Tomorrow's store manager may have my job, so we want to make sure that opportunity is there for people, as it has been for so many of us in the past…."

- Doug McMillon, CEO of Wal-Mart.4

1 SBerman, Barry and Joel R. Evans. Retail Management: A Strategic Approach. 12th Ed. Chapter11. Edited by Pearson Education, Inc., Prentice Hall. 2013.

2 Ibid.

3 Stock, Kyle and Kim Bhasin. “Why Retailers are Suddenly Desperate to Keep Their Least Valuable Workers. Bloomberg News. March 6, 2015. Available at: www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-06/why-ret...

4 Di Christopher, Tom. “Wal-Mart CEO on pay hike: Employee morale will help business.” February 2015. CNBC. Available at: www.cnbc.com/2015/02/19/wal-mart-ceo-on-pay-hike-w...


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Copyright © 2016 Fusion Point Research, Inc.

Human resources in the retail industry faces several unique difficulties, due to the large size of its labor force, and the need for entry-level, seasonal and part-time employees.