The transition to self-serve checkouts in retail and grocery stores over the past 12 months has created a trend within an industry that is already slashing headcounts. Consumers are now able to check out their groceries on their own with little to no influence from a retail store employee.

Walmart has recently taken this a step further and has rolled out a technology that allows shoppers to choose to carry a scanner that tallies up their purchases.

Many of the retailers utilizing self-checkout technologies promise that the trend towards automation will not cost workers their jobs, but it may be naive to not look at the future of cashier and sales associate roles. Walmart states that the company’s objective is not to kill jobs, but instead to help customers budget and offer a convenient checkout option. Other retailers also state that the efficiencies earned in a self-serve checkout model will free up resources to improve customer experience when visiting a retail location.

But what does this mean for the future of hourly retail employees and their employers?

Current unemployment rates and market conditions in retail and hospitality sectors are making it increasingly difficult to attract and retain top talent. The lack of available talent in an increasingly expensive market had made the need for a consistent recruitment strategy no longer a luxury, but a necessity. With increases to the minimum wage across Canada, and unemployment rates at the lowest point in 10 years, are your Hiring Managers armed with the tools to be successful?

As the shift towards technology begins to unfold, candidate attraction and workforce quality will begin to become increasingly important. If and when the competition for front-line, hourly roles increases, the market can expect to see an increase in the number of hourly employees vying for fewer positions in the retail and hospitality market.

Although this appears to be a flip in terms of the labour market and business labour needs, the strategies required to be successful in both environments remains the same:

  1. Attract quality talent – Whether your business needs to increase your candidate pipeline, or you’re looking to replace existing talent and improve the quality of your workforce, attracting the right talent and standing out in a sea of hourly candidates becomes an increasing priority.
  2. Consistent hiring process – If you aren’t evaluating candidates on a consistent and level playing field, then there is no way to effectively gauge any improvements you may be looking to make to your workforce. In addition, you may be letting through candidates that do not meet your qualified candidate profile.
  3. Improve your workforce quality – There is always an opportunity to improve the quality of your workforce. Talent that performs at a higher level will increase sales, will be less likely to turnover, and will save your managers time and your business money.

Whatever your current recruitment processes may be, there is always room for improvement. Having the appropriate people, processes, and technology in place are essential to growing your business and attracting the talent to take you there.

Mindfield specializes in recruitment solutions for hourly employers. Mindfield supports your business from recruitment marketing, to behavioural assessments and interviewing, to acting as your outsourced recruitment department. We’ll help you hire better people that ultimately improve the quality of your workforce, and set the precedent to keep you there.


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