New research has found that nearly 30% of employees in retail customer service roles are most likely to look for a new job in January, due to a “seasonal slump” in engagement and motivation.
The survey by quality assurance improvement platform, EvaluAgent, found that 38% of retail customer service staff are less happy in January than any other month, leading to 28% to actively search for a new role.
The study also said that based on the average customer service worker’s annual salary of £21,000, each departure costs businesses at least £6,300 due to recruitment expenses and reduced productivity.
The report estimates that around 5% of customer service workers will actually leave their jobs in January, so with 640,500 people currently in customer service roles across the UK, this could mean businesses stand to lose around £201,757,500 in January alone.
However, according to the research there are a number of engagement strategies that help to successfully prevent retail customer service employees from starting their January job hunt.
Interestingly, financial incentives such as salary increases and bonuses alone are an ineffective solution, with 52% of those surveyed saying that money wouldn’t affect their decision as to whether to stay or leave their company in January.
Instead, the research showed that businesses should be utilising a “full spectrum of tools” to boost employee engagement, including regular and timely feedback, which was deemed as effective as a cash bonus by 57% of employees.
Non-financial reward schemes were almost as popular, with 41% of employees saying these would prevent them from looking for a new job at the start of the year, while 31% said employee benefits such as healthcare and flexitime would encourage them to stay.
In addition, nearly a third of employees (31%) said that this would be enough to make them reconsider looking for a new role.
Jaime Scott, co-founder and CEO of EvaluAgent, said: “High employee turnover in January is a real problem for many retailers, and can cause significant problems when it comes to productivity and customer satisfaction levels.
“Our research clearly shows there is a direct link between employee engagement and turnover, suggesting that retailers need to be making far more effort to engage their workforce at this time of year if they are to prevent the annual surge in departures.”
He added: “We know that in order to do so, they need to ensure they are utilising a full range of tools, as no one strategy will be effective enough on its own.
“With a variety of both financial and non-financial incentives in place, retailers should not only see the number of employees leaving in January go down, but should also see employee performance and therefore customer satisfaction improve, making it a win-win for all involved.”