UK-based charity Retail Trust is launching a new well-being initiative for retail employees that will offer digital tools and content to support their physical, mental and financial health and promote happier careers in the sector.
The services will use Microsoft technologies such as Teams, Dynamics 365, Azure, SharePoint and Power BI, and be hosted on a range of platforms to reach employees in a way that best suits them.
The new programme aims to address the difficulties that have faced retail staff during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since 2020, more than 250,000 people have accessed the Retail Trust’s helpline and digital self-help support, and the organisation has delivered over 14,000 counselling sessions.
“The retail industry is at a crisis point, with many workers choosing to leave the industry with no plans to return,” said Poppie Foakes, director of product and innovation at the Retail Trust. “With the war for talent – and retaining it – now spiralling, the retail industry must choose to make their teams happier, feel more appreciated and truly care for their well-being. This needs to be driven by the leadership, and managers at all levels need to be trained and focused upon colleagues’ health and well-being.”
The trust also plans to create a Retail Wellbeing Index that will give retailers a view of their well-being performance and let them compare it with others. Combining anonymised data and relevant third-party information, brands can assess workforce diversity, employee retention and attrition, and absenteeism. They can also view upcoming trends and access recommended actions to improve well-being among their staff.
“The retail sector has been on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic, providing communities with vital products and services,” said Howard Lewis, head of retail, consumer goods, travel and transport at Microsoft UK. “However, the unprecedented challenges have taken a toll on the well-being of staff. Microsoft is working with the Retail Trust to provide digital tools and services that can empower retail leaders to better understand individuals in their teams and offer the right support, at the right time.”
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