Using Data to Close Workforce Gaps in Retail Companies

Using Data to Close Workforce Gaps in Retail Companies
Workforce Resilience

02 of 10

This insight is part 02 of 10 in this Collection.

December 12, 2023 9 mins

Using Data to Close Workforce Gaps in Retail Companies

Woman making an online purchase

With technology advancements, new consumer expectations and unpredictable markets, retailers face hurdles in building a resilient workforce. Here are two actions to take for a stronger future.

Key Takeaways
  1. Retailers face several people-related risks to building a resilient workforce, based on Aon’s latest research.
  2. Improving employees’ adaptability and agility are key to improving overall workforce resilience.
  3. People risks can also be mitigated by developing inclusive leaders.

The retail industry is a vital component of the global economy and a cornerstone for economic growth. However, the industry is not without challenges. In an era of rapid technological advancements, shifting consumer expectation and unpredictable markets, retailers face a significant hurdle in building a resilient workforce. 

Every industry has its own human capital challenges unique to its specific circumstance. Analyzing data from three Aon research programs, we identified sector-specific resilience risks happening across organizations. Results found that the retail industry is falling short on building overall workforce resilience in the areas of adaptability, agility, inclusive leadership and increased people risks.

With the right data and advice, however, retail companies will be well-positioned to address these shortcomings and make better decisions. Below are recommended actions to take to improve in each area.

  • 3,000

    We analyzed holistic HR data from over 3,000 organizations around the world.

    Workforce Resilience Diagnostic Insights

  • 1,700

    1,700 organizations completed a workforce resilience risk assessment.

    2022 Aon Workforce Resilience Risk Benchmark

  • 1,300

    1,300 organizations told us their workforce wellbeing priorities.

    2022-23 Aon Global Wellbeing Survey

Increase Workforce Adaptability and Agility to Improve Overall Resilience

The retail industry falls short in overall resilience with a score of 67 percent — 5 percent less than the average of all sectors. By increasing overall workforce adaptability and agility, retailers can enhance overall resilience to face the evolving market dynamics.

Employee turnover was a top concern for 78 percent of organizations in the industry. Companies can reduce employee turnover by focusing on proven ways of engaging and retaining employees — a crucial first step to improving adaptability. This can mean providing a compelling employee value proposition that goes beyond compensation to include voluntary benefits, personalized total rewards where possible, career development opportunities, employee wellbeing programs, and reskilling and upskilling for future skills needs.

In addition, retailers should evaluate their organizational structure. For example, managing the number of reports for each manager allows people leaders to provide adequate guidance and support to their teams and promote efficient decision making for a positive work environment.

Tracking and facilitating internal mobility is another important focus area. Only 57 percent of surveyed retailers say they do this. Promoting employee mobility can provide employees with opportunities to gain diverse skills and experiences, making them more agile and versatile. 



Retailers have an overall workforce resilience score of 67 percent, which is 5 percent less than the average across sectors.

Source: Aon’s workforce resilience data

Quote icon

Hourly workers are often viewed and treated the same. Inclusive leaders understand people are at various places in their lives and careers. Leaders need to lean into the needs of their talent, support them and help them get to where they want to be.

Allison Genovese
Associate Partner and Retail Industry Lead, Talent Solutions, North America

Reduce People Risk by Developing Inclusive Leadership

Over three out of every four retailers (78 percent) say their leaders are facing challenges in managing the talent shortage. This furthers the need to cultivate an inclusive environment that attracts and retains top talent. By providing competitive salaries, fair compensation structures and performance-based initiatives, retailers can demonstrate their commitment to inclusive leadership and create a sense of belonging among employees

Retailers should also leverage the unique perspectives and experiences of their workforce to drive innovation, create more value within their organization and gain a competitive edge. Inclusive environments foster collaboration and trust, ultimately reducing people risk and building a more resilient workforce. 


How Aon Can Help

Ready to get started? Download our Measuring Workforce Resilience for Better Business Outcomes Guide or get in touch with one of our retail experts to discuss how to help your organization improve workforce resilience. 


Nearly a third of retailers surveyed say diversity, equity and inclusion is one of their top three priorities.

Source: Aon’s 2022-2023 Global Wellbeing Survey

General Disclaimer

This document is not intended to address any specific situation or to provide legal, regulatory, financial, or other advice. While care has been taken in the production of this document, Aon does not warrant, represent or guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or fitness for any purpose of the document or any part of it and can accept no liability for any loss incurred in any way by any person who may rely on it. Any recipient shall be responsible for the use to which it puts this document. This document has been compiled using information available to us up to its date of publication and is subject to any qualifications made in the document.

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