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Retail Sector in Australia

Executive Summary

This study provides a comprehensive overview of Australian retail HRM issues. The economy benefits from this industry’s 1.3 million jobs. As a result of the pandemic, many companies are struggling to survive, and workers are facing layoffs and reduced hours. This paper discusses talent acquisition and selection, workplace health and safety, employee development, employee relations and engagement, and employee compensation and benefits. It suggests future solutions to these issues. The retail industry must maintain safe working practices to reduce virus transmission, update workplace policies to maintain social distancing and hygiene standards, invest in training and development, and foster employee loyalty. The industry’s biggest challenge is hiring. Businesses require excellent recruitment processes to hire the best individuals. To stand out from the competition, they must focus on employer branding.

Updating company policies helps protect employee health and safety. This includes maintaining hygiene and social distancing and supplying workers with safety gear. Companies must spend on specialized training and development programs to keep employees up to date. Improved knowledge and skills make employees feel valued, which boosts loyalty and engagement. Finally, organizations must offer competitive wages and benefits to attract and retain excellent talent. This includes competitive compensation, bonuses, incentives and total health and wellness benefits. Businesses should offer flexible work options like working from home to assist people in managing work and life. These initiatives will keep the industry competitive and desirable to talented people.

1.0 current human resource management challenges in the Australian Context in Retail Sector

1.1 Introduction

The Retail Sector holds immense significance in the Australian economy and considerably influences numerous citizens’ lives. The ramifications of its operations are vast, leaving an indelible mark on society as a whole. With a workforce numbering around 1.3 million individuals, this industry is responsible for approximately one-tenth of Australia’s economic input. In the wake of the pandemic, the sector has been heavily affected, with many businesses struggling to remain viable and Oxeyes facing job losses and reduced hours (Maginn & Mortimer, 2020). The present analysis scrutinizes the standing of human capital administration (HCA) within Australia’s retail industry. This report will provide an overview of the Australian Retail sector and the impact of the pandemic on it and then discuss current HRM challenges in the sector. In great detail, the report shall discuss the subjects of acquiring and choosing employees, upholding workplace wellness while ensuring workers’ safety. Continuing to inform you about how employee growth is fostered through training programs as well as ways employee engagement and relations which encompasses a myriad of techniques used by organizations to improve productivity whilst keeping their staff motivated.

And last but not least important, attending also matters about compensation and benefits. This report will also provide some recommendations for managing these challenges. An overview of the industry will be presented alongside current obstacles within HRM and suggestions on how to navigate these impediments in the future. To recognize and comprehend hardship in HRM, establishments within this industry can aspire to secure a prosperous future. This route towards prosperity entails quickly identifying contemporary barriers and manoeuvring through them, resulting in optimal business outcomes.

1.2 Retail Sector

The calculation is done to determine the worth of retail in Australia. The contribution made by this industry can be seen from its labour force which sums up around 1.3 million people who dedicate their time and effort to it, making for a significant fraction that amounts to approximately ten per cent when considering overall economic growth as well. Within this particular category, various commercial enterprises offer customers various goods and services (Jie & Gengatharen, 2019). Among the entities populating this economic sector are conventional brick-and-mortar supermarkets and department stores; newer digital players selling products and solutions via online channels; and specialized retail outlets catering to niche markets also feature prominently in these ranks.

Retail workers provide customer service, stock shelves, and manage the store. It is widely observed that a significant number of employment opportunities in retail may necessitate developing or having an educational attainment equivalent to high school completion (Wang & McCarthy, 2021). However, it must be acknowledged some positions could call for supplementary qualifications. The pandemic has significantly impacted the retail sector. Amidst the restrictions and lockdowns compelling physical shops to shutter, businesses have been confronted by an enormous struggle for survival in conjunction with a burgeoning trend towards online shopping (Wang & McCarthy, 2021). Given the current economic climate, several vendors have grappled with tough decisions: either reduce payroll and operating hours or shutter their enterprise completely.

Furthermore, due to the domain modifications, numerous labourers were compelled to undertake novel positions and tasks. The ongoing global crisis has engendered many difficulties for personnel administration in the merchandising industry. The obstacles comprising this list involve acquiring and choosing personnel, ensuring the preservation of physical well-being in company premises, fostering professional growth for workers while undertaking relevant instruction within their respective domains of expertise, monitoring one’s work performance as a means to assess progress on task objectives and evaluate competency levels; lastly maintaining good interpersonal connections amongst colleagues (Jie & Gengatharen, 2019). For example, recruitment and selection processes are now more difficult due to increased job competition and the need to maintain social distancing protocols.

Furthermore, the global outbreak has further strained extant staff members to embrace supplementary positions and duties. As a result of this burgeoning workload, educating and advancing employees’ knowledge is currently more indispensable than ever before. At long last, the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought fresh trials in employee relations oversight (Azizi et al., 2021). This includes establishing sufficient correspondence among members of staff and administration as a means to address newly arising challenges posed by this pandemic. The pandemic has significantly impacted the retail sector. The ever-evolving milieu has compelled the realm to conform and adjust (Azizi et al., 2021).

1.3 Current human resource management challenges for the Retail Sector in Australia

1.3.1 Workplace Health and Safety.

The Australian Retail sector faces several health and safety challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The most common challenges related to the need to employ safe working practices to reduce the risk of transmission and the need to implement workplace policies to ensure social distancing and hygiene measures are maintained (Nankervis et al., 2019). Among the recurrent obstacles experienced within this industry are vulnerability to virus transmission via contact with clients and other labourers, persistence in preserving a suitable physical distance between individuals, and ensuring employees obtain adequate preparation for the effective utilization of personalized safety gear during critical moments. The potential of spreading the virus is increased due to retail employees frequently interacting with their colleagues and consumers, which poses significant challenges in implementing safety measures. The nature of such interactions can exacerbate the risk further as it becomes challenging for employers to manage safely (Kendrick et al., 2017). Aside from the possibility of contagion, the current global health crisis has posed predicaments of heightened tension and unease for employees resulting from enigmatic circumstances.

Consequently, the augmented prevalence of psychological disorders and weariness engenders negative consequences on employee well-being and enterprise productivity. The most common incidents in the sector include slips, trips, falls, and manual handling injuries due to lifting and carrying heavy items. The injuries frequently observed among individuals include tearing muscles, overstretching of ligaments, and fractures within bones (Jie & Gengatharen, 2019). To tackle these predicaments encompassing health and safety, employers within this field of work must update their established workplace policies and procedures regularly. Additionally, workers should be appropriately trained in handling suitable PPE whilst adhering strictly to prescribed social distancing protocols and stringent hygiene measures. Employers have the onus of regularly scrutinizing their workplace for impending dangers and taking corrective measures to address any plausible threats.

Employers must extend the necessary backing to their workforce to enable them to handle and contend with mental health matters while decreasing anxiety levels. This all-encompassing approach helps minimize hazards, lessening the possibility of unwarranted mishaps or harm befalling employees (Imna et al., 2015). The sphere of commerce confronts an array of safety and well-being obstacles markedly intensified by the ongoing global epidemic. It is of utmost importance for establishments within the industry to establish and maintain comprehensive safety protocols that safeguard their employees and guarantee conformity with statutory requirements. Incorporating unambiguous protocols and systems for controlling hazards, imparting frequent instructional courses to the workforce, and periodic appraisals about welfare and safety are crucial aspects of comprehensive workplace health and safety management (Nankervis et al., 2021).

1.3.2 Talent Attraction and Selection

The Australian Retail sector has been heavily impacted by the pandemic, with many businesses struggling to remain viable and employees facing job losses and reduced hours. Due to the contemporary situation, it has become increasingly strenuous to captivate and uphold skilled personnel. Their sense of stability in occupation and contentment with their vocation have dwindled (Nankervis et al., 2019). Enhancing employee safety and providing lucrative remunerations with added benefits should be a top priority for any organization seeking to elevate the appeal of retail as an industry. Additionally, they should create a positive employer brand and develop recruitment systems that are efficient, effective, and transparent. Furthermore, organizations should promote the positive aspects of the industry and highlight the available career opportunities (Moore et al., 2017). Adopting a pliable working system is one approach to enhance the work atmosphere and eliminate travel-related expenses. This includes facilitating employees’ ability to operate from their abodes or implementing hybrid models that permit operations at home and in-office environments, providing an attractive option for workers. Institutions must concentrate on crafting personalized employee educational and developmental initiatives that cater to their unique requirements while arming them with the necessary resources and aptitudes vital for victory.

The retail industry could guarantee the maintenance of its competitive edge while simultaneously fostering job satisfaction, engagement, and overall performance by supplying employees with the necessary skills and knowledge. Moreover, firms must address the pay gap issues to boost job satisfaction and recruit talented people. This can be accomplished by examining salary and perks to remain competitive and recruit competent workers. Additionally, employers should ensure their work atmosphere is safe and supportive so employees can feel secure. Moreover, firms should build a positive employer brand, so potential employees can perceive the organization well before applying.

Furthermore, companies must utilize social media platforms and various internet promotional strategies to broaden their reach and advance their trademark amongst wider audiences (Nankervis et al., 2019). Moreover, entities must prioritize the optimization of their staffing mechanisms to be productive, operational, and lucid. This will make it simple for prospective employees to access job information and submit applications. In the end, businesses must place a high priority on providing employees with the tools and skills they need to succeed. This can be done by giving personalized training and development programs tailored to their needs (Birch & Preston, 2020).

1.3.3 Training and Development

To remain competitive, businesses must invest in training and development. HRM entails assisting employees to acquire the information, abilities, and skills necessary to perform their tasks. Training and development increase productivity by keeping workers abreast of new developments in fashion and technology (Nankervis et al., 2021)—the business gains from this. Due to the intense competition and constant change in the Australian retail sector, businesses nowadays must make significant investments in the training and development of their employees. Due to the epidemic, Australia’s retail sector is suffering. These include hiring, revising company regulations and procedures, and maintaining workplace health and safety. The Australian retail sector’s most significant problem is equipping employees with the abilities and knowledge required for success. Education and career development are helpful (Birch & Preston, 2020). Training and development can assist Australian retail businesses in overcoming these challenges by equipping people with the knowledge, abilities, and talents necessary to perform their jobs.

Training and development in Australia’s retail sector can encompass various disciplines. This includes traditional classroom learning and online and off-campus options, including seminars and workshops. To accomplish their roles, employees in Australian retail enterprises require on-the-job training. During an employee’s on-the-job training, they may observe, shadow, and learn from a more seasoned employee (Talukder et al., 2018). Online courses are becoming increasingly popular in Australia for the training and development of retail personnel due to the flexibility they provide students (Wang & McCarthy, 2021). Seminars and workshops provide opportunities for employees to meet new people and gain insight from industry leaders. You can get first-rate instruction and growth opportunities here. Training and development for both individuals and organizations should be personalized. This implies that each organization should build a training and development program specific to its requirements and objectives. One business might prioritize customer service, while another might prioritize technical development (Nankervis et al., 2021). When planning training and development, the organization should consider each employee’s learning preferences and requirements.

1.3.4 Employee Relations and Engagement

Australian retail HR management requires employee relations and engagement. Because employers must make employees feel valued, respected, and supported to maintain a productive and positive workplace, employee relations and engagement must be handled. Australian retailers need help with employee relations and engagement. Due to retail industry changes, many companies need help building employee loyalty and engagement (Moore et al., 2017). Low salaries, employment insecurity, and unpredictable hours worsen this. Due to the necessity to perform swiftly and efficiently, employees are often stressed and pressured. Many employees feel detached from their employers due to job dissatisfaction and engagement.

Employers must show employees they care. Employee engagement efforts can achieve this, including competitive compensation, flexible hours, and perks. Employers can also foster a culture of acknowledgement and gratitude where workers feel valued. Reward and recognition programs and management feedback can do this. Employers must also enable workers to make decisions and contribute to business success. Encourage employees to take the initiative and share their thoughts. Employees should also feel safe voicing their ideas and concerns (Imna et al., 2015). Regular meetings and informal gatherings can achieve this. Finally, employers must support and respect employees. This can be done through providing staff with training, growth, and support. Employers should also foster trust and respect between management and staff. This can be accomplished through open communication, transparency, and ongoing feedback.

1.3.5 Compensation and Benefits

Recent trends have increased the importance of compensation and benefits packages for Australia’s retail sector. Firms must provide their employees with a wage and benefits package that can compete with the market to stay competitive. Wages and benefits in the industry ought to reflect workers’ skills and experience (Jingnan et al., 2021). Therefore, it is incumbent upon businesses to provide incentives and pay for their employees. Workers have a right to be paid for their time and effort through their employers’ wages, salaries, bonuses, stock options, and pension plans. Employers must pay their workers commensurate with their abilities and experience (Imna et al., 2015). However, benefits are not monetary payments for work performed. Health insurance and retirement plans are standard perks. Non-monetary incentives may include work-life balance programs, paid leave, health insurance, and paid vacation (Talukder et al., 2018). A secure work environment is essential to attracting and retaining top personnel, and benefits play a vital role.

Businesses in the retail sector have a responsibility to treat their employees fairly and to comply with any laws. The benefits must be fair and in line with the Fair Work Act and other laws. It is essential for businesses to regularly evaluate their compensation and benefits packages to ensure they remain competitive and in line with applicable regulations. If businesses want to recruit and keep talented employees, they must offer remuneration packages that can compete in the market (Birch & Preston, 2020). Many stores in Australia’s retail industry have closed down due to the COVID-19 epidemic, and many of its staff have either lost their jobs or seen their hours reduced. Competitive pay and benefits are essential for local firms to attract and retain skilled workers. Wage and benefit packages can help businesses stay competitive and provide workers stability and reliability. Salary and benefit structures for retail establishments should be reviewed frequently to ensure they are competitive (Kendrick et al., 2017). The company should make adjustments to keep salaries and benefits competitive. Pay and benefit standards vary by sector, and businesses must comply with all applicable laws.

1.4 Recommendations and Conclusion

To survive, the Australian retail sector must overcome various challenges. To succeed, businesses must prioritize training and development, employee relations and engagement, and salary and benefits. As should specialized training and development, competitive pay, flexible hours, and incentives can increase employee relations and engagement. Firms should offer health insurance and pension plans and frequently assess their compensation and benefits packages to be competitive.

Businesses must anticipate challenges in managing human resources in the future. Employers should create an appealing employer brand and effective, transparent recruitment methods. Employers should periodically update their health and safety policies and procedures, train staff in PPE use, and review their workplaces for dangers (Jingnan et al., 2021). Employers should also provide tailored training and development programs and help employees make decisions and succeed. Finally, companies should offer fair, legal wages and benefits.

In conclusion, the pandemic has created HRM issues for Australian retailers. Business success depends on training and development, employee interactions and engagement, and remuneration and perks. Employers should create an attractive employer brand, efficient recruitment systems, updated policies and procedures, adequate training, investment in employees, and competitive compensation and benefits packages to manage human resources in the future. These steps can help retailers train their staff for success.

2.0 References

Azizi, M. R., Atlasi, R., Ziapour, A., Abbas, J., & Naemi, R. (2021). Innovative human resource management strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic narrative review approach. Heliyon7(6), e07233.

Birch, E., & Preston, A. (2020). The Australian labour market in 2019. Journal of Industrial Relations62(3), 341-364.

Imna, M., & Hassan, Z. (2015). INFLUENCE OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES ON EMPLOYEE RETENTION IN MALDIVES RETAIL INDUSTRY. International Journal of Accounting and Business Management4(2), 50–80.

Jie, F., & Gengatharen, D. (2019). Australian food retail supply chain analysis. Business Process Management Journal25(2), 271-287.

Jingnan, J., Teo, P. C., Ho, T. C., Choo, L. S., & Kelana, B. W. Y. (2021, December). Action research on turnover intention of staff in an Australian milk powder company. In 2021 international conference on decision aid sciences and application (DASA) (pp. 553-556). IEEE.

Kendrick, M., Bartram, T., Cavanagh, J., & Burgess, J. (2017). Role of strategic human resource management in crisis management in Australian greenfield hospital sites: a crisis management theory perspective. Australian Health Review.

Maginn, P., & Mortimer, G. (2020). How COVID all but killed the Australian CBD. The Conversation.

Moore, K. N., McDonald, P., & Bartlett, J. (2017). The social legitimacy of disability inclusive human resource practices: the case of a large retail organization. Human Resource Management Journal27(4), 514–529.

Nankervis, A., Baird, M., Coffey, J., & Shields, J. (2019). Human resource management. Cengage AU.

Nankervis, A., Connell, J., Montague, A., & Burgess, J. (Eds.). (2021). The Fourth Industrial Revolution: What Does it Mean for Australian Industry? Springer Nature.

Talukder, A., Vickers, M. H., & Khan, A. M. (2018). Supervisor support and work-life balance. Personnel Review47(3), 727–744.

Wang, P., & McCarthy, B. (2021). What do people “like” on Facebook? Content marketing strategies used by retail bank brands in Australia and Singapore. Australasian Marketing Journal29(2), 155-176.


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