Kronos Incorporated today announced the results of a survey commissioned by Kronos and conducted online by Harris Poll that provides retailers with insight into how they can reduce turnover during the busy holiday season. The survey also looks at how retail employees (retail store managers and associates) feel about working during the holiday season and what items they would put on their personal “work wish lists”.

The “Retail Employees’ Holiday Wish List” survey was conducted Oct. 17-28, 2016. The research was conducted online among 505 U.S. adults aged 16+ who are employed full- or part-time in the retail industry as an in-store manager or associate at a company with 25+ employees (“retail employees”). The survey results demonstrate that retail employees don’t mind working extra-long hours but they wish to choose their own schedules and receive a higher pay rate for overtime hours worked. Given this, more than half (53 percent) are still worried about getting burned out during the holiday season. And when it comes to giving holidays off, thanksgiving is the number one holiday that retail employees want off, and more than half (53 percent) state that they would prefer to have thanksgiving day off without pay and 47 percent note that they would work that day with overtime pay.

Taking the Bah Humbug Out of Holiday Work

  • Busy employers will be glad to know that, much like Santa’s elves, 75 percent of retail employees don’t mind working extra hours during the holiday season.
  • Unfortunately, the news isn’t all good: many retail employees are still haunted by the ghost of holidays past; 40 percent say that their employer did not have enough staff in previous years to account for the amount of shoppers they receive at their store. And 53 percent are worried about getting burned out during the holiday season.
  • So, how can employers make things merrier for employees around the holidays? A few strategies that retail employees indicate would make working during the holiday season easier for them are:
    • Letting employees choose their own schedules (57 percent);
    • Enabling employees to take time off around the holidays (51 percent);
    • Providing a more stable schedule (44 percent); and
    • Giving employees access to their schedule via mobile device (22 percent).
  • Retail employees say employers can prevent them from leaving during the holiday season by:
    • Paying a higher rate for overtime hours worked during the holiday season (65 percent);
    • Providing an extra “paid holiday” during the holiday season (60 percent);
    • Enabling more work-life balance with employee schedules (57 percent);
    • Hiring more staff (55 percent); and
    • Allowing employees to switch their days with others (47 percent).

    Taking Time to Celebrate the Season

    • The overwhelming majority of retail employees (98 percent) say that they are expected to work at least one of the following days during the holiday season: Black Friday (93 percent); Labor Day (80 percent); New Year’s Eve (80 percent); New Year’s Day (66 percent); Thanksgiving (54 percent); and/or Christmas (20 percent).
    • While 75 percent of retail employees say that they are sure they’ll have to work at a time when they don’t want to this holiday season, the majority say that it is absolutely essential or very important that they have Thanksgiving (67 percent) or Christmas Eve (59 percent) off.
    • In fact, many retail employees say having to work on Thanksgiving (38 percent) or Christmas Eve (30 percent) would make them leave their employer. And 53 percent of retail employees say that they would choose having Thanksgiving off without pay over working on that day for overtime pay.

    Brightening the Mood on Black Friday

    • More than half of all retail employees (51 percent) report that they would rather do something other than work on Black Friday, including organizing the stockroom after a large shipment (31 percent); working seven days in a row (21 percent); working double shifts for a week (16 percent); listening to a customer complain for an hour (12 percent); or cleaning the bathroom at work for a month (10 percent).
    • Still, many retail employees report that having to work on Black Friday would be more bearable for them if they received additional pay for working that day (61 percent); received another “paid holiday” during the season (35 percent); worked shorter hours that day (33 percent); and/or had the ability to take more breaks throughout the day (28 percent).

    All Retail Employees Want for the Holidays Is…

    • When it comes to their own personal wish lists for work this holiday season, retail employees put getting a bonus (68 percent); not having to work seven days in a row (40 percent); and having the ability to create their own work schedules (39 percent) at the top of their lists. Weekends off (34 percent); being able to take a vacation during the holiday season (32 percent); and having the ability to switch a day off (27 percent) rounded out the lists.

    Supporting Quotes

    • Charlie DeWitt, vice president, business development, Kronos
      “There is value for retailers in hearing directly from their employees about what factors contribute to their engagement during the all-important and often stressful holiday season. This survey reveals that by giving employees more input into their schedules, making schedules available via mobile devices; and providing them with time off to spend with their families during the holidays, retailers can improve the work lives of their employees and retain them for future seasons. Progressive retailers such as our long standing customer Costco are doing just this.”
    • Paul Latham, senior vice president, membership, marketing, and services, Costco Wholesale
      “Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season and we believe that they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Nothing more complicated than that.”

    Supporting Resources

    Survey Methodology

    This survey was conducted online in the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of Kronos between Oct. 17-28, 2016. The research was conducted online among 505 U.S. adults aged 16+ who are employed full- or part-time in the retail industry as an in-store manager or associate at a company with 25+ employees (“retail employees”). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, household income, marital status, employment, and job title were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. For complete survey methodology, please contact Indrani Ray-Ghosal.

    About Kronos Incorporated

    Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations — including half of the Fortune 1000® — and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Visit Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works™.

    About Harris Poll

    Over the last five decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers’ motivations and behaviors, The Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. The Harris Poll offers a diverse portfolio of proprietary client solutions to transform relevant insights into actionable foresight for a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer packaged goods. Contact us for more information.


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