Retail leaders are facing rapidly evolving recruitment and retention challenges, coupled with lower wages and challenges connecting employees across numerous locations. Recent reports point to a collective turnover of £1.5 trillion, which dramatically increases for companies with over 500 employees. 

With retailers already struggling to recruit talent in a limited pool, this has been exacerbated by the recent cost of living crisis, where four in 10 UK employees surveyed say their biggest worry is money, and are looking to their employers for more support, particularly when it comes to their financial health. 

With the right tools to attract, engage and retain retail employees, companies have the opportunity to stand out as an employer of choice by adapting their Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to fit the needs of today’s workforce.

A great EVP showcases what differentiates your company from the next to give you the ability to secure great talent, no matter what the market is.

We’ve brought together a few examples of retailers that we’ve helped to inspire you to find new ways to boost your attraction and retention strategies to support employees during difficult financial times. 

Enhancing EVP to attract and retain employees

welcome break logo

Welcome Break is a fast-growing motorway service operator, with a diverse workforce of 5,500 employees from more than 75 countries. Following the EU referendum and Brexit, many new employees were leaving to return to their home country, which greatly reduced the applicant pool. The company needed to find new ways to attract and retain its workforce by creating a unique range of benefits that would appeal to employees and stretch their disposable income.

Welcome Break platform mockup

The organisation made an effort to reinvent its Attraction and Retention plan by conducting focus groups called ‘Fishbowl’ meetings, in which 300 employees were surveyed to see what attracted them to the organisation and what would make them stay.

The company rebranded its employee engagement platform, 'My Welcome Break,' to emphasise that the platform was intended to make employees' lives easier through additional benefits. Some of the updates to the platform included the addition of Cycle to Work, new benefits on discounted car leasing, an Employee Assistance Programme, a greater focus on mental and physical wellbeing through a Wellbeing Centre and improvements to the existing employee discounts programme.

Since the rebrand, spending on the discounts platform has increased by 36%, and 81 employees have purchased bikes through the scheme. The company has seen a massive 17% reduction in turnover and a £135k decrease in spending on recruitment agencies.

Learn more about how our solutions help attract, engage and retain retail  employees Book Demo

Increasing communications engagement

dunelm logoDunelm is a leading home furnishing retailer with 10,500 staff across 169 superstores, head offices, call centres and warehouses. Communication has always been a top priority for Dunelm that was only heightened by the pandemic, but the organisation was struggling to find the perfect way to connect every member of its dispersed workforce.

Many of the shop floor and warehouse staff didn’t have an email address and rarely used a computer as part of their day-to-day role, but the extra focus Dunelm has placed on employee communications and content has yielded fantastic results. 

Dunelm already had existing engagement tools with Reward Gateway but there was no central hub for employees to securely log into and get the information they needed within a few clicks so, they decided to build more initiatives into the platform – internally known as 'Home Comforts' – including a company-wide news feed that was used to communicate vital information, a Wellbeing Centre, employee discounts, peer-to-peer recognition through eCards and employee surveys.

home comforts mockup

Communications engagement increased by 600%, driven by their commitment to posting regular company updates, wellbeing content and videos from senior management. On average, each employee logs into Home Comforts 169 times per year, which works out roughly to once every two or three days. The company’s eCard system has also been rapidly gaining popularity with over 8,600 eCards sent during the past 12 months alone. 

Ben Waterfield, Internal Communications Manager at Dunelm says,

I just wanted to say that having Home Comforts has been absolutely critical during this. Following the lockdown news, it was great to get out such an important message from our CEO in one go to reach all our employees.

Evolving a reward and recognition strategy

sofology logo

Sofology is a leading sofa retailer in the UK and employs more than 1,200 colleagues across its 47 locations, and primary HQ in Golborne, Warrington. The company first reached out to Reward Gateway back in 2013 with a mission to deliver a colleague benefits platform that’s easy to access, simple to scale and engaging for everyone to use.

Its workforce is spread across multiple sites and departments, which had traditionally made it tough to connect and secure buy-in from different demographics with different levels of digital competency. Since many colleagues don’t use a computer as part of their day-to-day role, the platform had to be slick and simple enough for all colleagues to use on their mobile and home devices.

Sofology platform mockup

Sofology started by launching a bespoke selection of discounts and benefits that would meet the wide-ranging needs of its workforce, and later added Cycle to Work support physical and mental wellbeing across the business. The platform has continued to evolve over the last nine years, and the company has continued to add and test new benefits like SmartTech™ to further support employees’ financial wellbeing.

Today, more than 70% of employees are active users on the platform, which is even more impressive when you consider that the majority of employees don’t use a computer at work. Sofology colleagues have spent more than £450k through the platform, and on top of that £144k has been spent through SmartTech™ alone. Overall, employees have saved a total of £30.9k by using the Reward Gateway platform.


Since 2006, Reward Gateway has partnered with leading retailers around the world to help them bring the best of the best to their people and build an unbeatable EVP.

Still looking for more ways to get started? We've pulled together a resource hub, full of tips that will help you enhance your EVP and support your employees both now and in the future. 

Visit our resource hub

Becs Thomas

As the Head of UK Client Success, Becs is responsible for the strategic oversight of the growth and happiness of our clients. She brings her passion to RG's Client Success world through her 5+ years of experience in Client Success. She is a proud cat mum to two tabby cats, Beryl and Mabel, and enjoys spending time on her latest hobby - gardening!

Head of UK Client Success

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