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Using AI to Help Recruiters and HR Teams in Retail

According to Korn Ferry, the Retail industry had a 75.8% turnover rate for hourly in-store positions in 2022, up from 68% in the previous year. 57% of Retail leaders state that labor shortages are their biggest challenge in the coming year. The industry faces some of the most pressing talent challenges – and should consider how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation can assist.

AI has many applications across the entire talent lifecycle – from attracting the right candidates, to keeping employees engaged throughout their tenure with the company – that HR teams in Retail could certainly benefit from.

Using AI to attract the right talent

In the Retail sector, leveraging AI can be a game-changer when it comes to attracting and converting qualified talent. AI algorithms can recommend relevant roles to candidates based on their skills, preferences, and goals, simplifying the candidate experience and highlighting (internal and external) opportunities that align with each individual’s profile.

Retail organizations can use AI to:

Build individualized journeys for candidates

In the Retail industry, as in every industry, candidates now expect a seamless and personalized experience, similar to what they get from platforms like Amazon Prime or Hulu. They want recommendations based on what they have viewed in the past, and what they might like.

To meet these new expectations, TA teams in the Retail industry can utilize AI job matching to generate personalized role recommendations for each candidate that are aligned with their current skills, adjacent skills, capabilities, career goals and preferences. By incorporating AI into your Careers Site experience, Retail organizations can offer unique talent journeys that will resonate with candidates.

Additionally, AI-powered Preference Centers allow candidates to control how they prefer to be reached, while also ensuring proper handling of candidate data.

Identify better candidates for your organization

Using AI to identify and assess potential candidates based on their skills could be highly valuable in a high churn industry like Retail. By automating some of the manual parts of the process, AI enables businesses to pinpoint individuals who are the ‘best fit’ for specific job opportunities. This becomes especially helpful when there’s a surge in the number of job roles or candidates, or when Hiring Managers need to make quick but still well-informed hiring decisions.

One significant benefit of using AI in Retail recruitment is its ability to match job roles with candidates and their skills, against the criteria set by TA and Hiring Managers. This streamlined approach empowers TA teams to focus on the highest quality candidates first, which saves valuable time. Additionally, AI is able to offer decision makers with valuable contextual insights, considering factors such as seniority, industry background, and skills proficiency levels, to make hiring decisions even easier.

Moreover, AI can analyze patterns among top-performing employees to identify relevant contacts for Sourcers, Recruiters, and Hiring Managers, who have similar qualities as high-performers in your organization.

Hit diversity targets

According to our latest research study of business leaders, Navigating The Changing Talent Landscape, 25% of respondents in Retail said that diversity and inclusion is one of the biggest challenges their organization will face in the coming year. So how can HR and Talent leaders in Retail meet their diversity targets?

AI can revolutionize your talent discovery process by uncovering potential candidates that might have been overlooked by traditional, manual methods. Through sophisticated algorithms, AI can identify the specific skills required for positions throughout the Retail workforce, and predict the potential skills a person could develop in the future, based on the skills they already have. In fact, a recent Pew Research Study found that 47% of respondents agree that AI would do better than humans at evaluating all job applicants in the same way.

As a result, AI can match individuals to open roles who may not have been on your radar otherwise. It’s crucial that these AI-driven recommendations are transparent and easily explained, allowing you to understand not just the suitability of the candidates but also the reasoning behind the suggestions. This way, recruiters can effectively communicate the recommendations and decisions to the candidates involved.

Prioritize the most difficult roles to fill

In the Retail industry, there are several reasons why roles may be difficult to fill – skills shortages, increased starting wages at other competing retailers, not having the option to work from home for front-line store associates – the list goes on.

AI proves valuable by analyzing various roles to identify which are the most challenging to fill. This involves examining the scarcity of potential candidates with the required skills in the Talent CRM, and estimating the time it may take to fill these positions. This enables recruiters in Retail to promptly address the more demanding vacancies, ensuring a swift and targeted approach to talent acquisition.

Reduce bias in recruiting

Promoting fairness, equity and transparency in the recruitment process involves evaluating candidates based on their skills (and potential), rather than relying on other traits that may hold bias.

By utilizing AI algorithms that are trained with the right data, you can uncover ideal candidates from both the organization’s internal talent pool and the broader talent market – individuals who possess the skills needed for a particular role, but might have been eliminated as a candidate otherwise.

Properly implemented, explainable AI can reduce human bias by making recommendations based on those objective factors, and showing why one candidate was considered ‘above’ another for a particular role.

Decrease your time to hire

For Retail organizations, quickly identifying candidates becomes simple with AI. The right AI-driven tools have the ability to suggest potential candidates or uncover past candidates (e.g. silver medalists) that might not have been right for a role in the past, but could be now. By utilizing AI, the hiring process becomes much more efficient – saving recruiters time and retailers money.

Unlock new efficiencies

With the implementation of AI-powered technology, TA teams in the Retail industry are able to expedite the hiring process, resulting in time and cost savings. Busy Retail recruiters can quickly obtain accurate search results from their talent CRM, ensuring they are not wasting valuable time by ignoring profiles that don’t match the skills needed for a particular role. As Retail businesses work to become more resilient, any approaches that enhance the quality of new hires while reducing the time-to-hire are critical.

AI plays a crucial role in automating tasks that take up valuable time when done manually. By entrusting these necessary but lower priority tasks to AI, Retail employees and HR teams can redirect their time and efforts towards more strategic endeavors that require a human touch.

AI’s capabilities don’t stop once a hire is made; it continues to operate behind the scenes, streamlining workflows across your talent management processes. This includes tasks like adding relevant individuals to talent pools, nurturing your Talent Community, and ensuring your data is up-to-date. Companies in the Retail sector can benefit immensely from these AI-driven advancements, optimizing talent management processes and fostering a greater competitive edge in the market.

AI for Talent Retention

According to our study of business leaders, Navigating the Changing Talent Landscape, 75% of respondents in the Retail industry believed that their employees would find it easier to get a new job outside of their organization, rather than inside. This needs to change, and talent mobility initiatives can help. This can help re-engage employees who have become disengaged, boost retention, and help HR teams fill roles faster – while promoting a culture of learning, development and recognition. The process doesn’t have to be manual and arduous: AI can make the process both efficient and effective.

Organizations in the Retail industry can use AI to:

Generate personalized career paths for employees

AI can help Retail employees by allowing them to view ‘maps’ of potential career paths. In an industry that sees high turnover, such as Retail, this is a way to let employees know that they have career advancement options no matter what role they are currently in.

Showing employees a realm of possibilities for development, lateral moves and promotions, is an extremely effective way of keeping talent engaged in their work. For example, if a Retail employee has become disengaged in their work and may be thinking about leaving the company, they may change their mind if they are given the opportunity to make a lateral move to a different department or team within the organization.

This might be enough to convince them to stay, and even remotivate and inspire them to pursue their career goals within their current organization. And AI models can even help people understand what skills they need to develop (and how to do so) to be best prepared for the ‘next step’ in their career.

Match internal candidates to opportunities

Similarly, AI has the ability to look at your employee skills data and help managers identify and connect internal talent with the right skills to fill open roles. AI can also help Managers or business leaders identify employees who have the potential to upskill to meet a future business need.

These smart recommendations should be based on skills and capabilities first and foremost, but they should also consider candidates’ aspirations and preferences. This type of strategy allows organizations to proactively meet the changing needs of the business through learning and development. AI can also help HR and Talent leaders in Retail calculate the likelihood of people making a move to a new role. This allows managers to identify employees who may be ready for a new role, and can match them up to opportunities accordingly.

Understand your workforce

Our latest Talent Index research revealed that 48% of Retail workers are either already looking for a new job, plan to look for one later in the year, or have already secured a new role. Attrition is something that HR and Talent leaders in the Retail industry must be prepared for, along with the many other talent challenges they face, such as skills gaps and shortages, and ever-changing talent expectations.

AI can be used proactively in the Retail industry, to flag when someone may be at risk of leaving the company for a new role elsewhere. Insights that show who your biggest potential flight risks are can be incredibly valuable in designing personalized retention strategies to re-engage these employees.

The AI used in Beamery can help HR and Talent leaders in the Retail industry identify high-quality talent faster, reduce bias by generating explainable suggestions, and enable retention and engagement strategies such as internal mobility programs.

Our models are meant to enhance what humans in the HR and Talent functions are able to do, not replace them. AI should empower Retail leaders by giving the most relevant information to make better talent decisions, faster.

To learn more about how the Retail industry can benefit from using AI in HR, download our report, Meeting New Talent Challenges in Retail.