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How Effective Retail Leaders Prevent Burnout and Keep Great Talent

This month, we caught up with Mike Van Lente, Executive Leader of Global Learning & Development at Whole Foods Market, and Joe Jeffries, CEO at Westlake Ace, to explore the risks of burnout, what can be done to prevent it, and how leaders can prevent burnout with their direct reports and front-line staff.

With the holiday season swinging into high gear, a number of variables are at play this year, from inflation to staffing issues to shifting consumer demands. Many retailers are scrambling to rebalance inventory levels and adjust their projections to align with changing shopping habits. As one new study shows, rising costs are affecting holiday shopping decisions, with 73% of Americans saying they’re paying closer attention to how much they’re spending on gifts this year versus last year.

Despite this, consumers remain eager to shop — and the brick-and-mortar store remains a draw. Recent research reinforces just how important the in-store experience is: After a positive experience, 82% of shoppers return and 64% spend more each time they visit.

All of this means that it’s crunch time for retailers. Of course, ask any retail leader and they’ll tell you it’s been crunch time for more than two years running now. Looking back over this incredibly challenging period, it’s heartening to see how they have stepped up to the challenge. They’ve implemented new business practices, learning and perfecting on the fly as external conditions have continued to throw new curve balls their way. They’ve juggled staffing gaps and supply chain disruptions to keep customers happy and loyal under uniquely difficult circumstances.

Now, they’re facing yet another critically important task: keeping their team members engaged — and keeping everyone from burning out.

Last month we talked about hiring and selection strategies for the busy months ahead, but that’s only the beginning of the story. We also need to make sure leaders are prepared to retain their new team members and take care of those who are tenured and have been loyal to the company through all of the recent ups and downs. And your leaders can’t do that effectively if they’re feeling burned out themselves.

Mike Van Lente, Executive Leader of Global Learning & Development at Whole Foods Market, and Joe Jeffries, CEO at Westlake Ace, recently shared with us some of what they’re doing to prevent burnout and build community. Read on to find out what they had to say and pick up some practical strategies you can apply to not only keep talent, but keep people fully engaged and healthy.

Mary Beth Garcia, CEO

P.S. Learn more about our full suite of retail-ready learning and development solutions.

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