Retail Employee Onboarding Checklist for 2024

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Retail Employee Onboarding Checklist for 2024
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While the ongoing 'Great Resignation' has contributed to increased employee churn across all industries, the retail industry has long struggled to retain employees.As reported by BLS, the average retail employee turnover rate in the US has reached 60%. The reasons behind this alarming rate could be the poor retail onboarding process and unmet expectations.

Another report by Forbes states that approximately 20% of employees quit within the first 45 days of employment. So here is the question? How can retailers put a halt to this? I believe that in order to tackle this high turnover rate, an effective employee onboarding plan is a must-have for the retail industry. 

In this blog, we will discuss a retail employee onboarding checklist and how to guarantee that it is tailored to their requirements, allowing you to increase retention and enhance time-to-productivity among your frontline workforces. 

Before delving into the topic, let's first gain a deeper understanding of the retail onboarding process.

What is the Employee Onboarding Process?

Employee onboarding is commonly thought to be a procedure for new hires only orienting them to their job tasks, familiarizing work culture, and completing a lot of manual paperwork. When you recruit new employees, you should do employee onboarding to assist them in learning their new job. 

On the other hand, your new employees may need to provide appropriate onboarding experience to understand and perform their obligations. You may find that you are losing employees faster than you are hiring them.

Most organizations consider the employee onboarding process time-consuming. But in reality, a new hire onboarding plan indicates whether an employee is being offered a career instead of just a job. Having a well-crafted employee onboarding plan means you're devoted to demonstrating to your new hires, both old and new, that you care about their careers by creating a personalized and ongoing onboarding path for each of them. 

New hires who undergo a structured onboarding program are 58% more likely to be with the company after three years (Source: Deloitte). 

Retail onboarding process |

Why is the Retail Employee Onboarding Process So Important?

Recently I was talking with a client who runs a retail business. According to him, most retail employees no longer prefer a hectic work schedule or a typical 9 to 5 job. They are not ready to accept the wages and working conditions they accepted before the pandemic. All these changes continue to cause significant disruptions, leading to increased employee stress, a drop in employee productivity, performance, burnout and the ROI of the retail industry. This calls for the need of an effective retail employee onboarding process. 

Onboarding is a critical stage in the retail employment process. The retail onboarding process is all about introducing new employees to the company, its culture, policies, procedures, and systems. This process typically includes a combination of training, orientation, and paperwork. 

The goal of the retail onboarding process is to help new employees feel comfortable and confident in their new role, and to ensure they have the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in their job. Failure to engage new hires from day one is a major contributor to employee turnover in the retail industry.

Present Scenario

- A recent Mckinsey report states that employee attrition in the retail sector is not surprising. The report says that the yearly employee turnover rate among frontline retail employees has always been at least 60%. 

- A separate report by Edume states that employee turnover in the retail industry costs approximately $19 billion in recruiting, hiring, and training expenditures, with an estimated £3,328 spent to replace employees earning $10 per hour.

- Every year, retailers have difficulty replacing more than half of their employees. But, in the face of record inflation and a lingering global pandemic, half of the frontline retail staff are considering leaving their positions in the next few months.

- High employee turnover rates among retail employees are also expensive in terms of performance, resulting in lost productivity and stifling business growth. Thus, it is important for retail business owners to focus on providing a better employee engagement and experience- right from onboarding the new hire till his offboarding.

A robust retail onboarding process has many benefits, from increased retention to improved new-hire productivity, especially considering the fact that the retail industry has the highest employee turnover rates.

I hope now you have a better idea about the relevance of having a better and more effective retail employee onboarding process. Now let’s check out some of the benefits of having a robust retail onboarding process.

Benefits of Positive Retail Onboarding Process

As I said earlier, a successful and personalized onboarding experience can bring huge benefits not just to employees but also for the organization. When you provide an exceptional employee onboarding experience, it allows employees to think that they have "an outstanding job and a positive workplace". And this can bring huge benefits to your organizations, not limited to: 

benefits of positive retail onboarding process |
  • Reduce retail employee turnover

    One of the key benefits of a positive and well-defined retail employee onboarding process is that it helps organizations to reduce turnover rates. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), new hires who go through an effective onboarding process are 69% more likely to remain with a company for up to three years. This is because an effective onboarding process helps employees to feel valued and supported, which in turn increases their satisfaction and engagement with the company.

  • Enhance retail employee productivity

    Another benefit of retail employee onboarding is that it can help to improve productivity. High attrition rates among retail employees are also expensive regarding their day-to-day performance and productivity. A study by the HRCI Learning Center found that companies with a standard onboarding process see a 50% increase in productivity from new hires. This is because an effective retail onboarding process ensures that new hires have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their job, which enables them to be more productive from the start.

    When employees get a positive onboarding experience, they get a first impression that their employer cares for them. As a result, they will feel more confident in their role and responsibilities, leading to a more productive workforce.

  • Boost employee engagement

    A report by Forbes, a retail employee onboarding process that incorporates team-building activities and company culture can lead to increased employee engagement, which can result in higher job satisfaction and improved morale.

    A positive and well-designed employee onboarding process in the retail sector helps to increase retail employee engagement by setting clear expectations, building positive relationships, providing support, making employees feel valued, and enhancing their confidence and competence in their roles. This leads to a more positive and supportive workplace culture, increased employee retention, and improved performance.

  • Reduce training cost of retail employees

    An effective retail employee onboarding process can help reduce the cost of training new retail employees. In research conducted by Deloitte, streamlining the onboarding process and providing new employees with the tools and resources they need, companies can reduce their overall training costs and improve their bottom line.

    By incorporating strategies such as eLearning, self-paced learning, gamification, mentorship, and reusing training materials, the time and resources needed for training can be reduced, resulting in cost savings for the company.

  • Faster time to proficiency

    A robust retail employee onboarding process can contribute to the proficiency of new hires in their role. Harvard Business Review report states that an effective onboarding process can help new employees quickly understand their roles, responsibilities, and expectations, leading to a faster ramp-up time and improved performance.

    When you provide a well-planned onboarding process it will help new hires gain a thorough understanding of the company's policies, procedures, and processes, as well as the skills and knowledge they need to perform their job effectively. This includes providing new hires with the tools and resources they need, as well as ongoing training and support.

Retail Employee Onboarding Checklist To Watch Out For In 2024

retail onboarding checklist |

Managing human resources is a challenge for many retailers. Nonetheless, many retail organizations fail to create a systematic onboarding procedure. The retail employee onboarding process may appear overwhelming in an industry plagued by high churn. Having no proper retail onboarding makes the retail workforce even more susceptible to attrition since most of them are part-timers, seasonal employees, and those who take up retail jobs only until they can find a "real" job. They start looking for other jobs immediately (and plenty of them are available!)

Still, there are methods to reinforce your existing processes and guarantee that each step is tailored for your retail employees. Considering high turnover and a growing dependence on temporary and part-time employees, developing a set of retail onboarding checklists for a more effective hiring process is critical.

Let's look at the retail employee onboarding checklist. 

1. Enhance the Preboarding Experience

Retail businesses often overlook the significance of the preboarding phase in retaining employees. Candidates tend to be highly enthusiastic during the interview process, but in the retail industry where job openings are abundant, this excitement can dissipate quickly.

The preboarding stage is essential to maintaining this enthusiasm:

  • Offer letter and job description
    Provide the new hire with a written offer letter that includes a detailed job description and any relevant information about the company and the role.
  • Background check
    Complete a background check to verify the new hire's information and ensure their suitability for the role.
  • Employee forms and paperwork
    Obtain all necessary employee forms, including a W-4, I-9, and any other required forms, and ensure that they are completed and returned.
First Day Schedule
  • Personalized welcome email
    Send a personalized welcome email or a text message to new hires, encouraging them to reach out with any questions.
  • Employee profile completion
    Ask newly hired retail employees to complete their profile, providing a sense of belonging before they even start.
  • Welcome and orientation
    Provide a warm welcome to the new hire and conduct an orientation that covers the company's policies, procedures, and culture. Detail the new hire's first day schedule, creating excitement and helping them prepare for their debut.
  • Team information
    Introduce the new hire to their team members and colleagues and provide opportunities for them to get to know one another. This will help them feel connected.
  • Workspace setup
    Ensure that the new hire's workspace is set up with the necessary equipment, supplies, and materials.
  • Administrative paperwork
    Have new hires complete all necessary administrative paperwork to ensure a smooth onboarding process.
  • Employee handbook
    Provide new staff with an employee handbook detailing company policies and procedures.
  • Benefits and policies
    Share information about pay, time-off requests, holidays, benefits, etc., to familiarize new employees with their workplace.

2. Make the First Day Unforgettable

Your new employee is likely taking extra steps to make a positive first impression, and as an employer, you should do the same.

Here are several ways to make their first day memorable:

  • Tour of the workspace
    Provide a tour of the new hire's workspace and work tools, helping them familiarize themselves with their new environment.
  • Well-equipped workspace
    Ensure that new employees have everything they need to get started and be productive from the beginning.
  • Assigned tasks
    Assign small tasks to new employees, providing an opportunity for them to showcase their value from day one.
  • Building community
    Invite new staff to the company's social media and networking groups and include them in any upcoming team gatherings, fostering a sense of community.
  • Lunch outing
    Offer to take your new hire to lunch, showing them that they are valued and providing an opportunity for casual conversation outside of the workplace. Be sure to give them advance notice so they don't have to worry about where or what they'll eat on their first day.

3. Emphasize company culture from the start

Every company has its own unique way of operating, including methods of communication, decision-making processes, and interactions between employees.
By emphasizing the company culture early and regularly, newly hired retail employees will be aware of the attitudes and behaviors that are encouraged and those that may lead to difficulties or consequences. This helps to set expectations and establish a positive work environment from the beginning.

4. Eliminate the Burden of Manual Documentation

One key component of an effective retail onboarding checklist is simplifying the documentation process. Utilizing the GenAI-powered helpdesk system allows new hires to complete most of their onboarding documents with minimal guidance quickly. Retailers can provide a designated workstation or kiosk at the workplace or offer access to an online portal that employees can use from their homes or personal devices. This enables employees to arrive for training with a significant portion of their completed onboarding process. 

A streamlined approach to the documentation process streamlines the entire onboarding experience. A modern helpdesk system should guide employees through each form, automatically fill in repetitive information, and integrate with payroll and other relevant systems.

With a centralized, online system, there's no risk of losing paperwork, employees can't overlook forms, and data doesn't have to be manually entered into multiple systems. This results in a reduced workload for HR, with fewer follow-ups and corrections needed.

5. Stay Connected with your Team and Gather Feedback

To ensure a successful onboarding experience for retail employees, it is crucial to provide regular check-ins and gather feedback throughout the process. This helps to continually improve the retail employee onboarding process and address any employee needs or preferences.

Gathering feedback can help identify skills gaps and provide opportunities to build targeted training programs. Regular check-ins between new hires and their managers can provide a supportive environment for open communication and exchanging ideas. These check-ins can also serve as an opportunity for new hires to ask questions and seek support. Despite these check-ins, implementing pulse surveys can provide quick and anonymous feedback that can be acted upon immediately.

This approach promptly identifies areas for improvement and ensures that the onboarding experience remains relevant and effective. By gathering feedback and continuously improving the retail onboarding process, new hires will feel valued and supported from day one, which can positively impact employee retention.

6. Make Information Accessible

For employees who are constantly on the move, their training materials must be easily accessible. Login screens and password issues can quickly become obstacles to accessing crucial information. That's why we believe in making learning as seamless as possible. A GenAI-enabled agile knowledge management process can help you here. Implementing an effective knowledge management tool for your retail employees will help your organization by reducing the friction in the user experience.

As a result, employees can access the right information at the right time without wasting their time. A knowledge management tool can make information more accessible and integrated into employees' existing workflows. When it comes to training, accessibility is critical. By making learning materials easily accessible, you can improve your training programs' outcomes and support your employees' growth and development.

7. Set Specific Goals

When you create an effective retail onboarding checklist, you need to put your 'expectations and goals' from the start and set a framework of expectations and goals to ensure new retail employees clearly understand the path ahead.

Setting growth goals for new hires is critical to enhancing retention and providing employees meaning in their positions in an industry where many sense a lack of ambition and drive. Set a list of goals for your new hires' first 30, 60, and 90 days, and ensure they have access to all the information and coaching they need to achieve them.

8. Make Use of a Buddy System

Employee retention rates are higher when employees feel a sense of belonging to a company, so building relationships from day one will go a long way toward increasing retention rates. Introducing new hires to a mentor or buddy ensures that they always have a friendly face to whom they can turn for advice, making it easier for them to integrate into the larger team.

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Components of Retail Onboarding Process

Employee onboarding is a crucial aspect of the retail industry, as it sets the foundation for a new employee's success within the company. A well-designed onboarding process can help new hires feel comfortable and confident in their new role, while also ensuring they have the knowledge and skills they need to be effective in their job. The length and specific components of the onboarding process can vary depending on the company, the position, its size, industry and the employee's prior experience.

retail onboarding experience statistics |

But in general, the onboarding process is designed to provide new employees with the information, tools, and support they need to be successful in their new role. It generally includes several key components such as: 

  • Pre-boarding

    Pre-boarding is a crucial step that includes paperwork and background checks before the employee's first day of work.

  • Orientation

    Orientation includes everything right from introducing the employee to the company culture, values, and history, as well as providing information about benefits and company policies.

  • Employee Training

    Employee training is one major component that includes providing the employee with the skills and knowledge they need to perform their job effectively.

  • Shadowing

    This step includes the employee following and observing an experienced employee on their job to learn the best practices and gain more knowledge.

  • Evaluation

    Evaluating the employee's progress and providing feedback on areas of improvement is one major component of retail employee onboarding.

  • Integration

    This step includes integrating the new employee into the team and giving them opportunities to interact with other employees.

How Can Level Up Your Retail Onboarding Plan?

As newly hired employees, we've all been there - long wait times, repeated calls to the HR helpdesk, and frustration when trying to get help with issues related to installing new software, setting up an Outlook account or a password. A newly onboarded retail employee has to go through a lot of time-consuming manual processes, which can often leave him/her frustrated, lost or confused. 

Traditional HR helpdesks are typically overwhelmed with tickets created by new employees. But what if we told you that there's a solution that's here to change the way you approach employee support? That’s right. Consider - a modern retail service desk software.

With the advent of GenAI-enabled service desks like, retail industries can provide seamless employee support and personalized employee experience by streamlining their retail onboarding process. 

Integrated within Microsoft Teams, leverages cutting-edge technologies like Generative AI, automation and machine learning to make the time-consuming onboarding process seamless and enjoyable to the employees. 

Now, let's look at the key features of

  • GenAI Sidekick Chatbots to Provide Quick, Personalized Support offers GenAI Sidekick chatbot support for IT, HR, and other services, ensuring that your employees get the help they need in just 15 seconds or less. With our platform's auto-resolution capabilities, most common employee issues can be resolved without the need for a human support desk agent. But it's not just about resolving issues quickly, also automates commonly used workflows and approvals, such as hiring, onboarding, and offboarding, streamlining the entire process and freeing up your employees' time to focus on more important tasks.

    Access to the smart chatbot is easy and convenient, with options to reach it via MS Teams, mobile app, tablet, and web kiosks.

  • GenAI-enabled Knowledge Management System to Provide the Right Data offers an enterprise and store-level knowledge management system, employees can access information quickly and effectively, further increasing their productivity by 7%.

    Utilizing’s GenAI-power, retail organizations can provide new hires with instant access to the information they need to get started in their new role.

    This can include everything from company policies and procedures to training materials and more.

  • Streamline your Repetitive Tasks

    Are you tired of managing a service desk that seems always to be bogged down with repetitive tasks and overwhelming demand? With, you can streamline your manual service desk operations and create savings through automation. 
  • offers a suite of tools that automate knowledge, task and workflow processes, reducing the operational cost of your service desk. This not only cuts down on the training and learning curve for employees and agents but also eliminates the need for human intervention on simple tasks like password reset and frequently asked questions.

    With, you can expect to increase the efficiency of your service desk by a significant 30 to 40%. And with our ability to manage peaks in demand effortlessly, you can focus on providing top-notch support to your employees.

  • Integration with Other Tools

    Moreover, can integrate with other HR systems and tools, such as HR information systems (HRIS) and learning management systems (LMS), to provide a seamless and unified onboarding experience for employees. With modern helpdesks Like, retailers can ensure that new hires have a positive and productive onboarding experience, helping them to quickly become productive members of the team.


A robust retail employee onboarding process can help new hires feel more connected to the company and engaged in their work. A study by the Brandon Hall Group states that organizations with effective onboarding programs have a 69% increase in employee engagement. Another report titled "The Financial Impact of Onboarding" by Brandon Hall Group, states that the benefits of a robust employee onboarding process can have a direct impact on the ROI of the organization. The study also states that companies with strong onboarding programs have a 218% higher revenue per employee.

Thus, it is evident that employee onboarding programs must be well-designed and efficient for organizations, regardless of its industry. To ensure that the retail employee onboarding process is effective, it is important to have a well-designed new hire onboarding checklist in place. By having a well-designed retail onboarding checklist in place, companies can reduce turnover rates, improve productivity, and set new hires up for success within the company.

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1. What is a retailer employee onboarding?

Retailer employee onboarding is the process of orienting and training new hires to work in a fresh retail environment. The purpose of retailer employee onboarding is to help new employees understand their role, their team and organizations and the expectations they will be held to. Undoubtedly it is a critical step in integrating new employees into the company and getting them up to speed so they can effectively contribute to the organization.

Retail employee onboarding process may include training sessions, job shadowing, review of work policies, employee benefit supports and other procedures. The ultimate goal of retailer employee onboarding is to set new employees up for success and ensure a smooth transition into their new role.

2. What is a retail employee onboarding checklist?

A retail onboarding checklist is a list of tasks and activities that must be completed to effectively onboard new employees in a retail setting.

The checklist typically includes the following items:

- Review of company policies and procedures

- Health and safety training

- Introduction to the retail environment and sales process

- Hands-on training in operating cash registers and point-of-sale systems

- Overview of product lines and services offered

- Customer service training

- Basic inventory management and ordering processes

- Communication and teamwork training

3. What are the 5Cs of retail employees onboarding?

The 5 Cs of the retail onboarding process refer to the key elements that must be included in an effective onboarding program for new employees in a retail setting.

The 5 Cs are:

- Culture

New employees need to be introduced to the company culture and values, so they can understand what is expected of them and feel a sense of belonging.

- Compliance

New employees must be trained in company policies and procedures, as well as legal and regulatory requirements that pertain to their role.

- Competence

New employees must be trained in the skills and knowledge required to perform their job effectively. This may include product knowledge, customer service techniques, and operating systems and tools.

- Communication

New employees must understand how to communicate effectively with their colleagues, supervisors, and customers. They need to be trained in company communication protocols and best practices.

- ConnectionNew employees need to feel connected to the company and their colleagues. This includes building relationships with coworkers and managers, as well as becoming familiar with company resources and support systems.

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