3 Ways to Turn “Retail Hell” into a Well-Being Haven Through Digital Coaching

CoachHub · 24 May 2022 · 4 min read

Retail and wholesale employees have had enough of working in “retail hell.” While on the frontlines of a global pandemic, they’ve put their health and well-being on the line to help customers who are likewise stressed and exhausted―sometimes even culminating in hostile situations that many employees are ill equipped to handle. Facebook groups, Reddit forums, TikTok videos, and countless memes documenting “retail hell” have skyrocketed. And even as we are seeing a glimpse of light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, working in retail still means facing staffing and supply chain shortages as well as rising prices. It’s no wonder that employees are assessing the pros and cons of working and retail and embracing the Great Resignation in droves!

Retail hell: The struggle is real for everyone working in retail and wholesale

As an employer, we know that it’s upsetting to watch your teams struggle, and disheartening to receive yet another resignation letter. You’re not alone when it comes to being concerned about your retail and wholesale workers. Forbes reported that nearly 90% of retailers were concerned about burnout and fatigue and the 2021 CoachHub Global HR Survey shows that 42% of retailers and wholesalers are witnessing an increase of employees struggling with well-being.

But organizations are not simply worried―they’re taking action. Our survey indicates that there is an increased willingness to implement or expand workforce support and development in the retail and wholesale sector, particularly to address employee well-being, digital transformation agility, and retention.

wholesale employee at work

3 Ways to turn “retail hell” into a well-being haven through digital coaching

1. Create stability for your workforce through prioritizing holistic well-being

Employee well-being is top of mind for both managers and their teams. But let’s be clear, “well-being” needs to encompass more than just being physically healthy enough to work a shift.

According to the State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report, 57% of US and Canadian employees reported daily stress. This statistic exemplifies just how important taking a holistic view of employee health also means considering mental and emotional health.

Digital coaching is an actionable way to engage with employees to help them discover methods for dealing with their stress and burnout on an individual level.

For example: 

  • An employee may be struggling with burnout at work because their child also needs assistance with schoolwork during the day. A coach can help him find ways to better tackle their workload through time management techniques.
  • Another coachee may be worried that the team she is managing isn’t engaged while at work, and a coach can help her discover ways to connect with and inspire them.

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2. Build employee confidence around digital transformation

The COVID lockdown propelled many companies from 0 to 100 in terms of digital transformation out of sheer necessity. New systems and processes that were previously planned years in advance had to be learned in days.

Even if certain tech updates were easily adaptable for some, the looming implications of AI and automation are poised to have impacts company-wide. This means that many employees may need to both be upskilled as well as coached in ways to reimagine their career goals in retail and wholesale.

Digital coaches not only help employees discover coping mechanisms and resiliency tools for managing change, but also to assist individuals in finding and developing the strengths they already possess.

For example:

  • While one coachee may need extensive training on a new digital inventory system, a coach can guide her to mindfulness to manage her stress as well as help her develop the confidence to ask questions during her training.
  • Another coachee may be worried about his job prospects with the increase of peopleless checkout, but through coaching, he can assess his skills and interests to see how he can still make an impact at work.


US and Canadian employees reported daily stress


of occupations
one-third of tasks could be automated

3. Retain talent through professional development

In 2017, a McKinsey study indicated that in about 60% of occupations, at least one-third of tasks could be automated. The report predicts that upwards of 375 million people may need to switch occupational categories or learn new skills. With odds like those, many of those working in retail and wholesale may decide the safest bet for their futures is to switch industries.

What does this mean for retailers and wholesalers? As their employees begin to take a hard look at the pros and cons of working in retail and wholesale long term, employers will need to revamp their professional development and upskilling programs in order to keep their workforce stable and retain top talent.

During coaching sessions, employees will have the opportunity to not only develop new soft skills that can better prepare them for upper management roles, but also the chance to develop career aspirations within your company.

For example: 

  • One employee may be considering moving to another company that is offering a lateral career move. By working with a coach, she can identify how her strengths could be utilized to find an advancement opportunity within her own company.
  • Another coachee could be struggling with feeling disengaged at work, and through coaching, he discovers that he is interested in leading teams rather than working on the sales floor.

Bottom Line

While the struggle is certainly real for many workers who are navigating the “retail hell” of a COVID-19 world, there are ways that organizations can provide impactful resources so that their employees feel supported. Digital coaching offers companies a meaningful way to meet their teams’ well-being and upskilling needs. Coaching can also be a helpful resource for employees as they develop and pursue their career goals at your company.

To explore the benefits and impacts of digital coaching for your industry, read our report, Redesigning Employee Development in Retail and Wholesale.

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CoachHub is the leading global talent development platform that enables organizations to create a personalized, measurable and scalable coaching program for the entire workforce, regardless of department and seniority level. By doing so, organizations are able to reap a multitude of benefits, including increased employee engagement, higher levels of productivity, improved job performance and increased retention. CoachHub’s global pool of coaches is comprised of over 3,500 certified business coaches in 90 countries across six continents with coaching sessions available in over 60 languages. Serving more than 1,000 clients worldwide, CoachHub’s innovative coaching programs are based on proprietary scientific research and development from our Innovation Lab. CoachHub is backed by leading tech investors, including Sofina, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Molten Ventures, Speedinvest, HV Capital, Partech and Silicon Valley Bank/SVB Capital. CoachHub is committed to creating a greener future and is a certified carbon neutral company since 2022.
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