Bloomberg recently reported that the battered American retail industry has taken a few more lumps as of late, with stores at both ends of the price spectrum preparing to close their doors.
The Payless Inc. shoe chain recently filed for bankruptcy and announced plans to shut hundreds of locations. Ralph Lauren Corp. is closing its flagship Fifth Avenue Polo store and Bebe just announced that is closing all of its 168 retail stores. “The retail industry is still searching for answers,” said Noel Hebert, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “I don’t know how many malls can reinvent themselves.”
The rapid descent of so many retailers has left shopping malls with hundreds of slots to fill and the pain could be just beginning. More than 10 percent of U.S. retail space, or nearly 1 billion square feet, may need to be closed, converted to other uses or renegotiated for lower rent in coming years, according to CoStar Group.
What does the retail industry bust have to do with employee engagement? Everything! Companies are still searching for answers as to how to keep employees engaged and I don’t know how many businesses can reinvent themselves. Don’t get me wrong, the companies that are floundering could reinvent themselves, but many choose not to.
Officevibe recently reported that 90 percent of companies think an employee engagement strategy would be helpful, yet only 25 percent of companies have one. Why? Mostly, because they are afraid to admit that leadership has dropped the ball as it relates to putting people first, they think they’d need additional resources to execute on the strategy, or they don’t know where to begin.