Aware Unveils The Real Reasons Why Retail Employees Quit

Aware, the AI Data Platform powering Experience Management, released its latest research on workplace trends directly from the voices of retail employees. Utilizing its state-of-the-art AI-powered platform, which recently outperformed Meta’s Llama-2 in a direct competition, Aware ingested, normalized, enriched, and analyzed over 150,000 anonymized workplace conversations across eight major retail brands on social media platforms such as Reddit and other sources.

In today’s dynamic business landscape, relying solely on annual or pulse surveys can yield outdated and unreliable data. Aware’s continuous listening capabilities provide managers and the C-suite with actionable intelligence into the employee and customer experience. This intelligence sheds light into the contributing factors to the alarming 60% retail turnover rate, which McKinsey Consulting calls the “Great Attrition”.

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Aware’s purpose-built Natural Language Processing (NLP) models painted a vivid picture of employees caught in the crossfire of a cultural clash with customers. A startling 70% of frontline workers face angry customers weekly, giving rise to the colloquially known term “Karen.” Encounters with such customers drive employees to quit, cause negativity to spike by 36%, double the chances of toxic experiences, and measurably decrease overall workplace sentiment for those workers that remain.

Jeff Schumann, CEO of Aware, emphasizes, “The voice of the front-line worker has never been more important, yet that voice is often underrepresented. Frontline workers who do not have an approved collaboration platform rely on social sites like Reddit, Glassdoor, and Fishbowl to share their feedback and collaborate with co-workers. The C-suite needs to recognize that these forums provide an authentic view of the employee experience and valuable insights about the daily business operations. Aware truly connects the breakroom to the boardroom to drive shared success.”

The five main highlights from the study include:

  1. The “Customer Is Always Right” mantra means the employee is always wrong. Toxic “Karen” interactions have a detrimental effect on employee morale.
  2. Co-workers have a bigger impact on negativity than their managers. Messages about coworkers show higher negativity than those about bosses or CEOs, who are typical targets for negative banter.
  3. Day-of-the week matters. Sundays saw the highest number of posts, while Thursdays had the least. Thursdays boasted the healthiest conversations, whereas Fridays were marked by the most negative or toxic conversations. Toxicity on weekends is a consistent theme not limited to the social media dataset examined by Aware. In general, Aware has found that workplace toxicity increases by 7.5% on weekends compared to the rest of the week.
  4. The “work-life balance” topic was a beacon of positivity, especially conversations around Paid Time Off (PTO).
  5. LMAO is funnier than LOL or Haha. When it comes to expressing laughter, LMAO dominated over other popular terms such as LOL and haha.

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“Our platform is both extensible and versatile, capable of ingesting high volumes of unstructured data from any location where workplace conversations occur. That data is run through our NLP models to deliver valuable insights into the life of a frontline worker, said Debasish Biswas, Chief Technology Officer at Aware. “The platform has been purpose built efficiently normalize and process that data through our ML/Data pipelines before storing it in our Data Lake for close to real time access on customer dashboards. Our targeted models, trained on over 6 years of customer data, boast market leading accuracy. This enables the platform to deliver continuous business intelligence and timely alerts on critical events for business leaders to stay on top of their departmental workflows.”

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