Labor Shortages and Turnover Are Bigger Challenges than Supply Chain

Delivering Better Customer Service Is the Top Workforce Initiative for Only 7% of Senior Leaders as the Great Resignation Wears On, Latest Executive Survey from WorkJam Shows

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Worker shortages and employee turnover are much greater concerns for global executives than ongoing supply chain woes are, according to a new survey released today by WorkJam, the world’s leading digital frontline workplace for organizations with shift and hourly employees. The recent survey of executives working in industries that include retail, manufacturing, consumer goods, and transportation and warehousing found that leaders consider labor shortages (48%), employee turnover (31%) and even workplace stress (10%) as bigger operational challenges than supply chain issues (9%).

The WorkJam study also found that retention ranks as a much more important workforce initiative than improving customer service. Fully, one-third of execs surveyed cite retention as their top imperative, followed by attracting talent (28%), upskilling staff to be able to “do more with less” (20%), improving operational efficiency (12%), and delivering better customer service (7%).

“Our customers across industries are dealing with high turnover, and this survey suggests that executives understand it’s imperative to meet the needs of employees who are choosing to stay, but are looking for a better work environment, more flexible schedules, and career mobility,” said Steven Kramer, CEO of WorkJam. “In the retail industry, specifically, the back-to-school season is coming up fast and executives know they must hold on to great employees to be able to provide an excellent customer experience. The survey shows retail leaders are looking to meet their current employees’ needs as individuals wherever they can. This includes prioritizing professional development, team-building activities, and providing a better work/life balance.”


  • Execs understand that better retention is strongly linked to business success: Nearly three-quarters (72%) of executives understand that investing in employee retention will result in a better ROI for their business, but only half (50%) think their organization is doing an excellent or good job when it comes to retaining frontline employees.
  • DEI initiatives rank low on employees’ lists of desired workplace improvements: Scheduling flexibility (57%) tops the list of areas where employees have indicated to executives that they’d like to see workplace improvements. Meaningful work (54%), compensation (53%), schedule predictability (49%), growth opportunities (46%) and company culture (45%) all ranked much higher than DEI efforts, an area where only 17% of executives surveyed said that their employees would like to see the organization improve.
  • More than 4 in 10 execs surveyed said they are trying to improve retention by sharing employees across locations: While pay increases (60%) and adding perks (50%) top the list of ways companies are trying to improve retention, 41% of those surveyed said they are looking to share employees across locations and regions.
  • In retail specifically, frontline workers are looking for improved compensation and scheduling: Retail industry executives say their frontline staffs are looking to them to boost pay and provide more flexible schedules, with each factor cited by 57% of execs surveyed. Other areas where employees would most like to see improvements include schedule predictability and career growth opportunities (both at 52%).
  • Companies are prioritizing mental health services as important workplace benefits: 62% of execs surveyed said their company either already offers or plans to offer mental health services to employees, compared with 67% that offer or plan to offer employee rewards and 63% that offer or plan to offer flexible/self-scheduling arrangements.
  • The majority of executives are confident in their company’s ability to engage and enable employees: Some 68% of survey respondents think their organization is doing an excellent or good job of engaging frontline employees and 65% say the same about enabling employees, but only 50% say their organization is doing an excellent or good job of retaining workers, indicating that there is room for improvement when it comes to corporate engagement and enablement efforts.
  • Compensation and better career path opportunities are the main reasons employees leave: Fully three quarters of executives across a range of major industries think employees are leaving their company for better-paying jobs, while 67% think staff is leaving for career development reasons. Less than half (49%) believe talent leaves to attain better schedule flexibility and work/life balance and only 44% believe employees leave in search of better benefits.

WorkJam’s survey was fielded among 138 executives working across 21 major industries in North AmericaEuropeAsia and South America who were surveyed online in June 2022. Of the executives surveyed, 113 work at companies with more than 10,000 employees, 24 work at companies with 1,001–10,000 employees and 1 works at a company with 201–1,000 employees.

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