Home Retail Employees' Day 2016 Retail Employees: Valuing the backbone of the retail industry

Retail Employees: Valuing the backbone of the retail industry


Retail is one of the fastest growing industry sectors in India and has seen remarkable transformation over the last 2 decades. India’s retail market has the potential to grow from USD 630 billion in 2015 to USD 1,100-1,200 billion in 2020 on the back of a young demography, rising income levels and increased urbanisation.

The retail industry employs over 43 million people, making it the second largest employer in India. Given the aggressive growth projections in Indian retail, the effective engagement of employees in the retail industry is an increasingly critical requirement to accelerate growth by providing exemplary customer service levels and maximising sales.

As the industry evolves, employee engagement, talent management and training are key challenges that are yet to find suitable solutions. There is a growing realization that happier employees create a better store ambience, resulting in far more effective customer interaction and sales. Making employees feel valued and striving to build genuine relationships with them can help create loyalty, boost performance and nurture positive attitude as well.


It was in this light that B.S Nagesh, Non-Executive Vice Chairman of Shoppers Stop, established the Trust for Retailers and Retail Associates of India () in 2011, with the vision of empowering people in retail and works towards achieving immediate and lasting change in the lives of retail associates in India.

One of TRRAIN’s flagship programmes is the Retail Employees’ Day (RED)in partnership with the Retailers Association of India (RAI) in India. Retail Employees’ Day (RED), celebrated every year on December 12th is aimed at applauding the efforts of retail employees in India – and eventually the world.

The theme was born from the need to create the pride of belonging to the retail community by recognising their efforts through public appreciation. RED is celebrated in several unique ways by retail stores across the country on December 12th every year to applaud the efforts of retail associates. Today, RED is celebrated by over 4 million people across 2 countries – India and Turkey, and has become one of the top 3 days in the retail calendar.


Five years since the inception of Retail Employees’ Day, TRRAIN has undertaken an independent study in order to determine the impact that Retail Employees’ Day has on different aspects of employee performance, employee engagement and well-being in the retail sector. This whitepaper is a result of an independent impact assessment study on RED commissioned by TRRAIN and conducted by Sattva.

The study has mapped the stakeholders involved in retail and conducted one-on-one interviews with CEO’s and HR Heads of retail brands, focus group discussions with store managers, field visits to stores celebrating RED in Bangalore and Mumbai, and gathered responses from over 200 employees.


The qualitative data has been backed by secondary research on the retail industry and employee growth. The study has attempted to gain a deeper understanding of all the employee growth factors that are positively impacted by Retail Employees’ Day.

The whitepaper examined the impact of RED at 3 levels:

  • Impact on the employee
  • Impact on the contribution to business outcomes
  • Impact on the retail industry


All stakeholders spoken to agreed unanimously that RED has a high impact on employee engagement and employee morale.
Employees feel recognized and valued for their efforts through the public appreciation received from within and outside the organization.

Employees value the interaction opportunities RED provides with store managers, customers, teams, the top management of the company and other retail brand employees. There is increased bonding and camaraderie built among the store employees and between employees and their superiors.


While there has been some impact on business indicators like sales and employee retention, it is difficult to isolate the direct impact of RED on business outcomes considering various internal and external factors.

However, RED has enhanced employees’ ability and motivation to contribute to business outcomes: There is a definite increase seen in the productivity of retail employees. There is improved team work and relationship building among store employees and with their superiors leading to a better working environment at the store.

The immediate positive energy created by RED helps employees perform better in terms of sales and customer service during the busiest festival seasons in the year. At a larger level, RED has become an opportunity to bring together key stakeholders of retail industry at a common platform.

IMPACT ON RETAIL INDUSTRY: Stakeholders from several retail brands, product owners and mall owners to engage with each other over a common purpose, as one retail fraternity. RED is unique in the fact that it has provided an avenue for interactions between retailers and their supplier product companies and between people working for different brands. Through the entire industry standing together as one to celebrate their retail associates, it has also brought about a sense of pride and belonging among the retail workforce.

Retail Employees’ Day has often been quoted as the day that helps the retail sector stand together as one, unlike any other celebration. The fact that RED is planned, designed and celebrated with so much enthusiasm by every organization level in the retail value chain, from single store formats to malls, makes it that much more impactful as an occasion for the industry to come together.

A single day can truly have a lingering positive impact and be instrumental in instilling long lasting pride and joy in the retail sector. With the support and encouragement from retailers, the day is on its way to becoming an iconic industry wide celebration in India and across the world.