Three independent Goodwill® organizations have implemented a pilot initiative that helps retail workers advance their careers. GoodPaths, made possible with funding from the Walmart Foundation and support from our partner the Hope Street Group, is a first-of-its-kind career navigation initiative aimed at the broader retail industry.

According to a November 2016 survey by the Hay Group, 40 percent of the 66 retailers surveyed said they’ve seen an increase in employee turnover.  According to the survey, turnover rates were highest among hourly store employees at 65 percent, up from 57 percent in 2015. Along with turnover come significant operational expenses. In August 2016, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found an average cost of $4,129 per new hire related to turnover.
Retail supports 1 in 4 American jobs, which points to why it’s critical we answer the question — How do we invest better in our retail employees?

“The success of the initiative has been with the people. Those who have felt disenfranchised; now have a vision of success and a pathway to achieve their professional goals.” – Melvina Terry, GoodPaths Career Navigator at the Houston Goodwill

Goodwill Industries International and Hope Street Group, with support from the Walmart Foundation, have partnered to address these concerns through GoodPaths – the first-ever, evidence-based career navigation initiative to consider the talent development and retention challenges of the retail sector. GoodPaths, based on a model that proved successful in the health care sector, provides employees with assessments, career coaching, customized training, mentoring and referrals to support services that enable them to gain the skills and knowledge necessary for advancement. In addition, GoodPaths is online training for case managers in a structured process that helps retail employees advance in their careers and reduces turnover rates.

“At the onset, the best news was my employer values its employees enough to invest in an initiative that focuses on retaining and promoting its employees. Through a series of examinations, I assessed my career development attributes and cognitive abilities. This process was truly beneficial because it exposed my strengths and weaknesses. With this information, I would evaluate the areas I excelled in and areas that I  would improve upon. As I progressed, an advancement opportunity became available and I am delighted to share that I accepted a   promotion within our organization in a rewarding position and favorable salary.” said Sheila Singletary, a program participant at the Palmetto Goodwill (North Charleston, SC).

The GoodPaths initiative is made possible as part of the Retail Opportunity Initiative, a five-year, $100 million sector-wide efforts launched by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation in 2015 aimed at making it easier for frontline workers to advance more quickly. GoodPaths is being executed in partnership with Hope Street Group, which works to strengthen America’s workforce by improving the alignment between employers, training providers, educators and individuals on the competencies and skills required for success in a given career path.

Read the full press release, here:
A Good Path Towards Better Work