11 February 2021
When we attended NRF Retail’s Big Show back in January 2020, many predictions were made about the future of retail in the new decade. Some of the key themes that were discussed included the continued rise of clicks to bricks, the power of personalisation, epic in-store experiences and empowering and engaging your workforce.
Of course, a lot in retail has changed since then, but employee engagement and empowering retail teams remained a key focus for retailers in 2020 and it continues into 2021.
For teams in-store who are already grappling with unexpected closures, new procedures, health and safety measures and smaller teams – it’s going to be a challenging few months. To get the most from your stores you need to engage store teams with effective communication and inspire them with top-class training.
But in the current retail climate, a retailer won’t succeed with engagement alone.
It’s more important than ever to drive productivity and reduce cost in your retail operations, and you can do that through effective, actionable communication. We’ve coined the term “engagement with substance”, our new strategy to inspire and empower retail teams.
2021 will continue to be challenging, so it’s important you’re continuously motivating your employees and boosting morale.
There are loads of ways to share engaging content with your store teams, whether it’s a video announcement from senior management, links to Ted Talks on motivation or interactive microlearning courses.
But engaging content can be more than company announcements and team incentives. It’s important to present your key content, whether it’s a policy update or new in-store health and safety guidelines, in a clear and effective way.
You need to create a single source of truth for your store teams that’s easy to access, simple to use, and of course, looks great. It must be easy to disseminate new ways of working quickly to store teams – to provide clarity and stop the spread of misinformation. By communicating clearly and efficiently with stores, you can combat information fatigue and improve the engagement and uptake of new policies.
You can also engage teams with high impact training courses. Support your teams with interactive content that include videos, gifs, images and quizzes to make learning fun. As well as encouraging team members to continue to return to the platform and learn new skills. Whatever platform you choose must be user friendly, intuitive and provide great support, so all your teams’ focus can be on creating courses that achieve results.
In the new retail landscape, to be solely focussed on engagement is not enough. In an industry that has experienced such a tumultuous year, with so much uncertainty and financial turmoil likely to continue– it’s vital you’re operating a well-oiled machine.
To do that you need to know your stores are implementing the information you are sharing with them – and you need to know it fast.
If you are sending a key communication to stores – for example, training teams on a new health and safety policy – you need to send a message quickly and know it’s been seen by everyone and actioned. You need access to compliance reporting that will flag any stores who are having difficulty so you can support them to fix the problem.
And with new procedures there are bound to be teething issues, so you need a structured way for stores to report problems that can be tracked by the team in Head Office.
The key aspect to our engagement with substance strategy, is the ability to adapt and create innovative content in response to whatever challenge is thrown your way. You need to know your teams are doing what they need to, when they need to.
The key challenge for your Retail Operations team is managing the information they send. It’s important it’s easy to amend and update existing information, and to send instant, urgent messages directly to stores with clear instructions. They will be communicating a lot with stores, so whatever platform they are using, it needs to be easy to manage.
Are multiple departments bombarding stores with information? A gate keeper and an in-built approvals process means stores won’t be drowning in conflicting information, but instead getting a steady stream of targeted and relevant communications.
Receiving information from more than one channel is confusing and difficult to track. You need to champion one platform for communications , that way no matter the problem, your teams will know where to go to find their latest actions, updated company policies and Covid-19 advice.
If you’d like some help developing your engagement strategy, then get in touch with a member of the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.