Retail worker

Why Retail Workers are Underserved with Communication

Why retail workers are underserved with communication

A disconnect among frontline retail employees

Over the past decade, internal communications have become a major pain point for retail organizations. Frontline retail workers weren’t equipped with the tools they needed to communicate and were often severely disconnected from upper management. Amplified by the pandemic, this disconnect has grown larger and has led to many retail organizations seeking out a solution to their internal comms problem.

In retail chains, regional managers have to travel across stores for upper management to gain any insights into daily operations. There is minimal communication between branches, and retail associates are rarely equipped with the proper tools. As we transition back to some sense of normalcy, it’s important to rethink your internal comms efforts. How do your frontline retail employees currently communicate? Are there areas to improve? What tools are they provided to collaborate while on the floor? These are a few questions to consider while you continue reading.

Retail workers are an underserved majority

In most industries, despite being the vast majority of employees, and often the ones interacting with customers, frontline workers are neglected — especially when it comes to decisions about workplace tools. This remains especially true in the retail industry, where floor employees are severely disconnected from upper management and often rely on ‘passed along’ messages as their primary source of communication.

Your frontline retail employees work without email, computers, desks, and other tools that are typically available to desk workers. With employees spread out across the store, it can be a nightmare to effectively communicate in a retail store environment.

Lack of investment into technology

Desk employees are easier to reach, for obvious reasons: they do most of their work from one location. It’s not hard to justify providing your desk employees with a computer—and possibly a mobile device—because these devices are fundamental to their jobs.

Frontline retail workers, on the other hand, have a whole other set of barriers to communication. Their job requires mobility in a rapidly changing environment, and it’s not always possible to be reachable at any moment.

The people in charge of communication technology decisions at retail organizations often don’t see the need for deeper capabilities with regards to communicating with their frontline teams, so they ultimately don’t invest in providing them.

This lack of investment into internal comms technology can make something as simple as a store manager creating the store schedule each month and distributing it to the retail team, into a logistical nightmare for everyone involved.

The end result is that your frontline retail employees are neglected, and the business suffers. While it may seem inevitable that retail store workers are unreachable, this is not the case. Refraining from investments in technology that enables communication with your retail workers likely costs you more than it saves.

Effects of neglecting your retail workers

When your retail store employees are neglected, they are much more likely to become disengaged with company goals. Failing to equip these employees with the internal comms tools they need, can lead to a significant financial risk.

When employees become disengaged, they are more likely to leave their retail organization within the upcoming year, whereas engaged retail associates are much more likely to be invested in your company’s long-term future.

It is crucial to bring your frontline retail workers into the fold with better technology, regular two-way communication with upper management, and better access to information and their colleagues. This will ensure they stay engaged and will minimize employee turnover.

Transform the way retail associates communicate

The pandemic has revealed the massive disparities among internal communications within retail organizations. With so much uncertainty, there has never been a more important time to be agile in your internal comms efforts. Whether it’s providing an easy place for retail associates to get company information, enabling collaboration across different store locations, or improving your top-down communication processes, the time to switch to a new and modern digital hub is now.

A digital work hub can equip your frontline retail associates with the tools needed to communicate while on the floor.

With a digital work hub, your frontline retail employees will be able to:

  • Communicate and collaborate while working on the retail floor
  • Improve productivity and engagement by receiving clear organizational goals from management.
  • Access important employee information and resources anytime, anywhere.

For further reading, check out our blog on how to improve seasonal retail employee retention with better communication, or view our case study to learn how A.S. Watson Benelux was able to establish a culture of interconnectedness among their workforce.

Deliver a unified employee experience for your frontline retail employees

Interested in learning how to provide better internal comms (and ultimately a better employee experience) for your frontline retail workers? Check out this guide to learn how to equip your retail workers with the tools they need to properly communicate.

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