Given the recent turbulence in Retail it’s difficult to imagine a company that is not looking at strategies and ways to improve on its decline. A big part of these strategies involves looking at ways to improve employee engagement.
Improving employee retention for example is a common topic in this sector, high staff turnover is somewhat expected in retail, and for some companies its considered to be a positive signal. Attrition can help cycle unmotivated, unproductive employees out of companies, and voluntary turnover from more driven employees often results with them finding the company that works for them.
However, some studies and statistics indicate that global turnover in this sector found retail had the second highest turnover rate of all industries at 13%, topping the worldwide average of 10% for turnover. 
Some of these statistics point to possible causes for these high numbers of turnover. A lack of professional development, inability to advance within role and company. Receiving limited to no training are common factors in this sector.
Hard to Reach
First line workers are at the heart of the retail experience but sadly they are often the forgotten employees when it comes to communication and collaboration technology.
They are considered too hard to reach compared to their office counterparts. It is quite common practice not to issue company email addresses for instance, which means they often miss out on important communications that relay key company information and goals.
This is a basic need that helps give meaning and objective to their daily work. It’s quite common for communications of this nature to be given second hand by their management. Who relay this information face-to-face, or via more traditional paper/notice boards. Given that first line workers are typically ignored by these communications, it’s often found that they know very little about what their company stands for and how it might differentiate from its competitors.
When it comes to matters of people management, research and real-world scenarios have shown repeatedly that the companies who rise above the competition are those that place value in employee engagement and consider the overall experience ensuring that all its employees are included.
Retailers need to examine how to best support their front-line workers, they must carefully consider all the factors that drive employee engagement. It’s essential that they feel considered and included. Empower these employees with the right tools that allow them to receive company communications and messaging, let them feel part of the company and connected to all.
The speed and coverage of communication needs to improve. Decisions need to be relayed to the stores immediately with live communication or within minutes with recorded communications. This speed in deployment can be an immense competitive advantage.
The importance of having an employee communication strategy for the modern retail environment really matters. However, it’s also key to get the right medium, the rise of video usage for employee communication cannot be stressed enough. Industry research finds viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text.
Allowing your employees to see key messages from its executives and leaders on what is happening within the company is extremely powerful. They get to hear the passion and commitment first hand. This is the modern employee communications way. It goes a long way toward building your brand and meeting your goals.
It’s hard to point at any single factor for the issues faced by the Retail sector. However a key part of the future puts the first line workers front and center in the competition for consumer spend. The question now is who will best prepare their staff for this challenge. The answer starts with improving your employee experience.
Whether it’s plastic containers or software licences, we all need to find ways to make the most of the resources we already have.
A new business requirement shouldn’t automatically trigger a new IT investment. This is particularly true within the networking and security arena where costs and complexity increase with every new purchase.
Instead of constantly expanding the security management portfolio, organisations need to start thinking about rationalising and integrating it. According to Cisco, 82% of companies want an integrated security portfolio but very few are achieving it.
Computacenter and Cisco are working together to help change this. As more IT providers move to an evergreen world with rolling releases and bundled packages, it’s getting harder for CIOs and their teams to stay up to date. As a result, features are not used, integrations are not leveraged, and opportunities are not exploited.
Making the switch
Let’s take an example. The Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) subscription provides organisations with a new way of purchasing Cisco Catalyst 9K switches, which form the foundation of the modern intent-based network. But there’s a lot more to the software subscription than just the switches. And these added extras can make all the difference to the efficacy of security and networking operations in a digital age.
As well as providing organisation with access to software-driven rather than hardware-centric switches, the premier subscription also includes tools for managing security policies, detecting security threats, automating processes, configuring networks and generating actionable insights.
It’s hardly surprising then that the Catalyst 9K switches have been one of the fastest-selling new products in Cisco’s history: more than 1,100 customers signed up in the first quarter of availability. Eventually, it will become the standard platform for intent-based networking.
Although organisations have been quick to onboard the switches, the supporting software is still being under-utilised. As a result, CIOs often unnecessarily invest in additional point solutions or continue to use legacy tools that are no longer fit for purpose. They will also be missing out on the latest threat intelligence; the Catalyst 9K premier subscription enables CIOs to leverage the full power of Cisco Talos, which helps to protects people, data, and infrastructure assets.
Unlocking greater value
Computacenter has access to 10 Customer Success Managers – many of whom are Cisco Certified Internetwork Experts – who help organisations unlock the full potential of their technology investments.
We work with CIOs and their teams to drive greater value and enable business success. We share knowledge. We pinpoint existing resources that could be leveraged more effectively. We organise demonstrations and proof of concepts. And we flag potential new investments and integrations.
The shift to evergreen solutions and software subscriptions involves operational, cultural and financial change. Adapting to this new landscape while also delivering digital initiatives is a big ask for already stretched IT teams. But the quicker organisations can adapt, the quicker they can leverage the benefits.
Instead of fulfilling new requirements with new purchases, organisations will become accustomed to checking their existing IT entitlements and assets first. This will not only save money but also prevent the IT landscape from becoming even more cluttered. Maximising what we have today makes for a better tomorrow.