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.