3 takeaways from our on-demand webinar, The ROI of digital frontline communication

3 takeaways from our on-demand webinar, The ROI of digital frontline communication

We’re in uncharted territory as we navigate out of the pandemic into a new world. The demands on frontline and deskless organizations have changed – and these workers need support like never before. And that support starts with the technology that enables organizations to share real-time info and collect in-the-moment feedback to move quickly and stay agile in any situation. 

To explore the ROI of digital frontline communication, we recently hosted a webinar featuring special guests from Forrester. Guest speaker Forrester Senior Consultant Veronica Iles walked attendees through Nudge’s recently commissioned Total Economic Impact™ Study, conducted by Forrester Consulting, which included a three-year ROI of 484%. Then, Nudge COO Jordan Ekers and guest speaker, Forrester Senior Analyst of Digital Commerce, Scott Compton, discussed the trending challenges facing the frontline, and the role that technology can play in bringing these organizations into the “new normal.”

The webinar is now available for on-demand viewing, but in the meantime, here are our top 3 takeaways from The ROI of Digital Frontline Communication: 

1. The labor crisis is far from over – but the drivers behind it might be different than you’d think

The US labor participation rate is at its lowest point that we’ve seen since the mid 1970’s when women joined the workforce en masse,” explains guest speaker Scott Compton, Forrester’s Senior Analyst of Digital Commerce. “Deskless workers are having a harder time deciding to go back to that job. Potentially they’ve shifted to other lines of work while things were shut down. And whatever it was bringing them there before isn’t as compelling.” 

But the labor crisis facing frontline and deskless organizations isn’t just about a shift from workers. Compton also noted that the demands consumers are placing on retailers have also added to a strain on the workforce. “Store associates are actually having to do more on the floor than they ever were before. And then through cleaning and other regiments like that on top of it,” he explains. 

One additional angle Compton noted was impacting the labor crisis is pressure from consumers about how organizations treat their labor. “About 47 percent or so of consumers think brands should take a stand on minimum wage and roughly 37 percent say that fair wages help them determine where to shop,” said Compton. “So basically if you’re not taking care of your employees, your customers are eventually going to know about it and decide to shop somewhere else. So there are a ton of basic pressures on retailers right now.”

2. There’s been a post-COVID “major flush in communication tools,” but not all tools are created equal

When COVID hit, Compton explained, one of the first areas that really broke for frontline and deskless organizations was communication. “A feedback loop on those communication paths became very, very critical as doors were deciding basically to continue to stay open and what they needed to keep serving the customer,” he explained. 

However, not all communication tools are created equal. “Just because you can send an SMS message or an email or a push message, whatever it might be, does not mean that you have a platform that’s enabled to do the real work related to communications and getting in front of those frontline employees.” 

In other words: just because you have a method to share information doesn’t mean it’s the right one. “We have a stat that millennials and Gen Z workers will be 74% of the workforce by 2030,” says Compton. “And these folks have grown up digitally native, if not adopted them very early in their lives. And they have different expectations about the way that they want to interact with their tool sets at work. And we need to be evolving with them.”

3. To optimize the customer experience, focus on knowledge and information (through the right tech)

“So a little perspective on the US consumer right now,” Compton explains. “Roughly a third are increasing the frequency and the duration of their store visits – so not only are we going back into stores, but we’re staying longer, which is also a good sign. But roughly half the consumers are noticing that the stores seem under-staffed or they find it difficult to find associates.”

And that’s a problem, because according to Compton, the whole reason that consumers are going back in-store is to get answers directly.  “There’s still the consumer need to interact with a human being in the store environment, especially with real knowledge about the product and its use, and local trends. So there’s still a lot to be said for that specific location being a very strong brand presence. Even taking the transaction pieces away.”

Having the right communication tools in place can play a pivotal role in arming associates with the information they need to deliver on the in-store experience, especially considering that with the line between in-store and digital getting blurred, consumers are coming into stores with more information than ever before. “Consumers want ease and efficiency. They know the information is out there in terms of product data, and they expect those store associates to at least have the tool sets that they have in their hands when they come in the front door.”

Watch the full on-demand webinar here for more insights from Jordan Ekers and Scott Compton, plus a full review of Nudge’s recently commissioned Total Economic Impact™ Study, conducted by Forrester Consulting, with guest speaker, Forrester Senior Consultant Veronica Iles.

3 takeaways from our September Spark Session

3 takeaways from our September Spark Session

Last week marked a milestone for the DESKLESS community: our first Spark Session! These virtual events combine an exclusive experience (this one was a tea and chocolate pairing with a tea sommelier!) with an insightful roundtable discussion with industry leaders – plus networking breakout sessions at the end. 

For our first Spark Session, the theme of the roundtable discussion was spilling the tea – we pushed our speaker lineup to share what’s keeping them up at night – and their best-kept secrets for leading frontline teams. 

And believe us: this was a stacked speaker line up. We’re talking Tony Weisman, Advisor and former CMO of Dunkin’, Norman de Greve, CMO of CVS Health, and Lindsey Goodchild, CEO and Co-Founder of Nudge.

Wondering what they talked about? Below are three of our favourite conversations from the event. 

Psst…want more exclusive takeaways? Join the conversation in the DESKLESS app! Download the app today in the App Store or on Google Play and use the code #DESKLESS when signing up! 

1. The labor crisis is still raging – but not for the reasons you’d think

The biggest challenge when it comes to leading frontline workers? “Finding enough of them,” says CVS Health CMO Norman de Greve. “We’re out looking for another 25,000 people.”

But while actually finding workers is a challenge for frontline and deskless organizations, the trickier hurdle is getting them to stay. “Fundamentally, you’ve got to create a place that people want to work at,” says de Greve. “You’ve really got to think about what’s the environment you put them in? And how do you connect with them?”

It’s what former Dunkin’ CMO Tony Weisman calls “the pressing reality of finding, keeping, and inspiring.” And while the pandemic is undoubtedly the cause of this labor shortage, it’s not just about government subsidies and safety concerns – it’s also about a radical shift in the way the world works. 

“Work has changed in the last couple of years at a rate that none of us expected,” explains Weisman. “I love deskless as a term to describe the new type of work that’s done by millions of people in thousands and thousands of different ways. And because there’s all those opportunities for people to have a lot more flexibility over their own scheduling, the type of work, where and how they work, that’s led to a problem. Which is that people are pickier and moving around more. Not just between jobs – but between cities and lifestyles.” 

2. We’re at a tipping point for for the frontline employee experience

When discussing the importance of innovation in frontline organizations, Nudge CEO Lindsey Goodchild talked about how happy she is to see new technology and new investments being placed on companies that are focused on serving the deskless workforce. 

“It’s really exciting, because traditionally, venture capital is not really flowing into the deskless space,” says Goodchild. “But in the past two or three years, that’s significantly changed. There is so much opportunity for innovation.”

And employees are starving for this innovation. “They see a huge opportunity for technology to come in and help make a difference,” says Goodchild. “We’re at this really exciting tipping point where everybody’s recognizing that 80% of the world is deskless, and the technology investment there has been less than it should have been. But I think that the last 18 months have shown us so many opportunities. And so I think we’re just at the beginning of a lot of new, new, new when it comes to technology for this space.”

The panel discussed how the deskless workforce’s hunger for technology and innovation also speaks to the evolution of how people process information. 

“We have 180,000 people in our stores. The average person working in our stores is a millennial – and they process information fundamentally differently. But our technology systems, like most companies, are built up for legacy systems,” explains de Greve. He used sharing company values as an example of how ineffective communication can be when you pair legacy technology with the modern frontline: 

“Here’s what could happen. We communicate our values to our frontline, it goes into like some Times new Roman font on a to-do list – like, here are the new values. And then it shows up on a screensaver of some cash register. And like, let’s just be honest, that’s not going to do anything. But if you had the ideal world, where like you were demonstrating your values in a social media interface, where people could see how you’re really committing to them over and over again, it’s visceral. It’s connected to them in a way they process information today, and they would believe you a lot more. So technology can help you get there a lot faster than the traditional way.”

3. The future of frontlines: high-tech and empathetic

Technology was a common discussion point throughout the panel – as was our speakers’ excitement around where these new innovations will take us in the coming years. 

“I think that we are about to enter an era where the real and the virtual really are starting to come together in meaningful ways,” says Weisman. “Look at this conversation we’re having right here, compared to what it would have been like two years ago, on a dial-in conference call. Now, that’s not to say that this is a replacement for being in a room together, but if you think about where things were, we’re moving. And I think that the people who are responsible for creating technology going forward are becoming even more and more aware of the importance of making it feel human and empathetic and connected. If you’re in the world of using technology to solve problems, I think this is an exciting time to be doing it.”

For de Greve, technology is driving his industry to completely transform. “The future of healthcare is completely changing,” he says. “It is going to rely on a much more distributed workforce. It could be in your home, it could be in a clinic, could be in a store, it could be lots of places. And that’s going to use a different workforce. And it’s going to use a workforce that’s more consistently interacting with people. And it’s going to revolve around solving the fundamental needs of consumers. I’m really excited about where health is. And I think it’s actually going to, it’s going to be a fundamentally different model than what we all grew up with.”

“No matter the industry that you’re in, we’re just entering a new era of how we do things,” adds Lindsey. “And I think they’re going to be more human and more fun. I think that the future is really bright. As much as the last year and a half has been really difficult. I think at the end of the day; it has pushed us all in different ways. And those are skills that we’re going to carry forward.”

Want more? Remember: we’ve got three more key takeaways from this event: 

   4. The biggest mistake most frontline leaders (including our panel!) make

   5. A trick the US Army can teach us about prioritizing agility and adaptability

   6. The secret to building trust with the most skeptical generation ever, Millennials 

But to get this exclusive content, you need to join the DESKLESS app! Download the app today in the App Store or on Google Play and use the code #DESKLESS when signing up! But don’t wait: we’ll be sharing these three mind-blowing conversations (including exclusive video from the event!) soon.

5 ways to know if your staff is prepared for your next product launch

5 ways to know if your staff is prepared for your next product launch

As we settle into a post-pandemic “normal,” the retail world can shift their attention back to the initiatives that drive a significant part of their annual revenue. We’re talking product launches. Season promotions (the holidays are coming!). Even operational shifts, like the protocol changes and updated processes we’ve all become so familiar with over the past two years. 

And as the key events take place, there’s one question retailers need to ask: is my retail staff prepared? 

After all, your associates are crucial to the success of these product launches. If they’re not prepared, if they’re not armed with the right information, if they don’t know the promo inside and out, your organization is at risk to lose precious revenue – not to mention deliver poor customer experience. 

But here’s the challenge: when your retail staff numbers in the thousands and is spread across the country (or beyond!), how can you know if everyone is prepared? How can you be sure that every location is staying consistent with their execution? What’s the metric that measures workforce readiness

Digital communication to the rescue! With the right retail communication strategy in place, you’ll be able to identify and support at-risk employees or locations before your product launch – and even learn the cause, whether it’s missing information, ineffective communication, you name it.

Ready to set your next product launch up for success? Here are 5 questions you can ask to know if your retail staff is prepared for your next product launch:

1. Am I sharing enough information? 

There’s no way your retail staff will be prepared if they don’t have access to the right information. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how often this step is missed, and crucial information is left un-shared. To help with knowledge retention, keep your internal communications bite-sized – but also keep larger resources like handbooks and launch assets on-hand in an easy-to-access hub. 

This is also where the right technology comes into play. In a recent survey, 70% of deskless workers reported that more technology would help them do their jobs better. Having a digital platform they can access from their phones (we know a great one!) ensures they have the right information at the right time, which can be the secret sauce of a successful product launch. 

2. Am I testing their knowledge retention?

Sure, you can monitor your workforce metrics to see if your associates are reading your communications. But there’s a big difference between reading information and retaining it. The forgetting curve tells us that workers are likely to forget up to 70% of new information within 24 hours. That’s why it’s so important to avoid overload by reiterating information in bite-sized pieces – and focus on testing employees on an ongoing basis. 

The best way to know if they’ve truly absorbed the intel is to test them. Use quick, engaging quizzes to see if your retail staff knows the key elements of your product launch plan. Look for major knowledge gaps that need to be addressed at the employee, location, or regional level. 

3. Am I reinforcing tasks?

Ah, operational consistency. A crucial part of any successful product launch. A tried-and-tested way to ensure that your workforce is sticking to your SOPs and keeping execution as consistent as possible is to reinforce tasks on an ongoing basis. In fact, this repeated recall of information can improve knowledge retention by up to 80 percent.

This could be done at each location during pre-shift huddles, or scaled up to the full organization using a central task management system (Nudge has one baked right into its communication platform!). 

4. Am I pulse-checking their confidence?

Employee pulse checks aren’t just for employee engagement. You can use these quick surveys to ask your retail staff how confident they are about upcoming product launches, new promos, or other company-wide initiatives. This is a great way to uncover concerns at the associate level that have gone completely unnoticed at head office. Let’s not forget that terrifying iceberg of ignorance

5. Am I gathering feedback?

Another way to know if your staff is prepared is to gather upward feedback. This will not only identify problems before the product launch, it will also unearth those untapped ideas and insights your retail staff is holding on to that could improve the process. Fostering a feedback culture is crucial at any time, but when you’re gearing up for a product launch, you need to be especially open to hearing concerns, ideas, and best practices that can boost efficiency at scale, and remove any unnecessary barriers that could hinder a successful product launch. 

Asking yourself any of these five questions is a great way to check in on the effectiveness of your retail staff, the level of workforce readiness you’ve achieved, and the operational consistency of your organization as a whole. But answering all five of these questions when you’re gearing up for a product launch is a fantastic way to know exactly how prepared your workforce is – and what you need to do to set everyone up for success.

Workforce analytics: A 3-minute explainer

Workforce analytics: A 3-minute explainer

What does every organization want? 

Better business outcomes: higher profits, lower turnover, better productivity and efficiency. And the key to shifting the needle on these crucial metrics is simple: your workforce. 

To set up your organization to thrive, you need to harness the power of your workforce. And to tap into your employees, you need workforce analytics. 

What is workforce analytics?

Workforce analytics is the process of tracking and analyzing key employee metrics to make fact-based, data-driven decisions to improve performance, engagement, and more. 

Long gone are the days where people analytics were just for HR teams. Now, this crucial data is used to drive better business outcomes across organizations – everything from sales and CX to operational efficiency and productivity. 

“Companies are investing heavily in programs to use data for all aspects of workforce planning, talent management, and operational improvement. People analytics, a discipline that started as a small technical group that analyzed engagement and retention, has now gone mainstream,” explains Deloitte“Analytics is shifting from a focus on HR to a focus on the business itself.”

Tracking workforce analytics allows organizations to tap into workforce insights – i.e., the stories your data tells: How engaged is your workforce? How reachable are your teams in uncertain times? How confident are your employees in executing current or future programs and strategies? These aren’t questions to answer with your gut. These are questions that can – and should – be answered with data. 

Why is workforce analytics so important? 

“In my experience, organizations that use workforce analytics have the most engaged workforces and they thrive in tough conditions,” explains Tim Ringo, co-author of Calculating Success: How the New Workplace Analytics Will Revitalize Your Organization, in an article for HBR

“When faced with a major investment decision, how many organizations would bet their success on a gut feeling? How many organizations would rely mainly on intuition when taking a new product to market? Not many. Yet, when it comes to the workforce – one of a company’s most expensive and valuable assets – too many executives rely on hunches, making decisions without making use of relevant data.”

In other words: workforce analytics gives organizations the data and insights to stay agile and responsive, and set its employees up for success.

Workforce analytics for deskless organizations

While harvesting people analytics is crucial for any workforce, it becomes especially valuable for deskless organizations with massive employee bases spread across the country – or the world. Collecting and analyzing workforce data is like scaling up your gut. It allows you to make informed decisions to boost the efficiency and operational agility of your teams, no matter the size. 

Capturing these insights might seem like a challenge, but you can start small. Here’s a list of the top employee metrics every organization should be tracking. (Psst…a digital employee communication platform will make harvesting and analyzing this data a breeze!

6 employee metrics every deskless organization should be tracking

6 employee metrics every deskless organization should be tracking

This is an excerpt from our Ultimate Guide to Deskless Employee Communication. Download the free 40+ page guide for more information on workforce metrics – and building out your communication strategy.

Tracking employee metrics helps organizations to make fact-based, data-driven decisions to improve performance, engagement, and more. Whether you have a formal employee communication strategy in place or not, these are the numbers you want to keep an eye on. 

Why? Workforce analytics allow organizations to tap into workforce insights, i.e., the stories your data tells. How engaged is your workforce? How reachable are your teams? How confident are your employees in executing current or future programs and strategies? These aren’t questions to answer with your gut. These are questions that can – and should – be answered with data. 

Here are 6 employee metrics every deskless organization should be tracking: 

1. Adoption and reachability 

This is a crucial metric for any communication strategy. It answers the question, “Who can I reach?” Ideally, the answer would be 100% of your workforce. At Nudge, we consider employees reachable if they’ve used our app in the past 90 days, but this metric might differ depending on your platform or communication tool. 

2. Open/read rates

Again, this will depend on your communication tools and channels, but ideally you have a metric to track how your workforce is consuming content. What percentage of your staff opened your latest announcement? How many read to the end? How many clicked the CTA at the bottom? How often are SOPs accessed and read? These numbers, where available, will help you see whether your content is actually being read by your employees. 

3. Feedback metrics

We’ve already touched on the importance of a channel for two-way feedback. Employee metrics are a great way to get an at-a-glance understanding of whether you’re fostering a culture of feedback across the organization. These might be participation metrics or even word clouds highlighting what key sentiments are coming from your teams. 

4. Execution/employee performance metrics

Depending on your industry and organization, you might be leveraging standardized task lists within your internal communication strategy to reiterate standard protocols and processes. Employee performance metrics on your most frequently assigned tasks and their completion rates will indicate the effectiveness and consistency of your execution.

5. Knowledge rates 

Generated through knowledge testing and quizzes, knowledge rates will show whether the information that has been shared has been properly retained. This will ensure you’re identifying knowledge gaps as quickly as possible. 

6. Employee engagement metrics

The final step in measuring success in your teams is to see whether all the above employee metrics have done their job in fostering engaged, empowered teams. Employee engagement metrics can be measured in a variety of ways. They can be an aggregate metric based on how your employees engage with your communication and feedback channels, or it can be based on dedicated surveys and pulse checks.  

Need help remembering these metrics? Here’s a handy one-pager from our Ultimate Guide to Deskless Employee Communication 👇

Employee metrics one-pager | Nudge

Reviewing workforce insights provides a comprehensive overview of your workforce’s engagement, confidence, and satisfaction – all of which lead to better business outcomes. These employee metrics can also be used to identify warning signs, like disengagement, that can be addressed before they lead to productivity issues or turnover. 

Not sure how to harvest these metrics? Depending on what types of communication technology and tools you already have set up, these numbers can come from multiple areas, like email/newsletter readership, test results, survey completion rates, and more. But this is really where a digital employee communication platform becomes especially useful. Built-in workforce analytics make it easy to measure (and analyze!) all the crucial numbers you should be tracking. 

Proven ROI of 484%

Forrester Consulting's Total Economic Impact™ study found a 484% ROI with Nudge!*

*over three years.