What hybrid learning can teach us about gamification

What hybrid learning can teach us about gamification

It’s back to school time 🍎🚌, and while lockdown-induced online learning is (hopefully) a thing of the past, classrooms are still leveraging some of the gamification and game-based learning tactics they adopted and honed during the pandemic. 

Why? Gamification works. “Games are the only force in the known universe that can get people to take actions against their self-interest, in a predictable way, without using force,” says Gabe Zichermann, co-author of Gamification in Design. Whenever we do activities that stimulate our bodies and minds, our body releases endorphins, which naturally improve our mood. This gives learners a feeling of excitement whenever they complete a game-based lesson, as well as a sense of accomplishment. As a result, they are motivated to engage with the lesson more and keep learning. 

Most studies on gamification in schools have reported an increase of learning and/or motivation among participating students. Game elements associated with competition, such as leaderboards and points, have been the most common ones, resulting in higher levels of engagement and learning outcomes, with similar results being reported in simulation procedures and quizzes. 

Clearly, there’s a thing or two organizations can learn from those who have been leveraging gamification to great effect: teachers. So let’s head back into the classroom for seven things that hybrid learning can teach us about gamification. 

1. Make gamified initiatives competitive, not destructive

Many games include at least some degree of competition such as leaderboards, rewards for top players, and badges of recognition for high achievements. Educators leverage this to drive students to participate and improve learning effectiveness.But the aim of learning gamification isn’t to create cutthroat competition: it’s to foster a positive environment. 

Competition can have a constructive effect on participation and learning, but it also has the potential to undermine a student’s motivation. Destructive competition that requires tearing other people down makes people feel irrelevant and oppressed, which is not what frontliners should be experiencing. Instead, consider constructive competition that requires collaboration and mutual support, such as exercises aimed at improving everyone’s skills instead of defeating someone. 

2. Capitalize on the instant feedback gamification encourages

One of the biggest benefits of gamification is how quickly your frontline can get feedback. Whether organizations are leveraging it for training, communication, task execution or other initiatives, there’s a valuable opportunity for continuous improvement and growth. “Players” know instantly how they did, thus allowing for quicker learning and better information retention. Leverage this as much as possible when constructing your own gamified programs, with quizzes, challenges, and puzzles that instantly tell stuff how they did and – how they could do better. 

3. Focus on competence, not performance

In the study, Why Gamification Fails in Education and How to Make It Successful, authors Rob van Roy and Bieke Zaman write,“Learners who experience competence are found to be more persistent and have better study results than learners who feel incompetent. In order to optimally motivate learners, tasks should be designed in such a way that they just fall outside the learners’ comfort zone while still being perceived as attainable.” 

In other words: gamification is supposed to challenge staff, but not to the point where they begin to feel incompetent. Judging by performance means there is always going to be a loser. An employee could do a perfectly good job and learn all of their job skills properly, yet still be considered a “failure” because one of their peers outperformed everyone else on the leaderboard. That’s not very motivating, is it?

4. Offer badges of achievement

They worked for Cub Scouts for a reason! Badges provide validation that participants excel – or are at least competent – at a task, even if they’re not the top employee. And, the better they look, the bigger the impact. 

“Compared to traditional grading in educational settings, these badges can provide more information and yield more motivational power,” explain van Roy and Zaman. “More particularly, well-designed badges can give both outcome and progress feedback.” 

5. Award points for non-academic objectives

When it comes to gamification, organizations should remember that it’s not just about training employees to learn concepts or absorb knowledge. It’s about enabling staff to do their jobs more effectively. You want to use gamification to incentivize the right behavior – and points can help. For example, an employee might collect points for helping a coworker, or successfully resolving a customer complaint. 

The idea behind this kind of system is that it’s positive reinforcement. Nothing bad happens to the employee if they’re too busy to help a co-worker, but they do get rewarded if they do so. Penalizing employees or deducting points will just lower morale and make them less likely to participate, especially if they’re already overworked or burnt out. 

6. Make it social

The magic of game-based learning is that it can bring a classroom together, and create camaraderie among the students and teachers. Maybe there’s a little friendly competition between classes, or grades – all of it helps to drive participation and enthusiasm in the program. 

The same is true of frontlines. Organizations can implement group challenges where employees will have to work with others in order to accomplish goals, or set up a competition between locations. The competition could be as simple as driving awareness around a certain new product or menu item – don’t overthink it. 

7. Allow for choice and autonomy

People don’t love being told to do things. Students, employees… some things don’t change. So embedding a sense of choice in your gamified programs will set your organization up for success.

“If the challenges form an obligatory part of the course, learners will rather feel externally controlled by the obligation to complete the challenges, and as a result may start feeling anxious and losing autonomous motivation,” explain van Roy and Zaman.

The key here is to give a choice. According to van Roy and Zaman’s research, staff can feel autonomous in a no-choice situation if they are given the freedom to choose how they want to approach the task. One example could be letting the employee choose which training they want to start with, or what skill testing question they want to answer. The study notes, however, that the choice should align with your staff’s values and priorities. If you are giving an employee sales training but they don’t want to be in sales, then no amount of choice or gamification is going to motivate them. 

Gamification can be a powerful and effective tool for training your frontline employees, but it has to be approached with care and thought. By adopting hard-earned lessons from the academic community, you’ll be ready to embed a little competition into any program. Game on!

How to drive brand advocacy in frontline workers (hint: the answer isn’t hiring bonuses!)

How to drive brand advocacy in frontline workers (hint: the answer isn’t hiring bonuses!)

In case you missed it, last week we shared Nudge COO Jordan Ekers’ three-step plan for driving discretionary effort in frontline workers:

“Frontline organizations, particularly in retail, hospitality, and foodservice, are in rebuild mode. They’re up against a perfect storm, with supply chain delays and shortages, changing consumer behavior, and many other challenges. And while finding and retaining staff is part of the solution, a much bigger effort should be placed on empowering existing staff to go the extra mile. Because if you have your staff on board, collectively working to drive your core mission, increase revenue, and constantly deliver next-level customer and guest experience… you’re going to jump leaps and bounds in front of the competition. And that’s the magic of discretionary effort.” 

And step one in this process? Culturally inspiring your workforce. “How do you inspire them to fall in love with the brand that they choose to work for, so that they care about their job, the brand, and the customer experience,” Ekers wrote. “How, in other words, do you transform an entire workforce into brand advocates?”

So that’s what we’ll talk about today: how to transform your workforce into brand advocates. 

Of course, it’s not easy. Culturally inspiring at scale has its challenges, especially when a workforce numbers in the thousands – or tens of thousands – dispersed across the globe. And, let’s face it: we’re in challenging times. Allocating time, energy, and budget toward driving brand advocacy among frontline workers is often an uphill battle.

Speaking of budget, here’s one pitfall you can avoid: hiring bonuses. You’ve likely seen posters and billboards all over; brands like Papa John’s and Disney World are offering cash (from $50 to over $6,000 for more specialty positions) for new hires that meet specific criteria, like staying on for a certain amount of time. 

Are hiring bonuses getting the attention of frontline candidates? Yes. Are they going to magically transform your staff into the brand advocates you need for long-term success? Likely not. 

In a (dated, but still relevant) article for Harvard Business Review, author and lecturer Alfie Kohn cited a series of studies run by Northwestern University that attempted to test the “bonus effect” and whether or not it actually works. 

“What they found was both straightforward and remarkably consistent,” wrote Kohn. “When people are promised a monetary reward for doing a task well, the primary outcome is that they get more excited about money. This happens even when they don’t meet the standard for getting paid.”

In other words, it doesn’t get at the core driver of brand advocacy: cultural inspiration. 

Because culturally inspiring your staff doesn’t come from compensation – at least, not compensation alone. It comes from answering one simple question: “Why.” Why should your employees care about their job? Why should they want your organization to succeed? Why should they care? The answer to that question might be, in part, a competitive employee compensation and benefits – but there’s so much more to it. 

Here are 3 ways to culturally inspire your workforce to drive brand advocacy:

1. Support your staff’s mental health 

Food service and retail have always been stressful jobs, but now it’s even more so. With the COVID-19 pandemic and the additional burden employees face because of staffing challenges, they are under more pressure than ever. A recent interview with food expert Sylvain Charlebois goes deeper into into the challenges facing foodservice workers: 

“They have been showing up to work every day generally unsure as to the safety and security of their jobs as well as the health of the businesses they’re working for. In addition, many of their jobs and the way they used to do things changed overnight. The ways they interact with and serve the customer changed. Some establishments also introduced new services like curbside pickup which requires new skills, new equipment and new ways of doing things. As a result, many had to essentially retrain themselves, on the fly, in order to continue doing their job effectively. It’s all caused an incredible amount of stress and adds up to a big mental health issue that operators within the foodservice sector have got to address.”

In fact, the Foodservice Deskless Report found that burnout is one of the top three reasons employees in this industry want to quit. But prioritizing mental health is about so much more than retaining staff. As Josh Bersin puts it, employee mental health is no longer an HR KPI – it’s a business strategy: “Before you delegate the mental health issue to the benefits department, let me suggest something else. This is a responsibility of leadership (who also feel stressed out), so look at it as a strategy. If you, as a leadership team, can focus on mental health first, financial success will likely follow.”

2. Foster a sense of community

Frontline employees spend a huge chunk of their lives at work, so it makes sense that they would want to feel like they belong. In fact, 60% of deskless workers would like to have a stronger community with workers outside of their location. Being connected would improve both morale and retention significantly. Need proof? 38% of polled workers feel that a strong workplace community would make them more engaged and motivated. And according to Gallup, engaged employees are far more likely to stay. They found that business units in high-turnover organizations have 24% less turnover than non-engaged business units.

3. Review how information is flowing

If there was one major takeaway from last year’s Deskless Report, it’s that there’s a huge disconnect between workers and leaders on the effectiveness of internal communication. Frontline workers are desperate for more information about company updates, product information, you name it. And, unfortunately, insufficient or unclear information leads to uncertainty, which leads to stress – which isn’t going to foster brand advocates. 

Ineffective communication is also a missed opportunity for sharing the “why” – for baking your brand mission and core values into everything you share. On the other hand, when you can connect a company update or task back to the core question of “why”… you’re well on your way to culturally inspiring your staff. 

But for the “why” to resonate, your communication needs to be flowing effectively and consistently. 

A hiring bonus may be flashy and draw lots of attention (and press!), but it alone won’t help drive discretionary effort by fostering brand advocates. 

For that, you need to culturally inspire your staff by answering that one magic question, again and again: “why.”

The magic recipe for avoiding information overload with your frontline staff

The magic recipe for avoiding information overload with your frontline staff

We’ve already talked about how information overload could be having a serious negative impact on your frontline staffIt’s a problem afflicting much of the modern workforce due to the rise of tech and easy access to information. Information overload makes it difficult to make sound decisions, causes stress and mental health issues, and in some cases has even caused depression and serious medical complications. 

According to a report by Deloitte, “information overload and the always-connected 24/7 work environment are overwhelming workers, undermining productivity and contributing to low employee engagement.”

Luckily, there’s a solution. Here’s the magic recipe for avoiding information overload – and sharing communications your staff will actually read and retain. 

1. Run an internal communications audit

The first thing you should always do when you try to improve a problem is to investigate it fully. An internal communications audit will help you determine:

  • The extent of the problem
  • The problem’s impact on productivity and quality
  • Any effect on morale
  • Likely causes
  • Potential solutions

Note that this audit doesn’t have to be a comprehensive, all-encompassing audit, either. You can run an audit with a very limited scope (in fact, that could be even more effective at getting useful results than a general-purpose audit). 

An audit for this purpose would cover informational overload and the factors contributing to it, such as internal communication policies, tools being used, and the format and nature of the content being sent out. 

2. Keep things short and bite-sized

Frontline staff can’t leaf through dense, multi-page documents, or watch an entire 15-minute corporate video. They simply don’t have the time. 

Instead, keep it short and simple. If you’re sharing an announcement or product information, limit yourself to a few key points, and then direct staff to longer resources in a central hub. If it’s a video, chop it down to a few minutes, max. 

It sounds counter-intuitive, but making your communications shorter will actually increase your chances of getting your entire message across.

3. Triage what information goes out and when

The Deskless Report found that while 86% of frontline leaders say they’re sending meaningful communications to their workers, 59% of frontline workers say the communications they receive aren’t actually useful.

This is a serious gap in the effectiveness of internal communications that can not only lead to information overload – it can erode your workforce’s trust in management. By sending out too many irrelevant communications, or sending the wrong information at the wrong time, you’re sending the message that head office is out of touch with what’s really going on at the frontline – and your workforce will stop paying attention. 

Every type of internal communication has a time and a place. It’s up to you as a leader to know when it’s a good time to send one out, and when it’s better to hold off or consolidate communications for another time. Not only will this result in avoiding information overload – it will build trust with your staff and drive more engagement with your communications. 

4. Focus on targeted, segmented communications

We’ve all fallen prey to the “cc” and “bcc” traps – and the same pitfalls are possible with frontline communication. One of the best things you can do to reduce information overload is to limit communications to highly targeted groups. Just because you can copy the entire frontline workforce, doesn’t mean you should

The longer it takes employees to sort through their messages and find what’s relevant to them, the less time they have to digest what’s actually important. Be intentional about how you target your comms. What do frontline workers need to know versus floor managers? Does every region need to get an announcement about an upcoming promotion, or is it just relevant to the west coast? If you’re re-sharing information, does it need to go to everyone, or just the workers who are still exhibiting knowledge gaps? 

For example, in a recent webinar, Tania Walsh, Manager of Digital Communications Strategy at telecommunications brand TELUS, talked about how she mitigates communication fatigue by targeting associates based on three tenures and knowledge levels –  Novice, Average, and Master. Meaning, new hires get a lot more context than a sales rep that has been with the organization for a decade. 

5. Include the “why” 

Information overload isn’t just about the amount of information received; it’s also about the quality of information. How easy is it to digest and remember? Can a frontline employee immediately internalize the information they’re getting?

Giving context, or the “why,” when you communicate often makes it more accessible for staff, so that they can better understand and act on the information you’re giving them. 

Let’s say you’re announcing a policy change. If you give specific reasons for the policy change, it increases the likelihood employees will support the change and even be motivated to help other team members adjust, too. It also arms them with the information they need to provide a memorable customer or guest experience while implementing the changes. 

Not that it’s always easy. “Sometimes it can seem like the enemy of simplicity is context,” says Walsh. But it’s important to give that sense of “why” while being concise. Walsh always tries to bake three “whys” into her communications: why it’s important for the company, why it’s important for the associate, and why it’s important for the customer. “It brings them along in the journey,” she says. 

6. Rethink how information is presented

Finding the right mix of how information is shared with your staff can be an integral part of avoiding information overload. After all, how an employee gets information is just as important as what information they get. That’s why communication tools should be audited on a regular basis – companies should always be looking for the right balance of tools, processes, and human interaction. 

It’s a delicate balance. Pre-shift team huddles, for instance, are great opportunities for employee engagement and feedback, and are an efficient way for managers to reinforce company values. Relying on them too much, however, can have its downsides as managers can easily get trapped in a communication cascade.

And as we already mentioned, keeping announcements short and bite-sized is a great way to boost info retention and engagement, but you’ll likely need to supplement those communications with a hub of longer resources that staff can access as needed. 

Information overload is a serious problem that needs to be tackled from multiple angles. Not sure if your workforce is at risk? Check out our recent post for signs of frontline information overload

The ROI of frontline workforce analytics

The ROI of frontline workforce analytics

Workforce analytics is one of those things that has been around for a long time, and is crucial for business growth and longevity – yet isn’t used as much as it should. 

A Deloitte survey found that 71% of companies consider workforce analytics to be a high organizational priority, and 31% even rate it as “highly important.” But actually executing on these analytics programs involves collecting, analyzing, and interpreting employee data, which can be intimidating for organizations – particularly deskless ones, where they’re looking to collect data from thousands of workers. There’s a lot involved, which admittedly makes it difficult to see the tangible benefits from such an endeavor. 

Part of the issue is that organizations often pigeonhole workforce analytics as a purely HR tool, used to inform recruitment and retention tactics. That’s just one component of a much wider spectrum of benefits that workforce analytics can provide to deskless organizations, particularly in the operations realm and other related areas of the business. In fact, this valuable data provides business-wide ROI that can’t be overlooked. 

In other words: it’s not just an HR play anymore. Here are 4 ways workforce analytics can drive better business outcomes across your entire organization. 

1. Workforce analytics allow you to make informed decisions to drive performance and productivity

Executives need information in order to make effective decisions. And when they don’t have that information, it can lead to worries and insecurity. That’s what The Predictive Index found in their recent report, where employee performance and productivity topped a poll of issues that kept executives up at night

This same report showed that only 55% of companies regularly diagnose their employee engagement data. Which means they just don’t have the data to drive performance at scale – and that creates uncertainty and stunts growth. 

Using workforce analytics allows you to answer the questions that can inform these crucial decisions around performance:

  • How confident are my teams in executing a program or promotion?
  • How consistent are locations in implementing SOPs and protocols? 
  • How reachable is my team in uncertain times?
  • How at-risk is my workforce for mass turnover?

These employee metrics give leaders the insights they need to take action more confidently and with greater effectiveness. From there, organizations can tweak policies, implement new processes, and identify worrisome locations or regions quickly and easily – in short, you can support your frontline at scale. 

2. Workforce analytics help you identify key knowledge gaps

Knowledge gaps that cause money loss and safety issues, particularly among frontline and deskless employees that are at greater risk due to less robust training, poor employee communication, and inconsistent processes (fun fact: ineffective on-the-job training can cost businesses up to $13.5 million per 1000 employees per year). 

Employees are starting from a more difficult position as well, with less than 40% of millennials and 30% of Gen Z workers feeling like they have the skills necessary to succeed. This makes effective training programs an even more crucial, albeit costly, investment. 

But with proper workforce analytics, companies can get far more strategic with their training. Through execution metrics, surveys, knowledge quizzes and other data, analytics can identify knowledge gaps, protocol confusion, and other red flags. From there, organizations can triage their training to address the most urgent needs, then fill out the rest of the program as resources become available. 

 

Data-driven decisions guide cover | Nudge
Want to dive even deeper into the world of people analytics? Read our Guide to Making Data-Driven Decisions to help you understand what data-driven decisions are and why they’re important. You’ll learn what data to collect, how to harvest the metrics, and learn what to do with data.

 

3. Workforce analytics can provide insights to mitigate disengagement to avoid turnover and productivity loss

Pop quiz: Do you know whether or not your employees are engaged?

If you answered “yes,” then the follow up question to that is: “how can you be sure?”

Fact of the matter is, only 16% of companies use technology to measure and track employee progress and engagement. Those who don’t rely on a combination of observation, anecdotal evidence, gut feel, and wishful thinking. 

This means that you don’t know for sure whether or not your frontline and deskless employees – the ones who are in the most stressful positions – are burnt out or not. And seeing as burnout is responsible for up to half of workforce turnover, this is definitely an area that organizations can’t ignore. 

Data from mental health surveys, feedback forums, and other communication channels can help you establish your workforce’s level of burnout and disengagement. Performance and engagement analytics can further inform the potential business impact of your situation. 

With these tools in place, you’ll have an early-warning system and be able to act accordingly with disengagement strikes. You’ll be able to take measures to address employee burnout and other critical turnover risks – before they turn into costly employee turnover. 

4. Workforce analytics identify the trends that lead to better business outcomes

Workforce analytics data goes far beyond the basic employee metrics – it has the potential to transform your organization. 

Here’s an example: data analysis might discover that one branch of a retail franchise has consistently better sales, higher employee engagement scores, and lower turnover. You might then discover that this branch’s manager has initiated a few new policies that have completely transformed the location. The organization scales these policies company-wide, and numbers across all branches show significant improvement. You would never have detected that outlier branch without looking at the data. 

This may seem like a somewhat extreme example, but it’s not that far-fetched. That’s the power of best practice-sharing, and analytics is the channel to capture these valuable ideas at scale. 

The key to all of this, though, is capitalizing on it. 

According to LinkedIn, only 29% of companies consider themselves good at capitalizing on workforce analytics insights, while 37% admit they do a poor job. 

Granted, analytics isn’t always easy. It is not a plug-and-play program. It requires time, effort, and forethought in order to set up and execute. But depending on the communication channels you have in place, it can be as simple as clicking on a dashboard to learn all sorts of valuable insights about your workforce – and your organization as a whole.

Signs your frontline workforce has information overload (and why it’s a problem)

Signs your frontline workforce has information overload (and why it’s a problem)

Have you ever walked into a children’s birthday party when it was in full swing? It’s like walking into an ocean of noise; kids screaming and laughing and crying (sometimes all at once), running around all over the place making it impossible for you to sort names or faces. 

Now imagine all of those noises are internal communications: long-winded company announcements, lengthy product advisories, information that is only relevant to a segment of the workforce, the same communication delivered on multiple platforms…you get the idea. How can anyone know what’s relevant and important to them when they’re all yelling for attention?

This, my friend, is information overload. And your frontline workforce is suffering from it. 

Let’s dive deeper into what information overload is, what causes it, and what it does to your frontline workforce. 

What is information overload?

Information overload happens when a person receives more information than they can effectively process. Making a decision or performing tasks while suffering from information overload becomes difficult and can impair judgment. It can even cause physical and mental harm if it goes on for too long (more on that later). 

The term “information overload” first appeared in the 1964 book, The Managing of Organizations by Bertram Gross. Since then, numerous other studies have validated his observations, and the concept has been further explored by psychiatrists all over the world. 

The most recent evolution of Bertram’s idea is the concept of “infobesity,” which is associated with the glut of digital information thrust upon modern employees. People were already suffering from information overload in the pre-internet days, so you can imagine how much worse it is now that information is so readily accessible online. 

Frontline employees are particularly prone to this, as they only have a limited time to consume company and product updates (which are all marked “important”) before having to focus on their actual tasks. 

What causes information overload?

In Information Overload: Causes, Symptoms, and Solution, Harvard researcher (and, for a brief stint, Performance Enhancement and Culture Director for Chik-Fil-A) Joseph Ruff attributed information overload to five primary factors:

  • Technology
  • People
  • Organizations
  • Processes and tasks
  • Information attributes

All of these factors have a tendency to overlap, which makes it hard for businesses to manage the flow of information. 

Technology

Ruff is very clear on technology’s impact on employees. “Technology plays a significant role in the cause of information overload. It not only helps to create content information, it also gives us access to vast amounts of it. Learning how to use this technology introduces still more information with which to contend.”

Technology is ubiquitous in everything we do, especially in frontline organizations. Sure, it can drive operational efficiency and consistency, and make it easy to communicate with staff at scale, but organizations need to be aware of the impact of these tools, and ensure they’re using them effectively. 

People

Frontline employees work in a team environment, and that means close communication. Team members have to exchange info all the time under pressure – all while servicing customers. 

Site supervisors try to help coordinate workers mid-shift and pass along vital information from corporate, but this often results in a communication cascade, where the manager turns into an information bottleneck.

Organizations

Companies need to keep employees abreast of significant changes, but they have a habit of blasting every little update to every single employee, whether it’s relevant or not. “When the change process is implemented well,” Ruff says, “the information load can be reduced; when handled poorly information load can escalate.”

In other words: frontline workers don’t have the time to sift through a dozen company updates to find the ones that are the most relevant to them, so they just ignore it all.

Processes and tasks

According to Ruff, “The more complex a task is, the greater the information load and the more time required to complete it.” 

Training can help reduce this load, and experience can turn the most complex task into a simple routine, but any change in the process immediately throws a wrench into the works.

Does the customer have a special order? The cashier needs to think about how to explain it to the cook, who has to break from the established routine to accommodate it. Did corporate introduce a new menu item? This slows everyone down as staff try to familiarize themselves with it while still maintaining the SLA for regular items.

Information attributes

This is the most devious information overload factor by far. Digesting new information is tough enough, but is the new information reliable? Does the site manager have a bad habit of misinterpreting the information they get from corporate? When a coworker explains how a new product works, do they get it right? 

The less certain employees are about the quality of the information, the more confused they get – and the worse they perform. 

What does information overload do to your frontline workforce?

Information overload is a serious issue that can have a significantly negative impact on your business and, more importantly, on the wellbeing of your employees. Here are a few of the information overload symptoms that frontline organizations might see:

Mental health issues

Being bombarded with information on a regular basis is not good for you. One study of managers in the UK, USA, Hong Kong and Singapore found that 42% attributed ill-health to information overload, and two out of three respondents associated information overload with tension with colleagues and loss of job satisfaction. Another Gallup study found that information overload is one of the major factors driving 76% of workers to be experiencing burnout at work. 

Why? According to neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, information overload increases the production of cortisol, a stress hormone, as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline. These mental health issues are not to be taken lightly, as the effects will cascade to other areas.

Poor productivity

Frontline workers always have a lot of things to do, but never enough time to do it. Do you think they have time to read lengthy corporate memos? That’s a big “no.”

In fact, our recently-commissioned Total Economic Impact study, conducted by Forrester Consulting, found that store managers spent a whopping 1.5 hours a day reviewing and organizing information, and communicating it to frontline workers. That’s a lot of time in a retail environment – time that isn’t being spent assisting customers, managing staff, and maintaining smooth operations. 

Team cohesion and employee morale

Stress is never good for relationships – and especially in workplace relationships, where there’s high tension and constant pressure. 

We already talked about how information overload led respondents in one study to have increased tension with colleagues. This tension will lead to lower team morale and poor location performance, and may even trigger employee turnover. 

Safety concerns

According to Daniel Levitin, stress-induced brain fatigue can lead to “a depleted state in which, after making lots of insignificant decisions, we can end up making truly bad decisions about something important.”

And what could be more important than workplace safety? Manufacturing facilities are a dangerous place, with a lot of heavy equipment and hazardous materials, and the slightest lapse in judgment can be lethal. And while the dangers in retail and foodservice roles are less pronounced, incidents can still turn ugly when people aren’t paying attention. 

Knowledge gaps

If a retail worker is so overwhelmed with information that he can’t digest anything, then what’s going to happen when a customer asks him a question?

Nothing, that’s what. 

The worker has no answer, the customer gets no info, and you make no sales. This consequence of information overload can hobble your workforce readiness, which may tank the performance any of the product launches you may be planning.

Information overload is a serious issue that, if left unchecked, can harm your frontline staff, increase turnover, and decrease customer satisfaction and profit.