[WEBINAR] What’s the ROI of digital frontline communication?

[WEBINAR] What’s the ROI of digital frontline communication?

As the world navigates out of these unforeseen times into a new normal, what’s keeping you up at night? 

Operational efficiency? Employee turnover? Creating memorable customer experiences? No matter what the challenge facing your deskless organization, we have the answer: our live webinar, The ROI of Digital Frontline Communication.

Now more than ever, frontline and deskless organizations need to support their workforce. And that support starts with the technology that enables organizations to share real-time info and collect in-the-moment feedback from their most valuable asset: their employees. 

In this two-part webinar, we’ll start with guest speaker, Forrester Senior Consultant Veronica Iles. She will walk through Nudge’s recently commissioned Total Economic Impact™ Study, conducted by Forrester Consulting, to dive deeper into Forrester’s findings (spoiler alert: we got a three-year ROI of 484%!). 

Then, Nudge COO Jordan Ekers and guest speaker, Forrester Senior Analyst of Digital Commerce Scott Compton, will discuss the trending challenges facing the frontline, and the role that technology can play in bringing these organizations into the “new normal.” Topics will include the role of employees in achieving operational efficiency, and how better communication leads to quality customer experiences.

On Wednesday, October 13, see how effective frontline communication can deliver tangible outcomes across your organization. Register now to save your spot!

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.

6 ways to boost employee engagement through effective internal communication

6 ways to boost employee engagement through effective internal communication

For over 20 years, the Gallup organization has been tracking employee engagement within the U.S.. They’ve found that employees who are not engaged are “Psychologically unattached to their work and company. These employees put time, but not energy or passion, into their work. Not engaged employees typically show up to work and contribute the minimum effort required. They’re also on the lookout for better employment opportunities and will quickly leave their company for a slightly better offer.”

In other words: disengaged employees are a problem. 

And for deskless and frontline workers, lack of effective internal communication plays a big role in disengagement. Communication to this workforce isn’t usually prioritized, and that leaves them at risk for disengagement. But the inverse is true, too. Effective internal communication can do wonders for employee engagement, and ensuring that every simple team member feels valued and in-the-know. 

Here are 6 ways to boost employee employees through effective internal communication. 

1. Send communications where employees already are: their phones

Have we already touched on this? Yes. Is it important? Also, yes. When your workforce is deskless it’s important to send communications where your employees will get them. 

A few fun facts from our BYOD guide

  • 94% of adults age 18-29 own a smartphone
  • Millennials check their phone an average of 155 times a day
  • 2/3 of workers use personal devices at work, regardless of their employer’s policy

Creating engaging, fun internal communications is important. But when your workforce is deskless it’s important to distribute these communications where your employees will get them. And, that’s their smartphone. Using smartphones to communicate with your frontline and deskless workers also means you can share information in real-time with them, when it’s most relevant to them, especially since they don’t typically have access to company emails or intranet sites during their shifts. Bonus: employees using BYOD are proven to actually save time at work. 

2. Instill an element of gamification to your internal communications 

Who doesn’t love a good game? A points system can have massive impacts on engagement and interaction – whether or not you implement a rewards program with it. 

The concept of gamification in the workforce isn’t anything new. It’s simply offering up points for actions that you want to encourage your staff to take, such as answering a survey or quiz, reading an employee memo or watching a training video. And it works. According to TalentLMS’s 2019 Gamification at Work survey, using gamification tactics at work makes 88% of employees feel happier and 89% of employees feel more productive. What’s more, 87% of employees surveyed said that having “game elements make me feel socially connected and provide a sense of belonging.” 

Engaging employees through internal communication and adding an element of gamification requires a few basic components, including goals and badges, transparency, competition, and community. It’s also important to ensure walkthroughs and explanations are made available to everyone, so it’s a level playing field. 

If you’re opting to use rewards, keep in mind that prizes don’t always have to have a “traditional” monetary value associated with them. One recommendation from TalentLMS is to offer “small, quality-of-life rewards, like a voucher for a lunch out or an extra day off,” that can be awarded in tandem with recognition from senior leadership or head office. 

3. Use visual content to help deskless workers consume information

The way humans consume information has changed thanks to social media, emojis, videos, gifs, and the like. It’s no wonder that 67% of people understand communications better when it’s through images and videos. With that in mind, effective internal communication should include more visual content, such as photos, videos, screencasts and the like. 

In fact, research conducted by TechSmith found that more visual content (screenshots, screencasts, photos, videos) in employee communications could unlock more than $167 billion in productivity. And, using visuals could save an average of 6 minutes and 43 seconds per employee per day, or 33 minutes and 36 seconds per work week – that levels up to 25 hours per year of added productivity! 

4. Make your employees the stars by sharing their stories

Deskless workers are often more removed from the corporate setting – and removed from each other. Despite having thousands of coworkers, frontline and deskless employees likely only know a handful of team members, and usually only the ones who work at the same location or on the same shifts. This is why building a community can be an easy win for boosting employee engagement. 

A great way to build an employee community is to bring in their own voices into your communications. This might mean day-in-the-life posts, where employees record their day with video and photos while on the job; it might mean having workers guest-write posts on your communication platform or newsletter; or it might even mean conducting interviews with employees to help the broader community learn more about each other. Anything you can do to build that community will pay off in the long run.

5. Run Ask-Me-Anythings (AMAs) with senior leadership

In large organizations with thousands of employees, it’s easy to forget the type of information that some workers might find valuable to their day-to-day. Opening up communication so that everyone can ask questions and address any issues can often lead to increased employee engagement. These AMAs and forums can help address what employees want to know about, not just what you think they should know about. This can help you build out effective internal communications later on.

“Do I ever end up squirming up there? Sure. There are plenty of times when I’ve been caught entirely off-guard. But that’s precisely the point. The element of surprise is the secret ingredient that makes the internal AMA such a valuable tool,” explains Shopify president Harley Finkelstein, in a Forbers article on why he started a regular AMA with his employees

“When your company scales beyond a certain size, it’s easy to lose touch with what’s relevant for people at different levels of your organization. In this sense, the AMA is a powerful way to collapse corporate hierarchies and ensure that all perspectives — not just those from the top — are heard.”

6. Go interactive with surveys and quizzes 

Gathering upward feedback from your team can go a long way to boosting employee morale and strengthening their engagement. Plus, surveys and quizzes have the added benefit of adding an interactive element, which is key for effective internal communication. 

With pointed questions, multiple choice answers as well as open-field options, your deskless workers across the company can feel as though their voice matters and that their feedback and opinions are important to the company’s growth. These can identify knowledge gaps that you can fill with future communications, as well as identify opportunities you might not have thought of previously. 

Another benefit is quizzes and surveys allow you to test knowledge rates and identify gaps that need to be addressed either with further communication or more training. It’s also a great way to measure readiness and confidence in an open-ended way by taking a temperature check of sorts with your employees, this can go a long way in improving confidence and boosting engagement. 

Your frontline and deskless employees don’t have the same access to the traditional internal communications other employees might have. It’s therefore important to remember that they often require special attention to ensure they’re kept abreast of all the important and relevant company-wide information. The more interactive and engaging your communication, the better received they’ll be by your employees, particularly your deskless ones. And the better they’re received, the more of an impact they’ll have on your employee engagement. It may be a bit more challenging but also very rewarding – for you and them. 

Measuring communication effectiveness: 4 ways to know you’re nailing it

Measuring communication effectiveness: 4 ways to know you’re nailing it

People analytics can often be a quagmire of numbers. 

There are so many things you could potentially measure that it can be frustrating. Especially if the only thing you want to know is, “are we doing well, or not?”

We hear you. 

In an effort to keep things simple, we have identified the four most crucial metrics that speak specifically to measuring communication effectiveness.

Like with many employee metrics, some of these numbers are easy to capture and some are not. Having a digital communication platform in place will make it much easier to track the four metrics we’ve listed below, but there are other ways to collect some of these numbers – more on that below. 

Also, one caveat: numbers are tricky. No metric will tell the whole story. Part of the magic of workforce analytics is finding the full story behind the numbers, and reacting to that. Again, if you’ve got a communication platform in place, finding the stories that will measure communication effectiveness are exponentially easier when you have robust analytics and an incredible CS team to guide you. 

1. Reachable rate

A “reachable rate” basically tells you what percentage of employees that will receive your communications. In other words, it’s the percentage of your workforce that have access to (and are active on) your communications tool. 

It’s not just the employees that have your tool – that’s your adoption rate. Reachability is more about who’s actually using it. For example, if you have a digital communication platform like Nudge, your reachable rate would be what percentage of your workforce has downloaded the app and set up an account, and then used the app within the past 90 days. 

Email is trickier. If all of your employees had an active company email address, your reachable rate for that tool would technically be 100% – however, a big part of reachability is whether your workforce is actually active on the platform, so email is harder to measure unless you, for example, took into account how many employees have opened an email in the past three months. 

Reachability is crucial to measuring communication effectiveness because it tells you what percentage of your workforce you actually have access to. You could be sending the most engaging employee communications in the world, but if your reachability rate is 20%, you’re not connecting with much of your workforce.

Reachability is especially important in an emergency, like the pandemic, where you need to get in touch with your entire workforce as quickly as possible. 

2. Reachability vs. open rate

Those of you who’ve ever measured email metrics before will find this very familiar. Of all the people who could see your communication, this is how many people actually opened it. 

Comparing your reachable rate against your open rate tells a few stories that can help measure communication effectiveness: 

How enticing your introduction or subject line is. This depends a lot on the message format of your communications tool, since not all tools allow for subject lines or any kind of snippet. But when possible, this metric will tell you how effectively you’re enticing your workforce to actually open your communication. 

What your user experience is like. Your open rate is going to be pretty low if your communications tool is hard to navigate, or people rarely get (or see) new message notifications. If you’re seeing a low open rate compared to your reachable rate, that might be a sign you need to make some usability changes. Consider running an internal survey or focus group to evaluate your tool’s user-friendliness. 

How relevant your communications are. Employees will ignore messages that aren’t relevant to them. This is a problem, because if employees start ignoring irrelevant messages, they might start ignoring the relevant ones, too. A low open rate may be a sign that you should audit your communications strategy or consider segmenting messaging to different regions or groups. 

3. Read rate

Next, a “read rate” will tell you how many employees actually read the content you shared. Again, the metrics that you’ll have access to will depend on your communication channels and tools. Sometimes, a tool can even tell you how much of the content they were able to finish. 

This is a great metric for measuring communication effective. If you get a consistently high read rate, then you know that your communications are hitting it out of the park. But watch for any variations. If any of your messages receive a surprisingly low or high number, investigate why. Compare it to previous communications and scan for differences. You may learn something valuable. 

Note that you won’t always be able to reliably track this metric, as it depends heavily on the comms tool in which you’ve invested. Nudge Analytics, tracks read rate through “response rate,” which would tell you if a user has read an in-app message and clicked the button at the end of it. 

4. Knowledge rate

“Knowledge rate” is basically a fancy term for skill testing. 

This is where your employees (whether all of them or a specific segment) are given quizzes or spot-tests to evaluate their knowledge on important work-related subjects. It tells you how well information has been consumed and retained. Depending on the nature of your communications, this might be one-off knowledge testing (like for a specific retail campaign) or ongoing (like for safety regulations). 

Any survey or testing app can put together a quick learning test, of course. But not all platforms are created equal. Some might be intended for desktop workstations, which means that frontline employees would have a hard time completing the tests. Other platforms might not be able to aggregate the data across the entire company, or might not go deep enough when it comes to calculating scores. 

Using a communication tool with robust knowledge analytics is a valuable asset for deskless and frontline organizations, because it allows you to zero in on red flags at scale. Even if your organization employs hundreds of thousands of workers, knowledge rates can tell you quickly if there is a region, location, or even individual workers that need extra training.

To get the most visibility – and the most useful insights – into your communication effectiveness, having access to all of the above metrics will give you a more complete picture and allow you to take appropriate action. 

Remember; those are not arbitrary or abstract numbers you’re tracking. Every metric represents an employee who relies on internal communications to do their job. The longer you take to put those metrics together, or the fewer metrics you take advantage of, the more risk there is of the employee making a crucial error or becoming disengaged from the organization. 

In contrast, if you’re tracking all those metrics and doing consistently well across the board, then you can rest assured you’re on your way to building an engaged, agile team ready for anything.

5 reasons why you need pre-shift team huddles

5 reasons why you need pre-shift team huddles

Looking to strengthen your team connection? Help communication flow? Keep customer experience top of mind? The answer is simple: pre-shift team huddles.

From foodservice to retail, so many industries can benefit from implementing this practice into their day-to-day workflows. After all, they’ve been proven time and time again to be a habit of high-performing teams. Making morning huddles a regular occurrence can help your team stay well-informed about your organization’s goings-on and keep focused – no matter what is happening. 

Team huddles are more than just a staff meeting. They’re a place for consistent, regular discussion in which employees at all levels communicate, share and address key performance indicators and areas of improvement. The purpose is to provide an open channel where your team members can safely share any questions or concerns they may have.

Here are five reasons pre-shift huddles are a must for any frontline organization: 

1. Team huddles boost team-building and employee engagement

Even if they’re small, teams can become siloed very quickly. The simplest explanation? People aren’t talking to one another. An obvious benefit of a regular touchpoint in the form of a morning huddle can be simple open communication, leading to a place where employees grow to trust one another. At pre-shift team huddles, they can give and receive help as they need and can be empowered to work together, rather than separately. 

Pre-shift huddles are an especially excellent mechanism for team-building between front of house and back of house staff in the restaurant and hospitality industries. And that time dedicated to building relationships between various staff functions can extend to your brand and customer experience. 

There’s also an employee advocacy play here, too. Employees who feel confident that they have the basics to reach their full potential (things like a safe workplace, fair pay, and the tools to do the job) can become staunch advocates of the brand and company they work for. 

Ultimately, team huddles lead to engaged, empowered employees ready to collaborate and contribute – and that high employee engagement leads to better retention, CX, sales, and myriad other benefits

2. Team huddles allow you to get proactive vs. reactive on employee feedback

We all know that better team communication goes a long way. Unfortunately, nearly two-thirds of managers are ill-equipped to have tough, necessary conversations. Team huddles can be instrumental in giving teams the space to identify and highlight the issues that require the attention of other levels of the organization.

It’s also the perfect place to foster a sense of safety, share best practices, and allow upward feedback. Say, for example, that a team member mentions a policy they believe needs to be changed. If their colleagues also share the same issue, managers can easily take that feedback and facilitate the necessary changes.

According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Report 2020, it’s crucial that employers tap into and act upon employee feedback. By doing this, you are not only engaging your employees but involving them in decision-making. When given the space to share, employees can also help increase your organization’s competitive edge. Retail fashion giant Zara, for example, relies on its frontline staff to share feedback and insights around customer requests, trends and new style ideas by noticing what customers wear or are looking for as they shop. 

When employees believe they are heard and can contribute upward feedback, they can bring that happiness and ease to their work. You may see it shine through in their effectiveness and their interactions with customers and peers. 

3. Team huddles increase efficiency and consistency in task execution

When employees don’t have a good line of sight into what everyone is working on, there is a danger of duplicating tasks. This is inefficient – and can be significantly negative for your brand if it involves your customers. Pre-shift team huddles allow you to quickly and efficiently create systems that help your business flow better. Taking the time each day, even for five minutes, to go over priorities and goals drives consistency and task execution and can increase team cohesion and efficacy.

Huddles are an opportunity to seamlessly build new behaviours that push your team to excel. Cascading announcements and protocol changes from head office down through the huddles ensures that every employee understands standard procedures and processes in a deeper way – especially if you pair those huddle announcements with additional information in a digital communication platform that they can refer back to when needed. 

Team huddles also give leaders a chance to act and mobilize their teams to make adjustments that improve customers and employee experience. By quickly sharing bottlenecks or identifying blockers with the team gets more employees focused on a problem so that it can be solved in real-time. 

4. Team huddles keep you aligned on company goals

Goals and KPIs are the best way to tell you if you’re on target, and let you course-correct to get back on track. And your daily pre-shift huddle is an ideal place for reviewing metric updates, short-term priorities and overall company goals. 

Giving your team members a quick face-to-face before jumping into work keeps everyone aligned and on task. According to Inc., team huddles “keep companies focused on the same strategic goals, ensure timely answers solutions to important questions, and strengthen team accountability because everyone knows what everyone else is up to.” 

In a frontline organization, managers can use huddles to align their teams on priorities and drive performance in a fun way by tying your employees’ successes back to the company’s values and goals. Employers can even use gamification as an effective strategy for engaging deskless employees. You can now set up friendly competitions through a communication app (guess which one is our favourite?), track milestones, and reward deskless employees for their hard work. After all, providing employees with achievable goals and incentives has been closely linked to improving your bottom line and driving productivity. 

5. Team huddles give each team member a voice

Helping your employees feel valued is paramount, and you can drive that sense of value by ensuring they feel seen and heard. Research found that nearly 83% of managers say they give all their employees a voice. However…54% of employees feel voiceless. Does that math seem off to you?

It can be hard for organizations and managers to find ways to give each and every team member a voice – especially in an organization of hundreds of employees. That’s where pre-shift team huddles come in. 

Huddles can be the optimal time to share news, recognize employees, and highlight wins. A win could be anything: someone going several consecutive days (or months) without an accident, a team achieving a sales target, or even an employee’s personal win. That recognition of good work can go a long way toward giving team members – even in large organizations – a voice. 

A key piece of this is ensuring it’s your employees speaking up – not just your managers recognizing good work. Finding engaging ways to allow your employees to share updates or announce changes themselves during the huddle can be helpful. Giving them space to share and celebrate, professionally and personally, can make all the difference. For example, employees at many Enterprise Rent-A-Car locations vote on who delivered the best service during the past week, helping increase connection and add a spirit of friendly competition to their workdays. 

Teaching your team good client experience and company culture doesn’t end at the onboarding stage. Having a pre-shift huddle can help your managers balance functional issues and company purpose effortlessly. What may seem like a small act for your team could make a world of difference for your company and brand. 

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!

Proven ROI of 484%

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

*over three years.