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“The best retailers will deliver intensely personalized experiences based upon a deep understanding of customer needs, wants and desires. The best retailers will see sales associates not as costs to be reduced, but assets to help move a brand from boring to remarkable and intensely relevant.” Steve Dennis, Forbes

All signs point to the fact that retailers must continue investing in the employee experience, particularly for their frontline staff. In 2018, retailers saw an increase in staff turnover rates, with 81% the average turnover rate for part-time hourly store associates, an increase from 76% in 2017. By focusing on creating a great employee experience (EX), retailers can build teams that are happy, motivated, and willing to go the extra mile.

A great EX not only helps to build high-performing teams but also impacts overall revenue and profitability. In fact, research by the Temkin Group showed that 82% of employees at companies with strong financial results are “highly” or “moderately” engaged, compared to 68% at underperforming companies.

With 80-90% of sales still coming from physical stores, a lack of emphasis on the employee experience can jeopardize your main source of sales. When retail associates aren’t engaged and motivated at work, customer experience can suffer as a result.

To solve these challenges, we’ve put together a guide to help brands build high performing retail teams, which you can download here.

Below is a summary of our 5-step playbook for improving the employee experience:


1. Hire the right people for your brand

Research from the University of Iowa shows that employees who are a good fit with company culture perform better, express greater job satisfaction and stay with their employer longer. Hiring these perfect fits, however, is no walk in the park. It requires close attention to all hiring processes, including the tools and guidelines used in the recruiting and interviewing phases.

Once hiring is complete, it is crucial to focus the onboarding process around communicating brand values and vision. By helping employees understand how they contribute to the overall success of the company, they’ll feel more connected to your larger strategic objectives.


2. Provide ongoing communication and real-time information

Clear communication is vital to every business, especially those with a deskless workforce. Yet, for many brands, creating a direct line of communication between head office and their frontline is a top operational challenge.

With the number of mobile users, globally, expected to reach 4.8 billion by 2020, mobile is the most effective channel for delivering real-time information to employees. By utilizing the full capabilities of mobile, organizations are able to improve communication that ultimately helps staff deliver on key business objectives. Retail TouchPoints Store Operations Survey respondents saw an increase in customer satisfaction, the average dollar sale, and improved employee knowledge when arming frontline staff with mobile technology.


3. Empower employees to create an authentic customer experience

Employees that are passionate about the brands they work for are more likely to create a great experience for customers. Unfortunately, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace, only 32% of US workers describe themselves as engaged.

To empower frontline teams, many brands are turning to technology and improved communication channels. Using software such as an employee app, organizations can encourage two-way collaboration across their business and recognize employees for their ideas, feedback, and performance.


4. Improve performance through gamification and real-time interactions

Gamification has been used to effectively engage customers and create a great customer experience. A survey conducted by Boston Retail Partners found that 87% of retailers are planning on using gamification to engage their customers by 2020. While retailers recognize the value of customer-facing gamification, internal gamification can be equally beneficial.

Research has shown that frontline employees would benefit from gamification, with nearly 80% of learners saying that gamification would make them more productive in their workplace. With a growing trend in workplace collaboration, creating team-based challenges focused on specific business objectives is the most effective way to foster that engagement.


5. Evaluate and improve employee program success

Ongoing measurement is crucial to the success of engagement initiatives. Armed with the right data and an effective tool for communication, training, and incentives, retailers can proactively evaluate their programs and make changes in real-time.

Using mobile software for empowering frontline staff, organizations can monitor:

  • Associate engagement
  • Confidence and knowledge rates
  • Compare data to transactional performance
  • Source feedback on in-market campaigns

And more.


The takeaway?

Empowering retail associates is the most effective way for brands to create an in-store experience that fosters satisfied customers, increased revenue and repeat visits. But, barriers like high turnover rates, broken training systems, and poor communication are preventing retailers from creating meaningful interactions with their customers. By following these 5 simple steps, brands can shift away from old, stale paradigms and foster happy, well-prepared frontline associates who drive stronger, long-term relationships with the brand.

Download our guide to get an in-depth look at the five steps brands can take to transform the employee experience. At each step, you’ll learn best practices, get ideas for measuring success, and read case studies from brands that are using mobile solutions to engage their staff.