We recently released our guide to retail task management – and now we’re taking a step back to explore why (and how) effective task management is so critical to the success of retail organizations. First up: we’re looking at how effective task management can drive positive company culture. 

The success rate and growth trajectory of any retail organization rises and falls with the performance levels of its employees. It’s a truth recognized by anyone who’s ever worked within the industry – one that’s been accepted since the earliest days of retail. It’s also recently become a relatively well-established fact that employee performance is strongly linked to company culture. 

And according to Stephen O’Keefe, industry expert and Founder of retail consultancy Bottom Line Matters, one of the most important ways to feed into the development of a positive organizational culture is effective task management.

“When all management and employees are on the same page, working together toward the same goals and objectives, a shared sense of pride results,” O’Keefe explains. “From the perspective of a team, if this is the case, with some focus and dedication, everything else follows.”

The importance of developing and maintaining a positive company culture in order to unlock retail success is not lost on O’Keefe, who believes that an organization’s culture permeates everything about the store and brand, impacting the experience and perception for both employees and customers.

Furthermore, O’Keefe believes that instilling a strong task management mindset among staff is critical as staffing issues, supply chain constraints, inflation and other challenges are impacting retailers’ ability to grow and thrive. 

And when they come together? Retailers are unstoppable. 

Here are 4 ways effective task management drives a positive company culture: 

1. Staff have a clearer understanding of roles and responsibilities (theirs, and others)

Defining employees’ duties and the behavior that’s expected from them in a clear and concise manner is the first step in organizing a team for optimized output and performance.

“Making sure that employees know what their individual roles and responsibilities are is an absolute must when it comes to overall retail success. Task management is really the only way to most effectively ensure that this happens, making the onboarding of fresh talent seamless and efficient,” explains O’Keefe.

Furthermore, a recognition of the work being executed by the entire team leads to better results.

“When you can organize your staff, getting them all on the same page with respect to the contributions of the entire team and how it all links together to produce positive outcomes, a greater appreciation for the work of fellow colleagues and associates is inevitable, and often results in increased performance and satisfaction.” 

2. Organizations see a boost in employee morale 

There’s no doubt that a happy employee is a productive employee. But their happiness in this sense is really only made possible through an understanding of their contribution.

“It’s rewarding for employees when they know how the task that they’re responsible for is contributing to the overall goal of the team and organization. To actively participate in achieving an objective, and to understand why their contribution is important, is critical and significantly increases morale among staff,” says O’Keefe. 

3. Workers are encouraged and empowered to drive collaboration and innovation

Effective task management empowers and enables employees, often eliciting significant discretionary effort from them. 

“Because task management re-enforces a culture in which everyone plays a part, it’s easier for everyone to see how their tasks and responsibilities impact the entire team,” says O’Keefe. “It leads to enhanced collaboration among colleagues and provides a catalyst for innovative thinking and problem-solving, encouraging staff to go above and beyond the requirements of their jobs.”

4. It provides a “roadmap” for coming together during crisis or challenging times

O’Keefe goes on to explain that in addition to the overwhelming benefits that organizations reap from the use and maintenance of effective task management and the ways in which it drives an engaged and inspired culture, it can also serve as a roadmap of sorts, helping retail staff avoid ruinous potholes.

“Effective task management actually goes a long way toward supporting risk management efforts. When you provide clarity and have removed ambiguity for staff, giving them visibility into the overall objective, their performance increases,” explains O’Keefe. 

“But where it becomes incredibly productive is when a variable is introduced into a timeline of tasks. These variables typically derail most retailers. But when everyone has visibility into the end-goal, they’re able to address the variable and overcome it as they would a small hurdle. Task management allows teams to adapt very quickly and still deliver positive results. If you’re following directions but don’t know where you’re going, it’s impossible to adapt to disruption. Task management provides that roadmap and visibility for teams to follow in order to arrive at their destination.”

When retailers leverage task management to drive company culture, it can result in myriad benefits. 

First, it can drive increased customer satisfaction. Once a positive culture has been established through the organization of a store’s staff of employees, the influences that can result are extraordinary, allowing brands to strive for and reach the next level of performance. However, as O’Keefe points out, the benefits of achieving such a culture are not limited internally, adding that the potential impact that it has on the customer is remarkable.

“When a store and its staff are running like a well-oiled machine, when everyone is doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing, the experience that a customer receives when entering is taken to the next level. The service they receive is elevated, their satisfaction related to the shopping journey increases, their perception of the brand is strengthened, and their loyalty is enhanced. And, it starts by properly organizing and engaging with your staff.”

Second, it can attract and retain talent. “Internally, task management is a critical lever in helping to establish and nurture a culture of integrity, authenticity and respect. And when this is the type of culture that exists, people will want to come work for that organization, attaching themselves to the brand,” explains O’Keefe. 

“Those who are currently working there won’t want to leave. Why would they? What ultimately results is encouragement for employees and new hires to adapt their behavior in order to align to the brand that they want to be associated with, decreasing the learning curve involved.”

As we continue entering a post-pandemic environment in which customers and employees are seeking an elevated experience and deeper connection with the brands that they shop at and work for, retailers are exploring a number of ways by which they can make these things happen. And, it seems, the easiest, most efficient and rewarding way to do so is through the development and maintenance of a strong task management-driven company culture.