How mobile technology can solve the employee engagement crisisBY Australian Retailers Association
Employee disengagement has been statistically linked with many problems for retail organisation’s, including an astounding high turnover rate.
For part-time retail employees, a study by The Hay Group revealed a median turnover rate of more than two-thirds (67%). It’s a vicious cycle, because this same employee churn that makes it harder for retailers to attract and retain talent also affects productivity and a retailer’s bottom line.
Studies have shown that organisations with engaged employees have been proven to outperform companies without high engagement by 202%. Worker performance affects the customer experience as well. In a report collated by Aon.com has determined that retail stores with high employee engagement have 5% higher customer satisfaction scores than those with lower engagement. While research from Accumulate shows 65% of lost customers can be linked back to an employee who feels disengaged.
Socio-economic shifts of seismic proportion
The retail business has literally been transformed over recent years. Deloitte’s report Global Powers of Retailing 2018 points out that instead of bricks, or even bricks plus clicks, the industry is now a hybrid blend of online retailers and physical stores, which has created a highly competitive fight for survival. In this hodgepodge market, Deloitte notes that “consumers are channel-agnostic...bouncing between online and offline along the path to purchase.”
It has become a turbulent landscape with an increase in staff absenteeism, recruitment challenges, and deteriorating internal communications. Additionally, casual employment is more common than ever before. A study from Gallup reveals that since 2012, the number of retail workers who work casual or part-time rose from 4% to 30%.
Determining how to increase engagement is important from a bottom-line business perspective. A study from Towers Perin revealed that companies with low engagement suffer from a 33% decrease in operating income and an 11% drop in earnings growth.
Finding the right tools
With mobile technology retail employers can ensure their distributed teams receive the information they need, share two-way communication and feedback, and collaborate via an app whether or not they are co-located in a retail shop. Remote workers no longer have to rely on an occasional email or quickly outdated internal communication tools such as message boards, intranets and newsletters to stay in the loop. Mobile engagement apps have the power to reach the entire workforce, regardless of role or location, quickly and easily, including the ability to: recognise and reward retail employees via social media interactivity, offer employees the ability to suggest ideas for innovation and improvement and obtain honest feedback from employees through quizzes, surveys and polling.
Mobile engagement apps have the capability to provide workers with easy access to training materials and are an excellent platform to promote company events via an online calendar that all employees can have access to.
Mobile platforms can also aid in that elusive measurement capability that has been so difficult for retailers to wrap their heads around. Mobile apps can facilitate feedback and generate engagement-related insights and reports that retailers can then use to guide decision-making about what cultural changes are required to boost engagement.
Even though the industry’s landscape has been turned on its head, employees must deliver impeccable customer service if the organisation hopes to compete long-term. It’s no longer enough to have merely satisfied customers; you need employees who can truly delight the consumers they are serving.
How can the industry reconcile that everything about the way they do business has changed, yet the sector’s overall challenges in serving customers remain the same? Delighting customers can only happen with a fully engaged workforce at every point in your business, from customer facing staff to head office, to accounts team and delivery workers.
With the right mobile application as a framework for engagement, retailers can benefit from an effective one-point solution to create a culture of engaged and positive employees. Engaged employees are your best brand advocates and will go the extra mile to ensure customers are highly satisfied and will loyally support your business for years to come.
Geraldine Osman is theCMO of StaffConnect, a provider of mobile employee engagement solutions. For more information email email@example.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Australian Retailers Association
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.