5 Ways How Retail Companies are Improving Performance of Frontline Employees
November 6, 2019
Innovative technologies are rapidly disrupting traditional business models of retail ecosystems and making the age-old rules of growth redundant in this ‘phygital’ connected world. The retail environment has fierce competition and soaring expectations of exemplary customer experience. Sector analysts highlight customer service as the primary factor which helps in building loyalty and accelerate growth. Achieving these 5-star customer service goals has put tremendous pressure on retail HR. The most common expectation from HR in the retail industry is to ensure the adequacy of the workforce, effective training in interpersonal skills and creating strong motivation in front end employees for delivering outstanding service.
The sector poses unique challenges like high turnover rate, distributed workforce, and resource-dependency. Over and above these challenges, employee expectations demand a more inclusive, transparent and integrated digital workplace experience. Technology is getting inter-twined and re-writing the rules of business and HR. During this transformation, there are tremendous opportunities to solve HR practice problems in the retail sector using the following 5 digital innovations.
Rise of the ‘Go Digital’ era is rewriting the rules of talent acquisition. Recruiting is becoming a digital experience as millennials expect prompt and rapid communication along with feedback on hiring. Finding the right fit from the local talent pool, hiring in large volumes, along with with seasonal and frequent hiring present challenges to the recruiter. The never-ending blizzard of paperwork is not only making the life of retail HR miserable but causing a lot of inconvenience for the applicants. Introducing digital systems for hiring in the organization can make every step of recruitment automated, easy-to-use and organized. After a one-time installation, these systems not only save money in the P&L account of the firm but provides a hassle-free and world-class experience to applicants hence creating a user-friendly employer brand in the market.
2. Digital Payroll Management
The Retail ecosystem is prone to the perennial issue of ‘Working in Silos’ because of the presence of a widespread network in Tier 1,2 and 3 cities. Flexible shifts, multifaceted commission structures, and temporary staffing during seasonal peaks increases the complexity of payroll management. User-friendly, fast and structured digital systems can mitigate the risk of financial loss because of incorrect calculations and save time for HR to focus on long term strategy.
3. Digital Performance Management
Scattered data sources of employee performance, attendance, leaves, promotions, and exits put pressure to monitor performance management. Digital HRMS and performance management programs can consolidate all of that work into a single platform such as Human Capital Management– making it efficient and actionable in the most optimized way possible. Easy to use, automated and structured processes allow the firm to maintain transparency between front line employees and management. People analytics on such data are recalibrating the route towards better talent management programs.
4. Converging Communication
The world is witnessing seismic changes in the workforce, workplace, and work-technologies. Social and personal trends are increasingly overlapping into the workplace thus seamlessly transforming business enterprises into social enterprises. Sharing confidential data through unsafe channels, filling polls and opinions via non-anonymous methods, feeling like a one-man island at the workplace because of a lack of social connections and collaboration are some common foes that impact employee experience in the organizations.
Technology-based digital platforms are now enabling the decoupling of traditional communication channels. Chatbots and social organizational platforms are bridging the gap and bringing the feeling of connectivity at the workplace. With Collaboration, town-Hall meetings can happen today in a low cost and no-hassle way. Anonymous and unbiased feedback from front end employees to upper management of the corporate ladder is now becoming possible. Fast, transparent and secure communication is developing an inclusive and connected enterprise in the notoriously famous ‘silos of stores’ of the retail industry.
5. Learning and Development: Real-Time, All the time
With millennials capturing the center stage of the workforce, employees increasingly expect convenient, on-the-go and engaging ways to develop their skills along with organizational support in “learning what they need to know” to do their jobs well. Traditional classroom training sessions by collaborating with inter and intra stores are not only time and cost consuming but becoming less effective in the modern digital world. In the process of building the organizations of the future, continuous learning is critical for business success. The geographically widespread working force in retail needs a learning culture where learning is always ON and always AVAILABLE as and when required. This calls for a single platform where creation, assignment, and tracking, of course, can be done on the move by employee and management level.
Retail HR needs to buckle-up for speed, agility, and adaptability. Advanced technologies can reinvent the process to deliver enriching employee experience with maximum operational efficiency.