Streamlining Retail Communication in Times of Crisis
Effective, nimble communication across your retail organization is critical in even the easiest and simplest of times. During crises, whether they’re hurricanes, tornadoes, or public health emergencies, effective communication can be the difference between a successful, functioning store and a disaster. Fostering engaged employees who are able to communicate in real time can help you ensure that new safety protocols are being put into place, high-priority tasks are being completed on time, and abrupt schedule changes are quickly communicated to your employees.
Here are three strategies to consider for effective retail communications:
1. Enable Real-Time Mobile Communication
During crises, best practices are constantly changing and employees need new and relevant information at a moment’s notice. Any delay can be a massive problem; maybe a new employee isn’t brought up to speed about the safety regulations that were put in place recently, or a high-value item that has gone out of stock goes hours before being restocked.
Real-time communication via mobile devices ensures that every employee in your organization will receive the most up-to-date information immediately, whether it’s a new highly-prioritized task, a message from corporate about a new safety measure, or critical inventory or logistics information. By having the ability to instantly send messages, attachments, and videos across your organization, any issues that have to be resolved immediately can be instantly escalated to the proper role, saving precious time and getting critical information into the hands of those who need it.
2. Streamline Task Management Processes
It’s essential that critical tasks such as product recalls and replacing expired food on shelves are completed as soon as possible, with no delay in communication to keep store associates from carrying them out. During crises, there’s an even greater list of critical tasks for store associates to complete, such as keeping hand sanitizer stations stocked, or posting signage around the store to inform customers about current safety protocols.
With real-time task management, store associates never have to second-guess what they have to do and where they have to be. Critical tasks can be sent to them at a moment’s notice, and any task details that change can be immediately updated on their dashboards. Store associates can then refer to their prioritized list of tasks in real time, and can send notifications to their managers once tasks are completed. This ensures that all essential tasks are finished as quickly as possible, and that relevant roles have immediate visibility into task completion status at all times.
3. Effectively Communicate Labor Scheduling Changes
Public crises make a deep impact on the lives of store associates. Whether they’re sick, or they need to care for an elderly family member, or they have to care for children because schools are closed, public crises create new responsibilities that employees need to take care of. Because effective store execution relies so heavily on having the right number of employees in the store, it’s imperative that store associates are able to make changes to their schedules in real time and with transparency.
Intelligent workforce scheduling with employee self-service expedites the scheduling process and ensures that corporate, managers, and associates can update schedules as quickly as possible. Automated scheduling processes improve schedule accuracy and save hours of work that managers could be spending on the store floor, making sure that safety protocols are in place. This also better aligns your labor schedules with the in-store task workload, better anticipating demand at your stores. Employee self-service ensures that store associates can gain real-time visibility into their schedules and can easily make schedule changes, giving managers immediate visibility and the ability to accept those changes on the fly.
For insight on how to optimize retail communications, check out this recent webinar in our Reflexis Insight Series, Communicating During Times of Crisis and Recovery.