While customer experience is at the heart of the retail industry, we often forget who delivers them in the first place.
It’s your employees who are the frontline workers. And their level of engagement is extensively projected into the overall customer experience.
However, the retail industry often gets so occupied with focusing on their customers that employee engagement takes a backseat.
Globally, the picture doesn’t look good. Studies have shown that retail workers are among the least engaged of all occupations. Just 8% of the overall workforce feel engaged at work and these disengaged employees cost companies $450-550 billion every year.
So, how do you avoid this situation?
Say hello to Employee Intranet.
Gartner defines Intranet as, “a network internal to an enterprise that uses the same methodology and techniques as the internet but is accessible only to employees. It can include websites supporting corporate communications, internal collaboration and knowledge management, etc”
Intranet can change the outlook of internal engagement. It can elevate internal communication and increase employees’ job satisfaction levels and efficiency.
But only if you use it right. Or else, it will do no good. You need a rollout plan to understand the features, figure out what your employees need, and how you want to communicate with them.
So the next question you probably have is,” How can I leverage Intranet to facilitate employee engagement? What steps can I take?”
Read on to find out.
# 1 Implement a Launch Plan
When you introduce any new software, you’re likely going to meet resistance from your employees. Whether you’re an online retailer or an offline one, adoption is harder than you think. You may know the benefits but your employees don’t. It falls upon you to get them on board and make them comfortable with using Intranet.
To overcome these challenges, start by building anticipation. Involve everyone in the top management in marketing intranet to the employees. You can send out a video or email that explains the reasoning behind this initiative. Communicate the rationale and lay out the employees’ expectations from the get-go. They’ll have many questions. Answer them.
If you communicate with them effectively, it will help them warm up and be mentally prepared for the change that is underway. By the launch day, they will be open to adopting Intranet for a more progressive way of working.
#2 Provide Access to Real-time Sales Data
Most times in-store retail employees are completely oblivious to their performance and the numbers they cracked. Since they’re so busy, it offers them fewer opportunities to check their performances time and again. They need a more accessible medium where they can check their personal sales data and milestones to keep their morale high.
Part of the reason why companies opt for Employee Intranet is to make it a source for all the important information. And your sales data is one aspect of this. You can adopt a collaborative app for mobile devices where employees can regularly check their KPIs and check their progress on a monthly or even a weekly basis.
It will help you provide real-time sales data to employees, regardless of where they are working. Every single employee can see their targets, sales figures, and projections which can help them direct their focus. This can improve their productivity and motivate them to perform better.
#3 Break down Barriers of Knowledge Sharing
eCommerce and retail are fast-paced industries. Employees need to constantly upgrade their skills and keep up with the trends. They need access to resources and materials that enhance their skill-sets. But it was a challenge to keep all your employees in a loop and collaborate with them across offices and departments. Your employees are scattered across logistic centres, on the road, studios, call centres, and head offices.
Fortunately, the new generation Intranet aren’t just desk-based. Your employee Intranet is inclusive of a knowledge management system that includes your training materials, videos, company policies, and progress. It goes beyond the office place that allows remote and customer-facing workers to be as much part of knowledge sharing activities.
Regardless of the role, employees will have access to the intranet via desktop, laptop, or mobile. If you take advantage of your Intranet’s newsfeed, you can build a community where your employees can keep up with the latest trends in retail. For example, chargeback scams are becoming more frequent, and a fraud prevention plan can help you and your employees combat this trend. It also provides workers with the freedom to join in with the discussions, questions, and blogs posted on the newsfeed.
#4 Streamline Business Processes
A lot of online retail companies are facing a paradigm shift from a hierarchical structure towards horizontal and process-oriented groups. While its a progressive change, it also poses a requirement to have significant interaction between departments, functions, even countries.
How do you build processes that transcend physical offices and are relevant in digital workplaces? More importantly, how do you encourage employee engagement when they personally don’t know everyone in the organization and haven’t even met?
Intranet brings a lot of structure to retail operations — Be it order-placing, delivery, customer support, etc. It is built on the foundation of smart information design where the focus is on tasks and not documents. It allows a seamless flow of communication, especially when employees are scattered across different locations. It allows them to collaborate on different activities like eCommerce order fulfilment and quick deliveries.
intranet is built for employees to connect. So even if you have a customer query that involves multiple departments, Intranet helps you facilitate a smooth cross-departmental collaboration. It centralizes the processes in an easily accessible virtual space. However, when it comes to dealing with customers, companies have the option of creating a custom client portal to handle all situations and keep the communication going.
#5 Onboarding & Training
The retail industry across the globe experiences a high-turnover rate. The more employees call quits, the more expensive it becomes for the company to find the right replacement and train them. This poses new problems for employers. It becomes imperative for them to start working on engaging employees right from the time they start.
This is where your employee Intranet comes in. Intranet can integrate with your training programmes. You can onboard new employees and train them via providing access to training videos, Q&A forums, and the employee directory on the intranet.
It will not only be cost-effective for you but rather speed up the process of new employees warming up to your company. It also allows employees to receive automated notifications about their courses, assessments, and reviews. You can easily monitor their performances and track completion and achievement rates. Since it's already established that your Intranet is cloud-based software, it’s a given that you can train any of your employees from anywhere in the world and take a step closer to building a digital workplace.
# 6 Celebrate and Recognize Success
Customer-facing employees represent your brand in more ways than one. It becomes important that they’re regularly valued and given their due recognition. The whole point of Intranet is to enhance internal communication and experience.
More than a process-oriented platform, Intranet is a community-oriented platform. If an employee has created a new sales benchmark, announce it. If they have completed a duration milestone, celebrate it. It will boost your employees' morale and motivate them to put in their best efforts.
More importantly, let your Intranet be the one medium where employees can be social with each other regardless of their job roles, places, departments, and responsibilities. Share pictures of your company events and encourage participation from everyone.
The retail industry is heavily reliant on these social networks. It's what helps them hook customers and sell your product. Don’t just limit this to your customers. Instead, use these skills of theirs to build your business environment an inspiring one.
As digital workplaces are gaining momentum, it seems Intranet is going to stay. With so much bad news surrounding low turnovers and disengaged employees, Intranet is a much-needed ray of hope for retailers. It brings about a lot of transparency in internal communication and processes that shoots-up employee engagement and loyalty.
If you’re looking to deliver exceptional customer experiences, you start at home. Focus on engaging your employees and great things can happen. You’ll witness new sales records, and customer satisfaction rates like never before.
About Author: This article is written by our marketing team at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is dedicated to providing powerful solutions for your HR teams and creating an exceptional employee experience. Our aim is to help your company improve employee engagement, onboarding, and to save you valuable time!