How can tech improve employee morale in the retail sector?
Any average retail business lives or dies by its technology. While there are various ways to improve productivity in a personal sense, through employee training, technology has become front and centre, not just in terms of making for smooth operations, but it can help improve the employees’ progress.
What's more, in an age where employees feel threatened by technology potentially usurping their abilities, it is our mission to find a way to make employees work well with technology and vice versa. In terms of employee morale, how can tech do this?
The best productivity tools
Productivity can be measured to these days with analytics tools. And it's not just in terms of the metrics or analytics; it's about improving productivity through communication. One of the ways to do this can be to improve workplace productivity with Electric MDM (Mobile Device Management). This can help to improve device management, application configurations, but is also a way to help improve security.
As retail businesses need to provide an extra layer of service, through e-commerce platforms, productivity has to be top of the pillar. Productivity is all about shaving valuable seconds off everything. And so, this could be in relation to automated accounts, CRM systems, or just, very simply, dictation software.
Online software tutorials
E-learning is nothing new, but with the development of a more sophisticated platform, and the fact that many businesses are utilising a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, there can be a way to integrate the two. It's not particularly interesting to complete e-learning modules, especially when you have to go off the shopfloor.
As such, by putting the resources in a manner that is easy to digest, but is also handy for employees to access, this can make for a tighter ship. E-learning is perfect for new employees, but what about those members of staff that need developing well after their induction? It's not just about the basics; you can provide online certification programs to tie in with employee development.
In terms of employment, when employees are well trained, they will feel that they have a handle on their jobs, which can equate to a well-balanced workforce, and as employees become more skilled, they can progress further up the ladder. Hiring the right employee is all about the person that can be developed, not just someone who is able to do the job they are told to do.
Retail stores have regional managers that they seldom see. One way to improve working relationships in this respect would be to have a more continuous approach to communication. Having internal communication systems and tools can allow employees to access HR or upper management with ease.
A company-wide intranet is a suitable platform for this, and this, in conjunction with a proper open door policy, employees can feel more supported. This naturally improves morale across the board. Communication is one of those overstated components, but it's amazing, especially in terms of the retail industry, how little is done.
The symbolic nature of technology
Many companies use technology as a selling point. The retail industry can be behind the times somewhat because if someone is running a bricks and mortar store, technology doesn't appear to be front and centre. But using the symbolic effect that technology carries can improve the perception of any business from the outside. But from the inside, when employees are very much lacking in faith in their superiors, if you undertake the necessary investment into technology, this could make them believe that you have more to give.
You have to lead by example, but you also have to show that you are investing in the business as a whole. When technology becomes a major talking point, a retail business is behind the times, and an employee is unable to use specific tools to accomplish sales, provide effective customer service, or various other functions, it's unsurprising that morale decreases by a substantial amount. If you have the latest technology this highlights that you're a company that wants to be at the cutting edge. It's important to carry this forward. Especially in the way that augmented reality or artificial intelligence is becoming a key component of selling to customers.
Employee morale in the retail environment is crucial. If we noticed that our employees don't have smiles on their faces, we should dig deeper. While a lot of it is to do with morale in the most visceral sense, by appropriate management and training, technology can do a lot to bridge the gap.