One Big Happy Workforce: Prioritizing Employee Experience to Ensure CX Success
With national labor challenges lingering, the retail industry is among those hit the hardest by “The Great Reshuffle” — formerly known as the Great Resignation. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that the quit rate in the retail industry was hovering close to 4 percent over the summer, just behind the leading leisure and hospitality industry. Research is also showing that retailers are currently more worried about labor shortages than the supply chain.
As peak season nears and additional challenges like inflation and overstocks threaten bottom lines, employee satisfaction will be vital to ensuring steady staffing and consistent customer experience (CX) amid retail’s busiest season. Studies show that companies with high employee engagement scores have double the customer loyalty (i.e., repeat purchases and referrals) compared to companies with average employee engagement levels, opening the door for increased customer retention and growth.
Yet, there's often a disconnect between how happy executives believe their associates to be and how happy they truly are. This can contribute to the staff turnover we’re seeing and, as a result, diminished CX. How can you close that gap to ensure happy employees and satisfied customers?
Let’s explore a few ways to get on the pulse of your workforce and make the right adjustments to keep your team together, engaged and effective through New Year’s and beyond.
Identify Your VoE
While most brands are actively trying to capture Voice of the Customer (VoC), many aren’t so eagerly pursuing Voice of the Employee (VoE). Not only can employees provide insights into operations and their workplace experiences, but their feedback is also critical to understanding all facets of the customer journey. Without a clear understanding of both sides, retailers are operating with an incomplete picture.
Luckily, many of the same solutions and strategies used to capture VoC can be used to build VoE.
Regularly fielding surveys among employees is a quick and effective way to capture their insights, and it offers employees a low-pressure avenue to provide honest feedback. This should be executed on a regular basis to create timely data that can be compared month-over-month and year-over-year.
The use of employee surveys, in combination with regular check-ins and open dialogue between staff and managers, will demonstrate to employees that management is listening. However, listening isn't enough. Regularly pursuing and acting on the feedback received is critical to make your employees feel heard and know that the company feels employee opinions matters.
Equip Your Teams
Employees are most successful in any role when they have the right tools at their disposal. Brands are either enabling their workforce to perform at the highest level or inhibiting their performance and growth, and ultimately the company’s as well.
In retail, associates are dealing with even more pressure on the job. From needing to learn new technologies to ongoing safety and health concerns, leaders must ensure their teams have what they need to succeed. Without the right tools and support, it’s more likely they’ll feel overworked, undervalued, and driven to disengage or leave.
Feedback from VoE surveys and manager conversations can be extremely helpful in identifying what teams need to succeed. Not only will employees know where their biggest pain points are operationally, they’re seeing what's frustrating or delighting customers every day. Plus, you’ll likely save time, money and headaches in the long run by implementing the right systems or solution the first time around.
Focus on Retention to Drive Growth
A recent study by Salesforce showed a direct link between employees and revenue. If an average retailer could move up to the top quartile in each of the employee experience indicators revealed, they would see a more than 50 percent gain in revenue and profits.
When an employee quits, retailers lose time, money and effort training and grooming that person for the position. Satisfied and engaged employees, on the other hand, are more likely to stay in their position longer because they feel valued and enjoy their work. They're more likely go above and beyond to help colleagues and customers, which creates a direct funnel to customer attainment and retention.
The customer experience matters but the employee experience does as well. It’s difficult to provide top-notch service with unhappy employees. By following the tips above, retailers can improve the employee experience and hopefully create a culture that not only attracts top workers for peak season, but keeps them out of the “shuffle” long term.
Andrée-Anne Chailler is the vice president of operations at Intouch Insight, a CX solutions company that specializes in helping multilocation businesses achieve operational excellence.
Related story: How Retailers Can Boost Customer Experience Amid Labor Shortages
Responsible for the overall delivery and quality of Intouch Insight’s service-based product offerings, Andrée-Anne has 15 years of experience in the customer experience industry. She holds a BA with specialization in marketing, advertising and public relations as well as a Customer Analytics Certification from the University of Pennsylvania.