A collaborative and connected team environment is essential for businesses looking to create a more engaged workforce, especially as employers and employees alike continue to adapt to new ways of working. More than 70 per cent of Australian workers are reportedly disengaged in their jobs (1), which presents multiple challenges for workplaces trying to keep employees united. In the retail environment, digital solutions are emerging that can help retailers keep frontline workers and teams linked for an improved, collaborative workplace culture.

Across all industries, the modern workplace relies on strong and open communication. In retail, having effective communication channels is an essential step towards creating a more collaborative and connected workplace, which is critical to help teams work together well. Consistent communication with all employees is crucial, and retailers that ignore the growing need for reliable channels of communication will set themselves up for failure.

In an environment as fast paced as retail, poor communication can create significant challenges for team environments. Regardless of whether it’s a large or small team working across their operations, good communication is critical to success, so it’s essential that businesses invest in solutions that can keep employees engaged, connected, and communicating.

The latest digital communication platforms for retailers provide flexible solutions for organisations that thrive in fast-paced customer-centric environments. Platforms that build in messaging applications, combined with resource and document storage, help simplify the retail environment for workers of all types. Smart communication platforms that deliver comprehensive reporting and analytics also help to improve workflows and business practices for retailers. 

Mobile-first platforms for retail environments harness the familiarity of mobile devices and social media and provide a workplace communication tool that ensures every employee can communicate effectively with their colleagues and managers. They also facilitate improved information and workflow management, helping managers more easily direct workers towards processes and supporting documents.

Digital communication platforms let organisations more effectively communicate with all employees simultaneously, ensuring all workers receive the same updates about the business. This helps eliminate exclusion in the workplace and creates more seamless and transparent environment. Platforms that leverage messaging and group threads also help foster a collaborative, inclusive, and engaged company culture. The benefit of the latest communication solutions also goes beyond surface level content with the added value of reporting and analytics. Metrics can show engagement levels with content and highlight trends and contributions, which can go a long way towards improving a company culture.

Savvy retailers that invest in the latest solutions will also be better positioned to bridge potential communication gaps for employees and maintain compliance with changing regulatory requirements. Amendments to the casual conversion framework of the Fair Work Act, for example, now require organisations to provide written responses within 21 days of a request. Leveraging direct communications channels within mobile platforms can help to simplify this process for managers and employees across retail environments. 

The retail environment moves quickly, and communication is an essential element of success for the sector. When compliance comes into play, having a reliable and consistent method of communicating with all staff—en masse or individually—is essential. Retailers that leverage smart communication platforms and applications will be best positioned to respond with speed and flexibility to future regulatory changes.

Diana Barbieri is head of retail and hospitality practice for APAC at UKG.