How to Improve the Retail & Hospitality Employee Experience

15 October 2020

Employee experience

We’ve always been big on employee experience here at YOOBIC. But the challenges this year has thrown at the retail and hospitality industries has forced us all to take stock of what’s really important, and frontline employees rank pretty high on the list.

And yet, it’s frontline workers who are still bearing the brunt of the coronavirus crisis. There is an immense pressure on retail and hospitality employees to deliver the perfect in-person experience to those who do choose to come in, as the stakes are so much higher now.

And with ever-changing health and safety guidelines to contend with and a constant feeling of being out of the loop from the rest of the organization, it’s no wonder that frontline employees feel overworked and underappreciated.

So how do we fix it? How can we improve the employee experience for frontline workers to give them support during this tough time?

Here are three key tactics to get you started:

#1 - Give your frontline employees the right tools to succeed

They say a worker is only as good as their tools, and that’s also true of retail and hospitality employees.

Imagine you’re a store employee during the holiday season, or a restaurant server during the lunch rush. You’re having to deal with several competing priorities at once - all of which are urgent - as well as putting on a smile for your customers and going above and beyond to give them a great experience. It’s physically and mentally exhausting.

And if you’re having to deal with all of that without the right tools, sooner or later you’re going to reach breaking point.

Some options that will make life easier for your key workers include:

  • One app for communications, instead of confusing employees with an inefficient combination of emails, WhatsApps and voice calls
  • A centralized platform where employees can access all the guidelines they need in one place
  • An easy, digitized way to help workers prioritize and properly execute their tasks

By providing your frontline employees with the means to take control of their workload and improve their efficiency, they’ll feel empowered instead of overwhelmed.

RELATED: The Complete Guide to Retail Employee Engagement

#2 - Give frontline employees a voice

Right now, it’s the employees working in restaurants and on shop floors who know the most about how their companies are actually faring in the post-COVID-19 era. They are the ones interacting with customers, they see how consumer behavior and expectations have changed.

We should be listening to them - but more often than not, their point of view is overlooked.

The one-sided, top-down communications strategy that many companies still use just makes those employees feel ignored and disengaged.

Give frontline workers the agency to communicate directly with area managers and HQ. That way, they can properly address any issues they’ve been experiencing and give HQ vital information about consumer behavior.

Employee engagement will skyrocket, and the insight you gain from actually listening to your frontline employees - especially in this period of trial and error - will be invaluable.

RELATED: 3 Top Tips For Making Internal Communications Work For Your Deskless Workforce

#3 - Recognize their achievements

Recognition and reward have always been the best ways to keep employees engaged and happy. We all want to be appreciated for a job well done, and feeling like a valued member of the team in turn makes us want to work even harder to succeed.

But now that frontline retail and hospitality employees are literally putting themselves at risk every day just by showing up for work, giving them the praise and recognition they deserve is more than just a “nice to have” - it’s essential to maintaining a positive work environment.

Whether it’s giving a particular store or team member a shout-out for your entire network to see, launching friendly competitions with a fun prize, or providing them with fun and helpful microlearning quizzes, there are plenty of ways to show your frontline employees that you see and appreciate them.

RELATED: Why Microlearning and Retail Sales Are a Match Made in Heaven


See for yourself how BurgerFi has been using YOOBIC to improve their employee experience during the COVID-19 crisis by checking out the video below:

HubSpot Video