15 March 2022
15 March 2022
Internal communications can be compared to white water rafting.
If you've ever gone white water rafting, you'll understand the importance of having everyone paddling at the same speed and in the same direction.
An effective internal communications strategy is a lot like the rafting guide who tells you when and how fast to paddle.
Because if everyone is doing their own thing, you're going to have a really hard time steering the boat. And you definitely won't make it over the first rapid.
The internal communications strategy, methods, channels and tools you choose determine whether your employees are engaged and collaboratively working towards the same goal - even when the water gets rough.
But for retailers with brick-and-mortar stores, including every employee in your internal communications network is integral to success.
That's because the work done by store employees - like serving customers, carrying out store processes and selling products - is the lifeblood of a company.
When done in the right way, internal communication in retail:
But without the right strategy and methods, your internal communications might not be reaching your store employees at all, which means they're not reaping any of the benefits listed above.
What are the golden rules for communication in retail to effectively engage, inform and boost productivity for employees?
Here are 4 internal communications best practices, with real-life examples from how our customers have used them to take their business to the next level.
During a crisis, an effective communication strategy is the glue holding your company together. Over the past few years, every business has been hit with a variety of crises, including the pandemic, the labor shortage, and the cost of living crisis.
In their leader's guide to crisis communications, McKinsey recommends tailoring internal communication content and style depending on how employees are feeling - whether that's anxious, worn down, or sad.
In hard-hit industries like retail and hospitality, finding the right strategy to engage, inform and reassure is even more critical to business continuity.
BurgerFi, a fast-casual restaurant chain that's among the fastest-growing burger concepts in the US, used YOOBIC's internal communications platform to keep frontline employees engaged and informed - even as locations were forced to close during COVID-19.
Keeping employees in the loop was a key pillar of BurgerFi's people-first strategy as local, county, state, and federal guidelines were rapidly shifting.
When frontline employees returned to work, they were informed, engaged, and even more knowledgeable thanks to the training they completed during their time off.
"We have been able to rapidly deploy enhanced safety protocols to our teams and, most importantly, maintain constant communication with our BurgerFi family during these uncertain times"
- Nick Raucci, Chief Operations Officer @BurgerFi
Employees who feel they have a voice within the company are more likely to perform their best work.
Employees might not feel like their voice matters when they never meet many of their peers, or even supervisors, in person. That's a lot of knowledge and connections they're missing out on.
To overcome this divide, good internal communication should connect and engage in the same way social media does. Emphasizing employee voices in your communications strategy demonstrates that employees are valued within your company culture, setting the tone for an engaging and rewarding employee experience.
Considering the large chunk of retail and hospitality employees in the Gen Z and millennial demographics, choose engaging, concise, and fun formats for internal comms content, taking inspiration from social media.
Online-only lingerie retailer Adore Me knew they needed internal communication and an employee engagement strategy that matched their brand values as they expanded into the brick-and-mortar world.
Now, with the help of the YOOBIC employee communication platform, Adore Me's store teams post photos, comment, and give their feedback. Stores compete against each other in mini challenges and even fun contests like the cutest pet photo or best Halloween costume.
"I think it [the YOOBIC newsfeed] really brings alignment and a feeling of one-ness that really helps to boost sales when we have everyone engaged and going after the same goal."
- Paula Angelucci, District Manager @ Adore Me
Watch how Adore Me keeps store teams engaged, aligned, and motivated with YOOBIC:
What's the best way for employees to get better at their jobs, on the job?
Learn from other employees.
That's because knowledge learned informally sticks better than knowledge learned formally.
But for employees spread across stores, restaurants, and physical sites, this knowledge stays hidden - without the right internal comms strategy, that is.
Traditionally, field managers (area, regional, district managers, etc.) shared knowledge and best practices during their in-person visits and audits.
But in-person visits and audits are time-consuming, rack up travel costs, and mean that field managers can only coach one or two stores per day.
So what can employers do?
Use the right internal communications tool to actively involve employees in sharing their tips, tricks, and best practices - without having to see each other in person. In 2022, this means mobile apps.
For French gas station operator Picoty, communicating with their points of sale became a real challenge when field teams could no longer make their visits during the COVID-19 crisis.
Picoty deployed the YOOBIC platform as a channel to link headquarters, points of sale, and field teams.
In particular, they reworked their internal communications strategy so sector managers could share the tips, tricks, and best practices from their teams, to inspire employees in every location.
"We update the news feed of our [YOOBIC] social network on a weekly basis, in particular, thanks to the the heads of sectors, who provide us with the best practices of their managers and share them with the entire network, thus bringing together all the players in our network in order to offer the best experience to our customers and boost our sales."
-David Ruaud, Retail Network Manager @ Picoty
Store and restaurant teams are a fountain of knowledge. They're the ones interacting with customers every day and have lived experience of what it takes to be successful on the job.
All the information your teams need to perform their best is most likely already on the store or restaurant floor.
Experienced workers are in the perfect position to share their expertise with new starters, weaker performers, or general team members who want tips for working more productively.
But they can't do this if their ability to communicate is limited by location.
For social learning to be effective, teams need to be able to communicate and share knowledge with all their peers, no matter where they are.
Choose a tool that automatically translates comments in forums and newsfeeds into the user's native language.
International fashion and lifestyle retailer GANT wanted to have a space to be able to capture feedback from store teams and share knowledge internationally, but language barriers limited who could communicate with who on communication channels.
The YOOBIC app gives every GANT employee the opportunity to share their knowledge and connect across borders via the newsfeed and comments sections.
Using a communication app that automatically translates comments into the user’s native language has enabled employees to share information with team members working anywhere in the world.
“By using YOOBIC, we have our store associates in Shanghai giving tips and engaging with our store associates in Paris.”
- Maria Klingh, Global Retail Director, GANT
The best tools for internal communications for retail improve the employee experience by creating a global digital retail community within the company and cultivating a sense of belonging.
What does each of these examples have in common?
An in-depth understanding of the reality of being a store or restaurant employee, and a strategy that gives every worker a voice.
A successful internal communications strategy reaches every employee, no matter where they are, and makes them want to actively participate in communicating with the rest of the organization.
74% of employees feel like they're missing out on company news. Keep your employees in the loop and give them a voice with YOOBIC's internal communications and employee engagement platform. It's as fun and easy to use as social media!
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