YOOBIC's Retail Blog

3 Ways to Keep Field Staff Engaged, Wherever They Are

Posted on 05-Sep-2019 12:14:25

Here at YOOBIC, we’re always talking about the importance of retail employee engagement. However, when it comes to employees who are always on the move - such as merchandisers or area managers - engagement is much tougher to maintain.

That’s why we’ve put together 3 key points to remember for boosting employee engagement, no matter where that employee might be.

Short on time? Watch this 1 minute video summary instead:

FieldEmployeeEngagement-VideoBlog

Communication

A lack of engagement amongst retail field employees is usually due to one of two things:

1. Remote working creates a disconnect between the individual and the rest of their colleagues

Being part of a deskless workforce has many benefits, including more flexibility, better work-life balance, and increased productivity.

But it can also be pretty isolating. And if an employee feels cut off from their company because they’re not seeing their colleagues every day, they’re bound to be unengaged.

2. Outsourced employees feel that they aren’t really part of the team

Many retailers outsource part of their workforce, and it’s a great way to bring people with specialist skills onboard. The downside, though, is that they can feel like they’re “outsiders” rather than a fully-fledged member of the club.

The best way to help employees feel a strong connection to the company is through regular, real-time communication.

On an operational level, communication is key to keeping things running smoothly. Everyone has to be on the same page, regardless of whether they’re in an office or on the road.

Lapses in communication can cause chaos. For example, a merchandiser that hasn’t been made aware of a last-minute change from HQ could implement incorrect guidelines in every store they visit. Not a good look for the brand, and a waste of valuable time and resources to correct.

But this isn’t just about direct communication regarding specific tasks. Keeping employees in the know by sharing news, updates and best practices in a more informal tone - ideally on a single, all-in-one platform - helps foster a sense of community and teamwork.

Gamified Training

We already know that regular training is important for all employees, but when it comes to field staff who are a little removed from everyday company life, investing in extra training really pays off.

It can be difficult to learn when you’re on your own, especially if you have a busy schedule that involves bouncing from site to site all day long.

Again, pay particular attention here to outsourced employees: it’s unfair to expect their product knowledge to be on a par with that of in-house employees, unless you provide them with tailored training.

This is where microlearning really comes in handy. Being fed digestible chunks of knowledge, easily accessible in a mobile format, makes learning easy and fun, which makes employees more likely to retain the knowledge they’ve gained.

The gamified element of this kind of learning - competing against colleagues and earning points and badges for their efforts - also helps employees feel connected to one another, especially if they don’t see each other regularly.

Another advantage of microlearning is its flexibility. Remote workers are often on their own schedule, so they need to be able to decide when they do their training. Not only is this convenient, but it also shows employees that their circumstances are respected and their time is valued.

Recognition

And speaking of feeling valued: never underestimate the power of praise.

As we already know, employees generally value recognition over compensation. A recent survey by CareerBuilder found that 40% of employees wouldn’t go above and beyond at work if they didn’t feel ‘meaningfully recognized.’

If anything, remote workers need this recognition more than most. They don’t always get to have those one-on-one interactions that inform their perception of what they’re doing well or what they could improve on.

So how do we provide them with the same level of feedback and praise as any other employee?

Primarily, by taking the time to provide them with feedback. We don’t mean micromanagement - people want to feel that they are trusted to do a good job without a manager breathing down their necks.

But making the effort to organize a regular one-on-one chat, where you can check in on their progress and see if they need any additional support, helps forge that personal connection that keeps remote workers engaged.

Another way of showing appreciation for someone’s work is by giving them a shout-out that can be seen by the whole team, highlighting a job well done - because recognition from peers is just as valuable as recognition from management.

We all need a little encouragement and appreciation sometimes. And by providing field staff with that extra boost they need, you can keep them engaged in their work and aiming high.

With YOOBIC, you can engage your field teams through interactive communication channels and gamified microlearning. To find out how, request a demo below!

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Topics: operational excellence, employee engagement