We have helped over 80 retail brands improve their operational communication and compliance in retail. In our experience, there are a few key elements to achieving effective communication. These elements need to be supported by process, application functionality and also by all recipients involved in the communication process as a whole, be they recipients, field management or creators.
What does great communication result in?
Informed and engaged employees – Employees should have clarity with regards to what they need to do when they need to do it and clear instructions as to how they need to do certain activities.
Maximise time on the shop floor – Employees should be able to access communications on any device at any time and also be able to access, process and reply in minimal time. All resulting in maximum time on the shop floor and minimum time processing communication.
Consistent execution – Have clear real-time visibility as to the status of ALL communication and execution in the estate with the ability to manage by exception and understand reasons for non-completion.
Managing your ‘lower third’ – Most retail estates can be segmented into three competencies with regards to operational capability. Those being stores that run well and almost self-manage, stores that run well but need a degree of support and the lower third that consistently needing intervention and higher levels of support. Having tools to manage the lower third more easily can help to raise operational standards across the board, but also enabling focus on the ‘lower third’ operators.
Integrating to process – Communications are handled with the minimum of human intervention, control of volume is managed through workflow, processes are supported from initial creation through to conclusion and integration. Intervention handling is minimal and all communications have a purpose and focused end result.
What best practices are needed to achieve this?
Targeting – Essential to minimise broadcast and irrelevant communication. Distribute by as much granularity as you can, by role, attribute, hierarchy level, all ensure that what is displayed to the end-user is relevant and minimises the time in processing.
Consolidate – Have it all in one place, remove as many channels as possible and aim to have a single source and version of the truth for employees to access. Challenge the use of all channels and consolidate to as few or ideally a single source of communication in the business.
Control – Over quantity and quality, challenge why the communication has to be sent, can it be consolidated, deferred or just not sent. Make sure the communication is clear, in ‘retail speak’ and easily understood. Establish clear guidelines as to how communication should be written and what should be sent.
Chronologically ordered – Task information needs to be displayed in chronological order. As opposed to an ‘inbox’ needing management and processing to display task requests or activity. If you’re asking the stores to do something, display it on the day it is required to be completed, warn them to prepare for it automatically and also highlight when something is outstanding.
Measure – Gain real-time visibility as to the reach and status of all your communication and then have the ability to manage by exception and chase or resolve issues with the communication. If your processing rates are low then check your volume, if your questions about the communication are high then access the clarity and completeness of your operational communication.
To find out more about how we can supercharge your operational communication effectiveness then contact us at RMS.