Reopening stores and bringing employees back to work? You likely have a very long checklist to contend with. From social distancing build-outs and new staff policies to rehiring and preparing to open the doors, the task is monumental. Here we've compiled essential action items and offer tools to cut back on some of that list.
Your primary concern should be to provide a safe working (and shopping) environment. OSHA requires that employers must create a workplace that is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm” to employees. In terms of COVID, they advise that businesses follow CDC guidelines for minimizing the spread of the disease, including social distancing, health monitoring, cleaning, and PPE measures.
Part of keeping staff safe is abiding by up-to-date government advisories. The National Governors Association has compiled a state-by-state breakdown of public health criteria in reopening plans. Particularly over the next few months, you should refer to your state's requirements and recommendations frequently.
The National Retail Federation has also put together some good retail-specific resources, including retail reopening checklists and social distancing store signs in several languages retailers can print and post throughout their stores.
Although the imperative is to get retail open again to save stores, jobs, and our overall economy, many Americans hold strong reservations. A Bankrate survey found that 55% of us think businesses are reopening too soon, with 43% saying they intend to shop less at physical stores once reopening is underway.
This is clearly a trying time for retail. You will need to work on building trust not only with your customers, but with your employees. You will require some new policies and plans to handle things smoothly. And you'll need to communicate and listen to your staff, making sure they understand new protocols and feel secure in your plans.
Things to communicate to staff include:
- How you plan to keep them safe
- What deep cleaning and ongoing cleaning measures are you taking?
- How do your social distancing build-outs and floor plans help reduce the spread of infection?
- What personal protection are you either providing or offering a discount for?
- What are your COVID breakout contingency plans?
- What steps can employees take to keep themselves and co-workers safe?
- What employees should do if they become ill due to COVID
- Are you offering a sick leave plan?
- What options do they have if their child becomes ill?
- What are your child care policies
- Child care issues are affecting millions of Americans. What is your workaround for staff?
The above is not an exhaustive list, but some of the key issues workers are expressing concern about. And in your efforts to communicate answers and safety plans, ensure you post up-to-date information in common areas for your retail employees to refer to.
We've written quite a bit about employee motivation. Motivated staff give shoppers better customer experiences and tend to sell more. Given the stress everyone is going through right now, motivation is just that much more critical.
Glassdoor, a website that collects employee satisfaction rates of employers, conducted a 10-year study that revealed an undeniable correlation between happy employees and happy customers. They also found that stronger employee ratings translated into higher stock market values. They concluded that retail, and other industries with strong employee-customer interactions, have the highest significance. The below chart highlights Glassdoor's findings.
Retail Employee Engagement Platform
So how can you best communicate and motivate your retail employees with all that is going on? You face the formidable task of rapidly bringing back furloughed employees, recruiting for vacancies, onboarding everyone, and reopening doors to get your stores on a solid path to recovery.
We have created a fast-track program to help you prepare, train, and redeploy your store workforce. The SellPro platform is a core instrument retailers use to engage and motivate employees by leveraging benefits impossible to achieve with an LMS. And you can use our platform to help keep employees safe and stay current with COVID-19 compliance.
With SellPro you can:
- Easily create your own COVID-19 certification with automatic re-certification enabled.
- Ask employees to do health self-assessments per state guidelines.
- Deploy your own policy and procedure micro-learning and gamified content quickly and efficiently.
- Empower all your vendors to own the product training for your staff, all in one platform.
- Engage and motivate your store associates with contests, rewards, leaderboards and more.
- Provide access to sales tools in the palms of your store employees’ hands so they can better serve customers.
- Get all your relevant employee engagement data aggregated in interactive dashboards.
We are very excited to see retail is in the process of re-opening and understand the incredible challenges facing owners and managers. Please see information about our Retailer COVID-19 Compliance system to help adhere to OSHA requirements at the store level.
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