Coronavirus & the impact on your communication with your employee

Tips & tricks for retailers for communication in times of crisis

In hectic times like these, certainties suddenly appear to be in doubt. Doubt strikes in the field of health: “What is good for me? How do I protect myself and the people around me? ”

And if that's not enough, the entire Corona crisis has a huge impact on everyone's work situation. Employers in retail have additional concerns about this: “How do I ensure a safe shopping environment for both customer and employee? And what do I do if all shops close? ” The list of questions from the customer, employee and employer side seems endless.

Clear communication is of course key here.

How can you communicate clearly as an employer, while keeping an eye out for the "human" side of the employee? We'll give some tips down below:

1. Communicate quickly, but not rushed.
Employees would like to know where they stand and a clear position from the employer provides certainty. The longer rules or decisions are delayed, the more sensitive the employee is to rumors. And that certainly has no positive influence on his / her motivation. A good starting point may be to communicatie about the consequences of new regulations from the government within an hour. You can often prepare for this with your management team. Digital screens in the cafeteria or an employee app can also help you get the message to your employees quickly.

2. Be clear about safety
Both the customer and the employee feel unsafe in the familiar environment that the store used to be. Therefore, give clear tips about which measures you can take as a customer and as an employee with regard to hygiene. You could think of washing hands, keeping 1.5 meters distance, accepting cash, etc. As an employer, you set the standard for this! Remember that rules are best remembered when they are not communicated in text, but visualized as much as possible. A good example is the image that most supermarkets now use, about 1.5 meters distance.

3. Provide tips on working from home.
There is also a group for whom working from home is possible. Of course, there will be technical aspects involved with working from home, but certainly also communication aspects. For example, start the day with a virtual start to the day, now that colleagues no longer work in the same room. Some parts of work processes in the home situation also deserve extra attention. Checklists regarding the design of the home workplace (think of ergonomic tips, but also a secured WiFi network and GDPR) can help with this.

 

4. Listen to your employees!
As an employer you can try to foresee all the pitfalls, but your employees are best aware of their own insecurities and those of the customer. For example, perhaps customers no longer dare to try on clothes, or employees find it difficult to help the elderly. Moreover, it is pleasant for employees if they continue to communicate with their employer during these uncertain times. Ask your employees to share their concerns and those of the customer. If you do not have face-to-face contact, ask for feedback in another way, for example through an employee app.

5. Have a realistic view on productivity.
As an employer, you have a major challenge: you want your employees to be as productive as possible in order to safeguard your company. This is complicated by "logistical" problems such as "there is not enough traffic in the physical store", "empty stocks due to hoarding" and "working from home is made more difficult by children who are at home." Here too you can listen to your employees for communication. If they have efficient solutions for the homework "problem", you can communicate this with your other employees. Do they indicate that they have nothing to do in the store? We will soon give you tips on how you can actively respond to this.

6. "Pay attention to each other!"
Rutte's message does not only apply to the private sphere, of course; perhaps even more so to the working environment. In times like these it is important to keep morale high, so use your communication channels to regularly support your employees. This is easy with an employee app: you regularly post a motivational post and the many reactions of the employees do the rest. Of course, in addition to communication, you can also opt for fruit in the workplace or a smoothie. A little care grows goodwill!

In short, especially in times like these, communication can contribute to good employment practices and provide your business with a positive impulse.

Are you busy with the most necessary communication or are you curious how you can communicate more effectively with your employees, for example via an employee app? We like to help you and have a mobile-first solution Retail InTouch that we can implement quickly. We can act quickly! Do not hesitate to contact us: fill in this contact form or email Nathalie Piket.

 

Raymond Kulsen

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