As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, retailers need to consider what their employees’ new priorities will be if they want to attract and retain the right people, writes Jane Christopher, head of the Northern European HR team at Citrix.
The last couple of months have transformed the way the world of retail works.
Few would have predicted major retailers could enable thousands of customer service employees to work flexibly – and productively – from home.
Few would have thought a global pandemic could open up new ways to support sustainability – not least with far fewer employees travelling to a head office.
Few would have thought it would mean some retailers could and would draft in thousands of extra staff in the space of days to handle customer demand.
Now, armed with possibilities on how operations could be different, retailers will be considering, for instance, whether a central office is necessary to bring people together five days a week to drive productivity.
In turn, they’ll no doubt realise that a more diverse talent pool will be available if people do not need to work set hours in a set location.
“Many retail employees have seen the light with remote working and may demand changes in their contract to reflect this”
For this new way of working to run smoothly, technology is key, with efficiency and security now top priorities as retailers look for technology that offers fuss-free communication while allowing people to seamlessly find and share information.
But beyond IT, understanding how humans work at their best and enabling effortless moments is also essential to future success.
What people want
Employees are also now more in tune with their preferred way of working and have new ideas on how to work creatively and flexibly. In fact, many retail employees have seen the light with remote working and may demand changes in their contract to reflect this.
What they’ll be looking for is this better ‘employee experience’. Businesses that create this help set themselves up to thrive.
Executives from around the world are reviewing employee experience so they can create the most productive and engaging environment.
A survey of business leaders conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Citrix found employee experience is being discussed by senior management at 88% of UK organisations, with almost half (46%) of UK executives stating it is discussed extensively.
“Richard Corbridge, director of innovation at Boots, says efforts to boost employee experience are crucial to the C-suite team”
In this report, Richard Corbridge, director of innovation at Boots, says efforts to boost employee experience are crucial to the C-suite team. “It’s about getting to a point where colleagues believe that Boots is the best place to work,” he says.
The global pandemic has thrown the complexity of the work environment under a bright light, yet it has also provided businesses with the chance to rethink the best ways to improve engagement and boost productivity among their workforce.
Those who take this moment to make employee experience a priority will be the retailers to shine.
Jane Christopher is head of the Northern European HR team at Citrix.
Citrix is sponsoring the Leaders Workshop at the Be Inspired virtual conference, Europe’s largest diversity event, on Wednesday 17 June. Running from 2pm to 3.30pm, the workshop will focus on leading cultural change with speakers from Coca-Cola European Partners, Pets at Home and Greene King. Register your free place at the workshop here.