Dan Power, UK regional manager at OneLogin, looks at how technology can be used to improve customer engagement as well as employee retention.
Retail is one of the most challenging sectors in the UK right now, particularly with the collapse of the British high street regularly splashed across the front pages. No matter whether a shop front is online or a physical store, all retailers are finding themselves facing the challenge of digital transformation and effective use of technology has become a key differentiator for those that will thrive. Many retailers are harnessing the power of technology to deliver improved employee user engagement and training. The challenge for IT is to deliver these services through an old school Framework that has not needed to address these employees as computer users in the traditional sense.
Gone are the days of notice boards for company updates, with shop assistants being treated as a separate entity to the rest of the business. Traditionally, staff based in the headquarters and those on the shop floor or in the warehouse have been treated in separate silos. Creating a unified workforce and ensuring all employees are recognised can be challenging for many retailers. Clever use of tools such as Identity and Access Management (IAM) can be pivotal in organising different teams in line with the wider business goals through portals that can be used to communicate with employees in all divisions. From internal communications, to sales updates and educational portals, this technology can effectively inform and educate workers at all points across a business – helping create a more engaged, skilled and valued workforce in tune with the company’s business objectives.
Currently, retailers that are early on in their digital transformation journey tend to use generic end-user-based systems and should be looking to cloud-based services to integrate, educate and inform staff, no matter where they are based. By using cloud-based Identity and Access Management systems retailers can simplify internal process, such as rolling out company-wide incentive schemes, and provide individuals with simplified access – requiring just a single password – to their pay slips and holiday booking management programmes. Not only does using such systems make this process more efficient, it maximises the value of investment into such systems.
Onboarding and offboarding
To add another challenge, retailers currently see a high turnover rate and are constantly recruiting to help manage day-to-day footfall on top of the annual peak periods for shopping. However, this constant influx of employees can present headaches for the IT teams, needing to on-board a high volume of new starters in a short space of time and ensuring they have access to everything they need to work efficiently from day one.
No matter if an employee is temporary or permanent, it is important the right person has access to the right application from the right device and location – all at the right time. To tackle this head-on, retailers must integrate all employee applications with the HR system to ensure seamless onboarding.
This also streamlines off-boarding processes. Inevitably, some employees will eventually leave the company and will then need to be seamlessly and securely removed from the system as quickly as they were added. By using automated tools, retail IT teams can onboard and offboard employees from all portals, applications and systems in one click, ensuring they can no longer access the corporate network once they walk out the door.
With the future of the British high street at risk, not only must technology be used to improve customer engagement, but it is vital to employee engagement and retention. At the end of the day, the people are a company’s most important asset as they are the face of the business. To keep pace with technology and put employees at the centre of business, retailers must now move to a more holistic approach and connect all corners of the business to ensure all employees are aligned and feel valued.