Last week, Quinyx Global Retail Sales Manager Shauna Maney joined Deborah Weinswig, Coresight Research CEO & Founder, for a discussion on how businesses can support their employees and prepare for the future during the COVID-19 crisis.
Deborah and Shauna discussed the importance of planning around three phases; emergency, recovery and the “new normal.”
Below, we summarise their guidance on how to be successful during the challenging times ahead and how a workforce management tool like Quinyx can help.
Take care of your own
“What we are looking at right now is an emergency phase. Everyone is hunkering down and dealing with the things that need the most attention,” says Shauna. Whether it be adding new salary codes to pay employees accurately, finding new ways to communicate with employees or monitoring their mental health and engagement, Shauna identified a consistent theme amongst her customers - they are focused on taking care of their own.
By doing so, they increase their chances of retaining their skilled labour and ultimately emerging from this crisis with an engaged, loyal and qualified workforce. “We need to take care of our employees, so when this does resolve, we have employees to take care of.”
Avoid communication gaps
Deborah asks, “What tools can you use to ensure you take care of your employees?” For Shauna, it's clear that communication is key. She talks about the deskless workforce, the frontline workers who don’t have access to the same tools or devices as corporate employees. “We need to make sure we don’t have a gap in communication because we’re not able to liaise with them in person.”
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Pause. Rethink. Succeed.
At this time, there is value in being thoughtful or reflective, rather than rushing headfirst into a perceived solution. Shauna suggests to throw out your current 2020 plan and mock up a new strategy for the next 12 months, starting with the questions: “What does success look like in 6 or 12 months?” and “What is the first step I need to take in order to be successful right now?”
Many of her retail customers are doing just that, taking an operational pause during which they can transform their business, rethink their current processes and implement business-critical tools in order to come out from this stronger, smarter and more productive.
Help is out there
Stay informed! Companies need to be on an active hunt for industry insights, new legislation and innovative solutions. Deborah says, “Reach out to your partners, your vendors, your clients even. We’re seeing all kinds of support out there. There’s support on the government level, but there is more support than what one might expect.”
Deborah also mentioned Coresight Research’s own COVID-19 resources page, found here.
Helping employees return to work
When stores, restaurants and offices reopen, and we transition to the recovery - and eventually the “new normal” phase - we must create an environment where employees feel safe and comfortable returning to work and being in close proximity with one another - and with customers. Yet again, communication and engagement will play a vital role along with advanced forecasting, task management, compliance and absence management.
Create a framework for the future
As a byproduct of COVID-19, businesses must create a framework to prepare for future - previously unforeseen - challenges like rolling isolation, the temporary transition of a store to a Distribution Centre or Click & Collect only, and to enable emergency communication to anyone working with a team member who has fallen ill.
“Many companies don’t have business continuity plans in place that are suitable for this type of scenario but there are some that we can take the lead from. Pharmacies have “pandemic plans”. They make those every single year so that if something were to happen, they could enact them.” Of course, this seems logical for pharmacies, but as we now know, traditional retailers can benefit from being forward thinking, responsive and agile too.
This webinar was part of a Female Founders Forum series, held every Thursday at 1 PM EDT/6PM BST, where Deborah meets with members to discuss the challenges we are facing in this environment, and how we can help each other through these trying times.
Want to join their next forum? Find more info here.
Coresight Research operates at the intersection of global fashion, retail and technology. Their global team of industry-leading analysts conducts in-depth research and analysis and produces hundreds of must-read reports annually. They also offer strategic advisory services, provide startup intelligence and connect global leaders working across the entire retail supply chain.
The team, led by Deborah Weinswig, an award-winning retail and technology analyst, delivers cutting edge research on topics such as the evolving retail landscape, changing consumer behaviour, disruptive retail technologies and the future of supply chains in sectors such as apparel, beauty, grocery and furniture.
For more information, please visit Coresight's website.
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