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on January 23, 2020 Internal Communications

The 4 Biggest Communication Challenges Facing Retail Employees

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Anyone who has ever worked in a retail setting knows that there are often a lot of communication challenges facing these associates. Considering there are over 4.7 million retail workers in the United States alone, this is no small dilemma. For this reason, it is important to recognize and minimize some of the biggest communication challenges facing retail employees.

1. Poor Inter-Management Communication

Unless a store is a small independently owned shop, it is likely that there is more than one manager on staff. When it comes to retail, there are over 400,000 sales managers in the US, which means that on average, there is one manager for every 12 employees. For some of the larger retail stores that staff upwards of 30 retail employees, this could mean three different managers with three different management styles for employees to adjust to and communicate with.

Considering this, a lack of an adequate communication system can cause complications between the different tiers of staff. For example, something that is said by one manager may not be relayed to the others or the company higher-ups. This causes a significant breakdown in communication, especially when it comes to things like employee scheduling.  Instead, organizations should have a central space where managers can share information passed onto them with one another to make sure that everyone is on the same page. 

2. The Mix of Frontline and Backroom Employees

Another very common theme in the retail industry is having a mix of both frontline and backroom employees. They often do not work in the same building together, making communication with everyone fairly difficult. 

A solution to this is providing both backroom and frontline employees with a messaging app that management can use to send things to everyone across all the various positions at once. This is especially helpful if there are multiple store locations in various cities or states. 

3. The Inability for Employees to Communicate With Upper Management

A mistake that many retail companies make is that they only establish communication channels where executives and managers can send information to the employees. However, a business in the retail industry is likely going to have a few instances where employees learn some valuable information that needs to be shared with upper management, such as a method of making a certain retail process more efficient. If there is no easy channel of communication for this to happen, then the valuable information will not get to the people who need to hear it and the company will not be improved. 

4. Lack of In-Person Meetings Before Store Opening

The problem with sending out internal communications in an email to all employees is that not everyone reads their work email every day. This is especially true for frontline employees who can sometimes go days or even weeks without looking at their work email. 

That is why retail stores should get in the habit of conducting pre-shift meetings where they gather all of the frontline employees and let them know about any important information that should be shared. This way, it ensures that everyone is on the same page. 

By overcoming these challenges, you can help to make your retail business as efficient as possible. 

Sydnie Fultz

Creative Content Manager

Curious about how technology can help improve retail employee engagement?