The Complete Guide to Internal Communications for Retail Workers

Date: 04-May-2023


“Use the complete guide to internal communications for retail workers to redefine how you interact and communicate with your floor workforce.”

The staff in your stores are the representatives of your company. No matter how hard you try to make your brand, advertising, and company culture, it is all wasted if your store workers do not properly explain them to your clients.

But it has always been difficult to connect with retail staff. The sector has a great deal of temporary or casual employees, who usually do not feel as committed to the company. Furthermore, the varying shifts mean that everyone is rarely available at the same time.

Furthermore, retail employees are not close to their computer desks, where you could quickly reach out to them through the internal website: they are serving customers and acting as your company’s ambassadors.

Do you know what’s going on with your organization’s frontline employees? Are they engaged and understanding corporate policies and values? With no communications strategy to connect HQ to the frontline, you and your employees have no way of sharing ideas or insights. This can lead to missed opportunities and prevent smoother, more profitable operations.

What is Employee Internal Communications?

The term “employee internal communications” is used to refer to all ways by which to engage with customers with their staff. This covers conventional top-down communication methods like internal newsletters or email as well as more contemporary, worker-focused strategies like employee engagement, feedback, and peer-to-peer validation.

What makes Internal Communications Essential in Modern Workplaces?

Internal communications are an essential part of any organization. They ensure employees are aware of policy updates and legislation changes, as well as keep them informed about the company’s brand values, mission, and strategy. Additionally, internal communications allow employees to give feedback on how the company is running. As it is getting harder and harder to attract and retain top talent, companies must do more to actively engage their employees and draw new ones.

An organized, coordinated internal communications management plan can:

  • Increasing Productivity & Employee Participation:

Employees will be more motivated if they have a goal to work towards as a team. Additionally, communication strategies that allow staff to express their thoughts make them feel appreciated, which also increases engagement. A Salesforce survey found that employees who have their opinions heard are 5X more likely to have the confidence to do their best work.

  • Enhancing Employee Experience and Reducing Employee Turnover:

Employees are considerably less inclined to look for other employment when they are engaged at work. Highly motivated workers were between 25% and 55% less likely to leave their jobs, according to a Gallup survey.

  • Boost Productivity and Speed up Problem-solving:

Would you prefer your employees to be left on their own when a big issue comes up? Or having access to a wide range of tools and teammates who could be of support to them? Your staff will be better able to work together and solve problems swiftly thanks to an effective communications system.

  • Save the Employer Money:

Poor communication in the workplace can have a costly effect on a company’s finances: in a study of 400 companies, the average company reported a loss of $52.4 million per year due to inadequate communication. Surprisingly, 65% of organizations don’t have a communication strategy in place. Even if they do, they may still fall short if they’re not using modern communication methods, particularly when engaging retail workers. Old methods such as emails and intranet platforms are often ineffective and fail to engage retail staff, who often don’t have access to company emails or digital profiles.

The Issues of Internal Communication for Retail Employees

HQ-to-shop floor communication is often poor in retail organizations, with messages getting diluted or confused as they’re passed down the chain of command. Many retail employees only receive important updates from their store manager. This can result in employees feeling forgotten and disengaged, which impacts the quality of customer service. For example, when employees aren’t aware of changes to corporate policies, promotions, or other important news, customers may perceive them as untrained and unprofessional.

Any business finds it tough to communicate effectively, but reaching store employees can be particularly tricky. The following are some of the major difficulties that retail organizations face with internal communications:

  • Distance between Brand & Outlet:

Retail workers are the face of your brand; they’re the ones interacting with customers and representing your company to the public. It’s important to make sure they’re kept in the loop and feel connected to the company, or else they might become disengaged. Internal comms professionals should keep this in mind when developing messaging, as retail workers might not see their experiences reflected otherwise. By taking these measures, you can ensure that retail workers stay engaged and connected to your brand.

  • Shift Timing:

Retail workers typically have rotating shifts. This can lead to communication difficulties, even at the store level. With everyone in different places at different times, it’s easy for information to get lost in the shuffle. And with employees starting their workdays at different times, it can be tough to ensure that everyone sees important updates first thing. One way to overcome this is to schedule updates before the workday begins. This can be difficult for retail employees who may not start their day with a computer, but it’s worth exploring. Thanks for everything!

  • Tech Platform:

An effective internal communication system must be built on a dependable technological foundation, such as a company intranet. The issue is that while these platforms can be smoothly incorporated into regular tasks for information workers, this isn’t the scenario for shop staff. Despite the possibility of a desktop in the back office or storage space, shop floor staff often do not have access to it and may not even have a business email account. Additionally, since computers aren’t typically found on the shop floor, workers would have to leave their workstations in order to access them, which is frequently impractical in a busy business.

7 Ideas for Your Internal Communications Strategy to Engage with Retail Employees

As retail workers are often the only employee that customers will come into contact with, it is important that they are well-informed about the products, policies, and promotions of the organization. This way they can act as ambassadors of the brand and promote its values to the public. Good internal communication within a retail organization can be challenging, especially in large organizations with multiple locations. However, engaging your retail staff can significantly improve how the public views your organization.

Here are a few ideas for improving internal communications for retail staff so that they not only get to your workers on the shop floor but also motivate and unite them:

  • Establish a Single Communication Stream:

Organizations often use various methods to communicate with their retail employees; however, these methods are not always effective. For example, unofficial communication channels like WhatsApp can represent a security risk. Additionally, noticeboards might seem like a convenient way to give employees information; however, these are usually off the shop floor, which means employees need to leave their workstations to access them. There is also no way for employees to double-check information when they’re not at work.

An employee intranet can act as a hub for all communication within your company, streamlining everything into one central location. This is especially useful if you have employees working at different locations. An intranet can also be used to post important documents, announcements, and other information. Additionally, an intranet can help connect your employees and improve communication overall.

  • Mobile Intranet App:

If you’re setting up a company intranet, you need to make sure your retail employees can access it. Otherwise, you’re just exacerbating the divide between them and your office-based team. The thing is, though, desk less workers don’t usually have desks or computers. What they do have – if they’re anything like 97% of Americans – is a smartphone. This means you should go for a solution with a mobile app that all of your employees can download onto their own devices, so they can access your crucial communications from anywhere.

  • Select the Relevant Information to Share:

As a retail employee, you are constantly on the go and don’t have time to sift through a lot of information. This means that if you are overwhelmed with communications, there is a good chance you will ignore them altogether.

A good move is to make sure any communications you send out are highly targeted and relevant to you. For example, there is no point in sending out company-wide notifications about promotions if they only apply to certain locations.

On a basic level, this might simply mean store managers being selective about what information they share with each employee. This isn’t about keeping people in the dark, but ensuring that they are not overloaded with information that is not relevant to them so they can concentrate on the parts that are.

You could also look at intranet software that allows you to create specific groups or channels to ensure you get the information you need, without overloading everyone else.

  • Scheduling and Timing of Communication:

Similarly, it’s important to think about the frequency of your communications. While you might have a lot of news to share with your employees, keep in mind that they’re busy and might not have time to read lengthy communications. You could consider condensing your messaging into a weekly newsletter.

It’s also important to think about when you send out communications. Unlike office workers, retail staff start and finish their shifts at different times, so it may not be possible to reach everyone before they start work. You could try timing your communications to best suit everyone – for example, by posting updates, polls, or surveys between shifts.

  • Form a Community so that Staff Can Benefit from One Another:

It’s important to have a plan for communication between all levels of employees, regardless of location. This way, your frontline workers can share their knowledge and best practices with other stores and locations. An employee intranet with a social media-style feed is a great way to connect employees and allow them to share posts, content, and questions with their colleagues. This will improve performance all around.

  • Reward and Acknowledge Exceptional Performance:

At its best, employee recognition is a regular, public acknowledgment of an individual or team’s efforts and accomplishments. This type of recognition has been shown to be more effective than private praise from a direct supervisor in terms of increasing employee engagement and productivity. Additionally, publicly recognized employees are more likely to stay with their current employer. If you’re looking to implement employee recognition as part of your communication strategy, one option is to send out a regular email, blog post, or piece of content (that diskless employees can access via an employee app) highlighting recent successes.

  • Make Internal Communications for Store Staff Enjoyable:

Employee communications should be concise, engaging, and fun. Retail workers are busy, and they’re more likely to engage with communications that are short and to the point. You can also inject some fun into your internal comms by organizing regular competitions or asking employees to share photos of their pets. This will help them represent your brand in the best way possible.

Features that Every Internal Communication Platform Must Have

An effective communication plan consists of many aspects. It must have properly written content with a strong brand. It should also enable everyone on your staff to participate in the discussion, which necessitates careful organization as well. But none of that will be effective if it’s not supported by a strong framework that encourages collaboration among staff members.

The platform you choose will depend on the particular requirements of your organization. There are many different platforms available, and each has its own distinctive qualities.

You shouldn’t skip a few essential components, though. As you choose a platform, keep the following features in mind:

  • User-Friendly Interface:

You must make the platform you select easy and engaging if you want your staff to really use it. That includes searching for products with an appealing and simple-to-use interface. This is crucial for retail employees especially because they frequently lack the time to master the ins and outs of a complex new program.

  • Mobile Application:

It’s important to meet retail workers where they are if you want to connect with them, therefore seek solutions that can be accessed via a mobile. Furthermore, the solution you select should be mobile-first rather than simply a portal that is technically available on a mobile if you flip the device to the side and wait for it to load.

  • Notification:

Sometimes you need to send a message to your entire organization and be sure that they have received it. Since retail personnel are frequently more difficult to reach than office-based employees, this is an especially important factor to take into account. Use a mobile application with a push notification capability to circumvent this. Then you’ll know the word has reached everyone when you need to promote the summer sale or a new returns policy.

  • Polls and Surveys:

Pulse surveys and polls are excellent tools for monitoring employee engagement and getting quick feedback from employees. This is especially valuable for retail workers, who have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to work on the front line. Often, management teams come up with ideas that look good on paper but ignore potential problems that can only be seen from the ground level. When choosing a communication platform for your business, make sure it includes features that allow you to easily send out surveys and polls and for your employees to respond quickly and easily.

  • Opportunities for Bottom-Up and Inter-Functional Communication:

The best communication doesn’t originate at the top down. You need a system that enables your retail employees to interact with one another, irrespective of their location, to address problems, and even to establish social connections. Bonus points if your platform includes social media-type features like comments and emoji reactions, as these all contribute to making things more entertaining and engaging.

Communicating Internally with Store Employees using the Creative Social Intranet

Creative Social Intranet is an employee communication platform that brings your organization together, whether they’re at their desks or serving customers on the shop floor. With Creative Social Intranet, employees can communicate, share ideas, and better understand your company’s core mission and values. Here are some of the things our platform can do:

  • Post updates, ask questions, and give shout-outs in a personalized news feed
  • Send out polls and surveys that employees can respond to with just a few taps
  • Fully accessible through our mobile app, perfect for engaging retail workers

Need to know more? Request a customized demo to learn how Creative Social Intranet can boost your retail communications and position your company for success.


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