Customer experience might be key, but employee experience is essential

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Think about the last time you had a phenomenal retail customer experience. Maybe you were getting coffee to-go, buying a new novel, or returning a pair of jeans that just didn’t fit. Whatever the situation, remember how that experience left you feeling and why.

Often, it’s the employees you interact with, not the products you buy, that create those delightful buying experiences. And what’s the biggest factor influencing positive customer experiences? The employees’ own happiness.

By now, you’ve most likely heard the adage: Happy employees translate to happy customers. This is especially important in retail, where customer interaction is impossible to avoid.

Unfortunately, with the volatility of the retail industry and job openings being numerous, we see many employees leaving in favour of other opportunities that don’t carry the same economic hardships, scheduling flexibility, workload increases and safety concerns. In fact, the United States alone saw an average of 3.9 million employees per month quit their jobs last year with many resulting from retailers.

If you’re wondering how to boost workforce morale, you can start by focusing on your employee experience, which IDC notes is strongly correlated with customer experience. And a great way to focus more heavily on this experience is by investing in the technology pillar that powers most of it: HCM.

Three ways HCM technology can improve your employee experience for the better

Improved self-service capabilities

Since, the rise of flexible, hybrid work, employee self-service systems have seen a huge increase in demand. And in an industry like retail where deskless work is already conventional, self-service tools are essential. Employees shouldn’t feel roadblocked when trying to request time off, change their schedules, or ask for pay advancements – and through support from technology, they don’t have to be. Our customers are tackling this problem head-on by using Oracle Cloud HCM to deliver more visibility and flexibility related to scheduling and compensation. Through innovative self-service capabilities, employees are empowered to easily address common HR-related tasks. They can do everything digitally from managing their schedules to networking and exploring new opportunities of interest. Even areas like payroll are dramatically enhanced. For example, organisations can provide flexible payment options to staff like Anytime Pay, which allows employees to access earned wages before payday without disrupting your payroll processes.

Request pay advance Enhanced learning functionality

Employee responsibilities are continuing to increase and, while necessary, it’s negatively impacted mental health and employee satisfaction. Last year alone, nearly 80 per cent of US workers expressed concerns about their mental health, citing burnout due to heavy workloads as the primary cause.

This burnout is evident of a larger issue for staff – a lack of continuous training and support. When employees are more equipped to accomplish new tasks, they feel confident and less stressed out. However, getting them training when they need it isn’t always easy.

Innovations in learning, specifically on-demand learning, have helped deskless workers access information when they need it. By using a flexible learning management solution like Oracle Learning, organisations are able to create and curate personalised and relevant content for their workforce. We hear stories from our own customers about how Oracle has helped increase the knowledge and skills of their staff to tackle new asks from leadership. It’s also worth noting that a commitment to employee development has been shown to increase retention, in case you’re looking to curb the effects of the great resignation.

Greater ease of use and HR accessibility

Having the right self-service and learning platforms are great, but it doesn’t mean much if employees can’t access these resources. It’s reported that 83 per cent of deskless employees don’t have a corporate email address and 45 per cent lack access to a work computer. As you can imagine, this absence of technology can be problematic when time comes for retail employees to address HR-related tasks. Just as consumer organisations have overhauled their consumer experiences to be more simplistic, intuitive, and accessible, HR needs to do the same for their workforce.

Our retail customers have ensured that their employees still feel connected to HR through our highly-available platform. Oracle Cloud HCM offers deskless employees a connection to HR through a consistent, cloud-based user experience regardless of device. If they run into issues in the field, an AI-powered Digital Assistant and centralised HR Help Desk provide easily accessible answers to address any challenges.

The retail industry is experiencing increased volatility, and employers are rethinking their employee experience to match workforce needs. If you’re a retailer taking action to develop a more welcoming workplace, the opportunity for you to succeed is now.

By Pete Jaradeh, Product Marketing Manager, Oracle