Has unlocking impacted retail team shortages?

5 ways to manage smaller teams

Article by Martyn Jones | 6th October 2021

Stores have reopened and UK retailers are gearing up for a busy Christmas. Having missed out on a family celebration in 2020, consumers are starting their festive preparations earlier than ever. This is great news for retailers, but it will put a lot of pressure on colleagues. Unfortunately, this increased footfall may coincide with a rise in colleague absences. 

The vaccine rollout has done a great job of reducing serious cases of COVID-19, but mild cases remain relatively common. With self-isolation rules still in place, short-notice absences are likely to continue throughout the autumn. 

This may be exacerbated by a severe winter flu season. 18 months of lockdowns have reduced natural immunity, causing experts to predict up to twice as many cases as usual.   

Whether or not these predictions come true, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Our products are designed to fill the gaps left by absent colleagues. By increasing efficiency, we can help you to stay on top of things even when numbers are tight. Here’s how:

1. Hands-on training

UK job vacancies are at a record high and many retailers are looking for seasonal help in the run up to Christmas. This is a vital part of the retail calendar, allowing employers to cope with increased footfall and to find colleagues for permanent roles in the new year. However, with colleague absences likely to rise, you may struggle to find the time to train new hires. 

Our headsets solve this problem by enabling experienced colleagues to provide hands-on training for new recruits:

  • Colleagues can perform their normal tasks while simultaneously explaining them via their headsets. This allows you to train new hires without having to remove colleagues from the shop floor.
  •  If newer colleagues need a refresher once training is complete, it’s as simple as pushing a button and asking for help. 
  • Our conference feature allows you to create separate channels for specific areas of expertise. This means that new recruits can find the information they need as quickly as possible. 

Why VoCoVo is the perfect training tool: 

2. Personalised voice reminders

With fewer colleagues on the shop floor, important tasks can easily be missed. Forgetting to restock a fridge or set an alarm can have serious consequences. In many cases, fixing these errors will take much longer than performing the original job. 

Stress levels are likely to be high when numbers are tight. In this situation, constantly reminding colleagues of their duties is a sure-fire way to create resentment. This is where personalised voice reminders can help:

  • Managers can set automated reminders to be sent to colleagues at specific times. This allows you to gently remind them of outstanding tasks without making them feel pressured. 
  • Colleagues can also set their own voice reminders, fostering a sense of independence and improving morale. Less stress for colleagues and fewer worries for managers. 

3. Message casting

A smaller team means that colleagues are likely to be occupied at all times. This can make it difficult to get everyone together for a team meeting. 

Our message casting feature allows HQ to share information with all colleagues at once by sending updates straight to their headsets. This could prove especially useful if the government decides to reintroduce certain safety measures in the coming months. As soon as anything changes, HQ can let everyone know.  

4. Improve task efficiency

With fewer colleagues on each shift, you need to be sure that everyone is working as effectively as possible. Our headsets are designed to eliminate the most common causes of inefficiency on the shop floor:

  • Colleagues can find information for customers without having to track down co-workers or visit other departments. They can also check inventory without walking to the stockroom. This saves each colleague up to 1.4km per day in unnecessary walking. 
  • Headsets are hands-free, so colleagues can answer questions while continuing to perform manual tasks. This can improve task efficiency by as much as 105 minutes per day. 

5. Free colleagues from desks

When numbers are tight, you can’t afford to have colleagues doing nothing. Click & Collect and customer service desks are an important part of the store, but they are not always busy. Our call points give colleagues the freedom to leave these areas during quiet periods without running the risk of missing a customer:

  • Call points can be put on desks in place of a colleague. When a customer needs help, they can press the call point to alert nearby colleagues.
  • Two-way call points allow colleagues to answer queries remotely. In some cases, the problem can be solved without the need to attend to the customer in person. 
  • Colleagues are free to get on with other tasks without being tied to the desk. Colleagues can go wherever they are needed, allowing you to make the most of a smaller team. 

Get in touch today for more tips on coping with reduced numbers.

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