3 ways to use communications to build trust with your retail workforce

Effective communication across your organization is key to your employee's trust and happiness, which leads to excellent performance. Here's how you can use it to build trust among your workforce.

August 14, 2020
Angelique Parungao

Research shows that trust in management is one of the top contributors to employee happiness at a company. But with such a big workforce, non-desk employees and multiple branches, how can you ensure transparency from management is still prominent in your retail company? One key tool is communication. Communicating in the right way to your staff can help form that sense of trust and make a huge difference in how they view leadership transparency. Let’s take a look at 3 key ways you can use communications to your advantage:

1. Blasting updates, both good and bad, from management to the entire workforce

Despite being the main touchpoint between your company and your customers, frontline employees are usually the least informed about wider company initiatives, quarterly targets and changes in company policies. Openly sharing these updates directly from management in a way that reaches the entire workforce at once (not filtered through seniority levels) breaks down organizational barriers and creates a stronger culture. While it’s encouraging to always share good news, you may also want to consider sharing less positive news. Companies who admit when they make a mistake are deemed more honest and reliable by employees, especially when the update comes upfront and directly from management.

2. Welcoming feedback and actively responding to feedback

Setting up an internal feedback structure can be crucial for building trust with your frontline employees, whose ideas and opinions are often the most unheard by management. Creating an open-door policy for feedback is one step towards building a stronger relationship with your staff. However, a crucial counterpart to that is the need to actively answer these queries in an open forum, allowing staff to see that management hears their concerns and are determinedly working through them, whether it’s through further discussions, implementation or a direct response. Simply taking in feedback without communicating back on the action points you will take can actually do more harm than good.

3. Talking to your staff like they’re your friends

There’s nothing less trustworthy than management who appear to be untouchable beings in suits that no one can ever approach. Chatting to your employees the way you would with your friends — asking them how their weekend was, congratulating them on their newborn baby, having casual banter — humanises senior team members and puts everyone on the same level. By getting rid of the tense, formal tone (of course, when appropriate), you’ll build better relationships with your workforce and strengthen that trust.

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