9 in 10 Retail Workers Doubt Business Performance

  • Less than a fifth believe leadership have the best ideas for improvement on business performance.
  • One in three believe management do not encourage operational improvements
  • Top golf retailer American Golf explains how it introduced game-changing technology to digitally transform its loss prevention and compliance processes

Research has revealed that ‘deskless’ workers – including those working in the UK’s retail sector – face regular operational issues, compounding doubts about business performance.

Operational Issues Affect Business Performance

Two-thirds (65%) of frontline workers say they observe operational issues monthly or more frequently, yet less than half (45%) see actions taken to address them within this timeframe.

The research from global technology company SafetyCulture paints a picture of retailers being held back by ongoing operational challenges. Its findings, informed by a YouGov UK-wide survey of frontline workers, show that around 9 in 10 (87%) believe that the business they are working in is failing to operate at its full potential or they are unsure about its performance.

According to the research, many believe the answers to operational issues come directly from those working at the coal face. More than half (55%) of frontline workers say that the best ideas for improvement are derived from within their ranks rather than from leadership (19%). Almost a third of workers (31%) stated that their bosses do not encourage improvements.

Business Communication

In addition to ineffective management which is cited by 42% of frontline workers as a key reason for their business failing to maximise their full potential, respondents also flagged inadequate communication (39%) and training for staff (31%) as barriers. Three in 10 say the last time they had valuable training from their organisation that helped improve their work was a year or more ago. Concerningly, 13% of UK frontline workers feel they have never had any valuable training from their organisation.

Best known for creating the world’s most-used checklist app (iAuditor), SafetyCulture is responding to the challenges identified in the research with the expansion of its all-in-one mobile-first workplace operations platform for frontline workers, leaders and teams.

Business Performance

Beyond its inspections capability, SafetyCulture’s platform now hosts an array of new features for tasks like training and asset management. It includes innovative tools that digitise paper-based forms from a photo and converts work instructions and equipment manuals to enable training on the go. The platform also harnesses the power of AI to create custom-training and inspection templates in minutes.

Enhancing Your Business Approach

A business that has enhanced its approach to retail operations is American Golf. Curtis Dwyer, Profit Protection Officer, said: “As we have grown our business to become Europe’s top golf retailer, we understand the importance of having robust processes in place to deal with operational issues when they arise and ensure the voices of frontline workers are heard.

“As part of this we have introduced game-changing technology to digitally transform our loss prevention and compliance processes. As a result, we can react quickly in unexpected situations. For example, when a batch of products arrived damaged, we were able to create an instant template that was immediately distributed out to stores to initiate a stock count and remove the damaged products to return back to the supplier.”

Commenting on the research findings, Feico Mol, SafetyCulture’s General Manager EMEA said: “Deskless workers are the lifeblood of the UK economy, powering some of our most essential sectors including retail. We must listen to them. Our research shows how operational issues are regularly observed by workers on the frontline, but not always addressed. Too often, frontline workers’ views are overlooked and areas that could improve operations such as investment in technology have been focused on office-based workers.”

He added: “The good news is that it’s not all doom and gloom with three in five workers we asked saying that they’re optimistic about the future of their organisation. We share their optimism and with the right tools and communications, retailers can harness the latent potential within their frontline teams.”