Retailers must embrace technology to engage workforces, says online learning expert

Dineen: engaged employees will take a company to a new level of competitiveness

Dineen: engaged employees will take a company to a new level of competitiveness

With evidence suggesting businesses that achieve high levels of sustainable employee engagement average an operating margin close to three times higher than those with high traditional engagement, large retailers are being urged to explore the potential new technology can play in improving internal communications, employee engagement and best practice exchange among staff.

Fuse, which has designed online learning and knowledge sharing solutions for a large amount of the FTSE 100 and more than 50 Fortune 500 companies, says more businesses need to embrace technology to create a knowledge sharing and collaborative workforce.

“Fuse is built on the foundation the best and the most important knowledge in an organisation sits in the heads of its people,” said Fuse CEO Steve Dineen.

“We believe organisations are made up of amazing people, and when given a voice and the right set of tools, with permission, great leadership and role modelling, every individual’s knowledge can be unleashed, and freeing up this knowledge will take a company to new levels in terms of competitiveness, individual performance, customer service and employee engagement.

“Through our work with organisations like Phones4U, Panasonic and Dixons Retail we have seen how implementing the right technology can help staff share best practice, solve problems and communicate effectively with one another, up and down the organisation and across all levels. Traditional methods of learning and communication are simply no longer effective in today’s fast paced digital world.“

Fuse’s own platform enables individuals to quickly and easily capture and share knowledge, questions and ideas in video, audio or text format. Communities of practice are set up where staff can share knowledge and collaborate with one another and get quick access to the information they need from anywhere, 24 hours a day seven days a week from any mobile device or desktop, and importantly they get recognition for the contributions that they make.

“We know engaged workers are the lifeblood of their businesses. Gallup’s Q12 Client Database showed the top 25% of engaged businesses have significantly higher productivity, profitability, and customer ratings, less turnover and absenteeism, and fewer safety incidents than those in the bottom 25%,” said Dineen.

Fuse also cites the most recent Towers Watson Global Workforce Study, which showed highly engaged employees have lower “presenteeism” and less absenteeism than disengaged employees. The highly engaged lose an average 3.2 days per year to absenteeism, compared with 4.2 days for the disengaged. Highly engaged employees are also less likely to leave their employer than disengaged employees. Seventy two per cent of the highly engaged said they would prefer to remain with their employer even if they had a comparable opportunity elsewhere, compared with 58% of unsupported and 28% of disengaged employees.

“We have seen first-hand how the right technology paired with fantastic leadership can boost employee engagement, reduce workplace errors and increase sales margins,” Dineen said. “It motivates people to share their knowledge and ideas because finally their voices are being heard.”