Continuous learning can play a role in keeping associates safe as the delta variant surges

Since the start of the pandemic, brick-and-mortar retailers have had to pivot again and again to keep up with rapid changes. While the rise in vaccinations promised some stability, the delta variant is throwing retail yet another curve ball.

Since the variant spreads much faster, even among fully vaccinated people, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that masks be worn in indoor public spaces once again. That means retailers, even in communities with high vaccination rates, need to get their associates up to speed on changing public health mandates and safety protocols in their stores.

To top it off, the stock market has also taken a hit, sparking fresh worry about the future of the industry. While retailers might not see the same damage to their bottom lines as last year, it’s clear we’re not out of the woods quite yet.

So how can you keep your employees safe, engaged and productive at work—and drive business results—even as the delta variant surges? Here are a few strategies you can use to make sure they stay protected and perform their best.

1. Make training continuous and adaptive

Your associates don’t need the same one-and-done training they received a few years or even months ago. Stale content just won’t cut it in a world of accelerated change.

To stay on top of evolving public health mandates and company policies while maintaining a great customer experience, associates need easy access to super relevant and timely content in the flow of work. Even better? Go the extra mile and personalize the experience with adaptive learning. You’ll be able to fill knowledge gaps easily and effectively so each and every one of your employees can start performing their best—even if they have to pivot on a dime to keep up with changing mask mandates and other safety procedures.

Top retailers, such as Walmart, are using continuous learning to achieve unprecedented safety results. By building relevant training into every shift, the company has improved employee knowledge and retention around safety practices, reducing safety incidents by 54% and reaching knowledge lifts of 15% on safety-related topics. Check out the full story.

Find out how continuous, personalized learning drives better frontline performance.

2. Communicate with associates clearly and often

Staying in touch with your employees across locations helps keep them in the loop about any rolling changes. But bridging the gap between HQ and your frontline can be tricky if you have a large, distributed workforce. 

An agile communication solution makes it easier to reach your employees where they are. With regular communication all in one place, your associates have easy access to the information they need to keep themselves and customers safe and deliver a consistently awesome experience—no matter how quickly or often things change. 

Just ask MOL Group: they’ve been leveraging Axonify to innovate their business model while giving their essential workers real-time updates, access to the latest pandemic information and daily training on new policies and procedures. The results of their case study speak for themselves.

3. Keep a pulse on industry trends as the situation evolves

Supporting the frontline smarter is a team effort. As long as you’re getting guidance from the right source, learning how global business leaders and industry pros have pulled off their own pandemic pivots can be a big help.

Conveniently, we’re bringing together some big thinkers, hands-on doers and captivating storytellers at our virtual AxoniCom LIVE event on October 26th. If you’ve got burning questions about making the frontline more human for your employees, we’ve got answers. Save your spot and attend for free. 

You can also get timely frontline insights delivered straight to your inbox from our CEO, Carol Leaman. Her newsletter is dedicated to building a frontline that’s happy, connected and ready for anything. Sign up to get your dose of great ideas every other Saturday.

Building the right behaviors on the frontline can keep your employees safe, engaged and performing, even as the impact of the delta variant threatens business. By leaning into continuous learning, agile communication and industry best practices, you can help your retail associates break through uncertainty and stay on track to post-pandemic recovery.

Jordan Dilworth has spent the majority of his marketing career working with some of the world’s leading brands and retail organizations across the apparel, footwear and beverage alcohol industries. Prior to Axonify, he was the head of North American Retail Marketing at Columbia Sportswear Company for 125 stores across the portfolio of brands and store formats. At Axonify, Jordan leads the Demand Marketing team with a focus on the Retail and Food & Beverage Industries.

Let’s work together to drive frontline performance in all the right ways.