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Prioritizing Safety to Increase Employee Satisfaction

The labor shortage, one of many ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, is still in full effect. Because of this, employee satisfaction and retention have never been more important.

Shopify recently reported the turnover rate within retail was nearly 63% in 2021, which can be attributed to a variety of factors – including safety concerns. While working in the retail industry is typically thought of as a safe profession, individuals in the retail and wholesale industries experience nearly  800,000 serious injuries each year.

One of the best ways to ensure satisfaction and a sense of value in the workplace is to provide the employee with the peace of mind that they’ll leave work just as healthy and safe as when they arrived.

Contactless point of sale helps reduce health risks while streamlining operations
Contactless payment, a wireless transaction where the customer completes a purchase by placing their card or other forms of payment near the merchant’s point of sale reader (POS), is rapidly becoming the preference for transactions for both customers and retailers. Not only does contactless payment streamline operations by cutting down the time it takes for each transaction, but increases safety for both customers and the employee due to individuals not touching shared surfaces.

Eighty-four percent of merchants believe that using a contactless form of payment is safer for personal health than using cash, swiping a card, or inserting a chip card. Consumers agree, as eight in 10 consumers across the world have altered how they complete a transaction in order to reduce contact with shared surfaces, according to a study of consumers and small to midsize businesses. Sixty-three percent of consumers would switch to a retailer that provides a contactless payment option, while 48% won’t shop at stores that only have payment methods that require contact with a cashier or shared surface.

Optimize workflow automation with voice automation technology
Workflow automation in both retail stores and distribution centers is becoming more important every day, to not only optimize workflows and keep up with consumer demand, but to also prioritize the safety of the employee. When picking and packing product in the distribution center to prepare for its shipment to its intended retail store, traditional picking workflows require workers to focus on both a pick list and finding the right product location. This often creates safety concerns with the continuous movement that takes place in a distribution center between employees and a variety of moving forklifts and machinery.

This no longer needs to be a safety concern in the workplace, thanks to voice automation technology, which frees up employees’ hands and eyes with voice-guided workflows that supports pick and pack safely, efficiently and accurately.

Voice technology with an integrated barcode scan validation can increase accuracy to 99.99%, only about one error per 1,000 picks. In addition, this technology can increase productivity by more than 30%, improve worker safety up to 20%, and reduce training time up to 85%.

Implementing proper PPE and monitoring air quality in the workplace
Leading causes of injuries in the workplace occur via slips, trips, falls and hand lacerations. It’s important to have the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) located both on your person and around the workplace.

Slips, trips and falls occur for a variety of reasons within the store, whether that be slippery floors, cords, or other obstacles not properly marked. Wearing non-slip shoes is a way to avoid slipping in the workplace. Shoes made with a slip-resistant grip on the tread help negate slippery surfaces.

Non-slip shoes are designed to have deeper tread grooves that resist against slips and falls due to their ability to better grip the ground than those that have shallower tread grooves.

Hand injuries that occur on the job account for more than one million emergency department visits by workers per year in the United States, according to the  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Human factors are major cause of hand injury, whether that be due to rushing, fatigue or not wearing the correct PPE for the job. Seventy percent of workers who experienced hand injuries were not wearing gloves, while the remaining 30% of injured workers did wear gloves, but experienced injuries because the gloves were inadequate, damaged or wrong for the type of risk present.

In addition to implementing the proper PPE in the workplace, it’s also important that both the employee and customer are breathing in healthy air. Monitoring air quality in the space can be easily done by installing air monitors that alert users when conditions are present that may increase the risk of exposure to airborne viral transmission in an indoor area.

This allows users to proactively improve indoor ventilation, which according to the CDC, can help reduce the spread of certain diseases and decrease the risk of exposure among occupants.

The bottom line
With the labor shortage continuing to be a major talking point across the country, employee satisfaction and retention is crucial. Employee safety should be a priority for employers and can be accomplished by inserting a contactless form of payment, integrating voice technology and implementing proper PPE and monitoring air quality in the workplace.

Adapting to the ever-changing landscape of the retail industry will require retailers to utilize all available tools and technologies to protect the safety and well-being of employees, while simultaneously maintaining productivity and efficiency.


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