Utilizing innovations to enhance frontline worker productivity in retail | HCLTech

Utilizing innovations to enhance frontline worker productivity in retail

Discover how HCLTech's innovative solutions are enhancing frontline worker productivity in retail, tackling challenges like manual processes and paper-based workloads.
5 minutes read
Tuhin  Bhattacharya


Tuhin Bhattacharya
Associate Vice President
5 minutes read
Utilizing innovations to enhance frontline worker productivity in retail

In a competitive landscape where consumer demands are constantly evolving, the retail industry is under constant pressure to maintain agility and efficiency. Moreover, the role of frontline workers, crucial in delivering exceptional service and ensuring operational success, is becoming increasingly demanding. 

Recent studies, including one by Everest, reveal a significant industry-wide push to enhance frontline workforce productivity. Specifically, 67% of retailers and 60% of CPG companies are actively engaging in people survey initiatives to understand and improve employee engagement. A concerning turnover rate of 60.5% highlights the urgent need for major retailers to tackle the underlying issues causing employee turnover. 

Understanding the challenges of frontline workers

The efficiency of frontline workers is often hindered by various systemic challenges, which, if addressed, could drastically improve productivity and customer satisfaction.

Inefficiency due to manual processes: Frontline workers in retail face a significant challenge with manual processes. These manual tasks, often repetitive and time-consuming, can consume 2-4 hours of a worker's week. 


  • To combat inefficiency, companies should implement accessible digital systems specifically designed for these critical daily tasks. By doing so, valuable man-hours can be reallocated to more strategic initiatives. 
  • Furthermore, leveraging data analytics and AI to manage these processes can pinpoint opportunities for productivity enhancements, ensuring that workers are supported by insightful, data-driven decision-making.

Unmanageable paper-based workload: Retail’s continued reliance on paper presents a significant challenge. The time consumed in handling papers, the high risk of errors involved and the effort required in maintaining records are all factors that directly impact productivity.


  • Eliminating or significantly replacing paper-based systems with modernized workflows through digital transformation can improve processes that are currently completed manually. 
  • Understanding the distinct strengths of frontline workforce can help build a value proposition that speaks to them and eases their daily tasks with digital tools to ensure accuracy and save time.

Lack of workplace flexibility: Today's workforce, particularly the younger generation, increasingly values flexibility. For frontline workers in retail, the lack of flexibility is often the leading factor for job dissatisfaction and high turnover rates. The rigid structures of traditional retail workflows fail to provide the convenience and adaptability that modern workers expect. 


  • Introducing flexibility can be as simple as allowing workers to access their work logins on personal devices securely, enabling them to contribute from remote locations 
  • Supporting a distributed work style with real-time remote assistance and scalable support can significantly enhance productivity 
  • Emphasizing tools that uphold security and compliance is essential as you introduce more flexibility into the workplace

The need for an employee-first environment: Distrust within the organization can emerge when employees feel they are not put first or supported adequately. This sentiment can be particularly pronounced in the retail industry, where frontline workers may feel disconnected from the broader company goals and values.


  • Utilizing tools that can measure and enhance the initial onboarding experience and ongoing engagement and development strategies 
  • It is crucial to addressing differences among demographic groups, including the need for supportive colleagues, inspiring leadership and a clear path for career development
  • Tailoring initiatives that give frontline workers more opportunities to grow and embedding D&I principles into the company culture to ensure that all employees feel valued and recognized

Lack of recognition and adequate tools: Frontline workers often perceive a lack of recognition for their efforts, combined with an absence of the right tools needed to perform their jobs efficiently. 


  • Enhancing communication channels using advanced tools can help to acknowledge employee contributions while fostering collaboration 
  • Introducing automation in areas where it is feasible can help realize the dream of a more streamlined, efficient work process 
  • Rolling out tools that allow for faster problem resolution and promoting self-service capabilities can make a significant difference for frontline workers. For instance, by equipping teams with data collection apps and predictive maintenance tools via wearable technology, workers can be proactive – rather than reactive – which reduces downtime and improves overall efficiency 

Product knowledge as a productivity lever: A definitive gap in product knowledge can lead to a lack of confidence among frontline workers, which in turn affects customer service and sales execution. In the fast-paced consumer goods and retail world where products and promotions continuously evolve, staying informed is not just beneficial, it's essential. 


  • Prioritizing learning and development tailored to the frontline workforce allows employees to stay up to date with the latest products and services 
  • Experiential learning solutions, such as virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) simulations, can provide practical, hands-on training that is both engaging and effective 
  • This approach not only equips employees with the necessary knowledge, but also instills a sense of confidence, enabling them to serve customers more effectively and contribute to organizational success 

Tangible benefits of elevating the frontline worker digital experience

Investing in digital transformation for frontline workers yields tangible benefits across various aspects of business operations:

  1. Employee engagement: Leads to a more productive workforce and increased worker retention
  2. Customer satisfaction: Ensures better customer outcomes and higher satisfaction levels
  3. Profitability: Helps to increase overall profitability and achieving better bottom-line growth
  4. Worker health and safety: Promotes a safer and more beneficial working environment

Empowering frontline workers: HCLTech’s initiative

HCLTech is dedicated to leading this transformative effort by showcasing how innovative solutions can revolutionize the role and efficiency of frontline workers to achieve a more productive and competitive future for the industry.

HCLTech is at the forefront of enhancing frontline workforce productivity within the retail sector. Our suite of services includes:

  1. Retail Workplace-as-a-Service (RWaaS): A comprehensive service package that enable a smart retail workplace to thrive by taking care of all necessities in a retail store setup
  2. Frontline Worker Solution: Tailored solutions designed to meet the unique needs of frontline staff
  3. Fluid WISE: A solution aimed at digitalizing workplaces through vertical integration
  4. Human Capital Management Services: Next-gen solutions for optimizing HR ecosystem, talent management, recruitment and more
  5. Collaboration with Industry Leaders: Our partnership with companies like Microsoft, Zebra, UKG or Cornerstone exemplifies our commitment to leveraging the best technologies for frontline workforce solutions


The journey towards enhancing frontline workforce productivity is multi-faceted, involving the integration of digital solutions, redefined job roles and a strong emphasis on employee engagement and training. By adopting strategic technologies and practices, companies in the retail industry can overcome current challenges to improve efficiency, employee engagement, customer satisfaction and profitability. 


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