A Checklist for Associate Safety

Retail Communications
November 12, 2020
Michelle Wohl

Last week Trader Joes released its Covid-19 statistics and the data tells the story of an industry fighting to keep its essential workers safe in the midst of the pandemic. According to the grocer’s press release, “Trader Joe's has had a total of 1,250 positive cases reported over the past eight months,” which works out to 2.4% of all employees. While Trader Joes believes that the results in virtually all areas are below the average rates of positive cases in each community with Trader Joes, it’s a reminder that associates are being asked to put their safety at risk just to do their jobs.

In the press release, the president of stores, Jon Basalone, gives credit to his associates, saying, "The health and safety practices and procedures that have been put in place, and that continually evolve, have been effective because of the great work done by our Crew Members in every store, every day. We appreciate our Crew Members' diligence and our customers' patience as we work each day to make our stores safe for everyone." 

At Retail Zipline, we believe that the key to associate safety lies in effective communication. In fact, we know this to be true because the data supports it. Our recent Health and Safety Compliance report shows that retailers that don’t use communication software underperform those that do across categories like friendliness, signage, traffic and safety. While any solution is better than no solution, Zipline customers outperform the competition. Why? Brands that use Zipline have put the right practices in place to keep the fleet safe.


Here’s a checklist that you can use to ensure your fleet is set up for success.


  • Do you provide context for task requests?

To drive flawless store execution, you need to ensure that when you ask your stores to complete tasks, especially around safety, there is context behind the task request. Task management on its own won’t work unless it’s coupled with communication.

  • Do you provide a single source of truth?

Regulations and guidelines change every day. Ensure store teams always know where to go for the latest announcements so they’re not operating from outdated information.

  • Is it easy for associates to access and ingest information?

Would your employees rather use Sharepoint or Instagram? To drive adoption of any communications program, you need to make it fun and easy to both access information and ingest it. Video, emojis and short bites of information make it fun to stay on top of news.

  • Is information personalized by role?

Cut the clutter and confusion by filtering news and information by role and/or location so store managers spend less time understanding what they need to do to be compliant.  

  • Do you have actionable reporting?

With safety top of mind, it has never been more important to be able to track what’s happening at stores. Ensure you can generate compliance reports to see who read critical messages and marked tasks complete and which store teams are in the red.

  • Does HQ have visibility into all activities at stores?

Without a way to see what’s being asked of stores, you have no way of knowing whether they’re being overwhelmed or being given conflicting information. You need a summary of what the entire fleet is doing at any time to maintain the standards expected of them.

  • Have you enabled two-way communications with stores?

No one is closer to what’s happening in stores than associates. Do you have a way for field employees to communicate directly with managers and HQ about what’s happening at the stores? With health and safety on top of associates’ and customers’ minds, you need a way to view results in real-time so business leaders have the data they need to quickly change plans or policies.

  • Can you reach your store associates on mobile?

Your associates and district managers need visibility into tasks and execution in real-time. Gone are the days of associates having time to check a stockroom computer for news. With fewer employees and more to do, they need to be able to access information from mobile devices that are with them all the time.

Want to discuss how you’re ensuring the safety of your store employees? With more than 13,000 stores using Zipline, we have a lot of best practices to share. Please reach out. We would love to chat.