Communicate in the workplace

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required for effective communication with customers and other staff in the workplace. It involves establishing contact with customers, processing information, working in a team, maintaining personal presentation, following routine instructions, and reading and interpreting retail documents.


This unit relates to frontline service staff and supervisors. It requires the team member to demonstrate the ability to select and use verbal and non-verbal communication techniques to interact with colleagues and customers in a positive and inclusive manner, and to interpret and generate workplace information in a variety of formats.



Elements and Performance Criteria




Establish contact with customers.


Maintain a welcoming customer environment.


Greet customer warmly according to store policy and procedures.


Create effective service environment through verbal and non-verbal interaction according to store policy and procedures.


Use questioning and active listening to determine customer needs.


Demonstrate confidentiality and tact.


Process information.


Answer telephone according to store procedures.


Use questioning and active listening to identify caller and accurately establish and confirm requirements.


Use telephone system functions according to instructions.


Record and promptly pass on messages or information.


Inform customer of any problems and relevant action being taken.


Perform follow-up action as necessary.


Communicate with customers and colleagues from diverse backgrounds.


Value and treat with respect and sensitivity customers and colleagues from different cultural groups.


Consider cultural differences in all verbal and non-verbal communication.


Use gestures or simple words to communicate where language barriers exist.


Obtain assistance from colleagues or supervisors when required.


Work in a team.


Demonstrate a courteous and helpful manner at all times.


Complete allocated tasks willingly according to set timeframes.


Actively seek or provide assistance by approaching other team members when difficulties arise.


Identify lines of communication with supervisors and peers according to store policy.


Encourage, acknowledge and act upon constructive feedback provided by other team members.


Use questioning to minimise misunderstandings.


Identify and avoid signs of potential workplace conflict wherever possible.


Demonstrate participation in team problem solving.


Read and interpret retail documents.


List and describe a range of retail documents.


Read and interpret information from a range of retail documents.

Required Skills

This section describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

The following skills must be assessed as part of this unit:

demonstrated use of positive and inclusive language

questioning and listening

resolving conflict


managing stress

demonstrating self-esteem

literacy skills in regard to reading and understanding workplace documentation, such as store policies and procedures and retail documents.

The following knowledge must be assessed as part of this unit:

store policy and procedures in regard to:

internal and external customer contact

verbal and non-verbal presentation

code of conduct

allocated duties and responsibilities

goods and services provided by the store

location of store departments

functions and procedures for operating telephones and other communication equipment.

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, the range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

Evidence of the following is essential:

provides a consistently welcoming environment by treating customers in a courteous and helpful manner

uses effective questioning and active listening techniques to communicate with customers, while maintaining an awareness of the need for discretion, tact and confidentiality

interprets and communicates information to customers, supervisors and peers both face-to-face and via other electronic communication equipment

accesses, comprehends and processes information accurately according to store policy and procedures

consistently follows routine instructions and seeks advice and assistance if required

participates actively and positively within a workplace team.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Assessment must ensure access to:

a real or simulated work environment

relevant documentation, such as:

stock, inventory or price lists

lay-by, credit and product return slips

store policy and procedures manuals

a range of customers with different requirements

a range of communication equipment.

Methods of assessment

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

observation of performance in the workplace

a role play

third-party reports from a supervisor

customer feedback

answers to questions about specific skills and knowledge

review of portfolios of evidence and third-party workplace reports of on-the-job performance.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

SIRXIND001A Work effectively in a retail environment

SIRXOHS001A Apply safe working practices

SIRXCLM001A Organise and maintain work areas

SIRXICT001A Operate retail technology.

Assessing employability skills

Employability skills are integral to effective performance in the workplace and are broadly consistent across industry sectors. How these skills are applied varies between occupations and qualifications due to the different work functions and contexts.

Employability skills embedded in this unit should be assessed holistically in the context of the job role and with other relevant units that make up the skill set or qualification.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording in the performance criteria is detailed below.

Customers may include:

new or repeat contacts

internal and external contacts

customers with routine or special requests

people from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and with varying physical and mental abilities.

Store policy and procedures may relate to:

contact with customers

job descriptions and responsibilities

interaction with other team members

interaction with supervision and management

induction process.

Verbal and non-verbal interaction may occur with:

external customers

internal contacts, including management and other team members.

Questioning may involve the following communication techniques:

using open and inclusive language

speaking clearly and concisely

using appropriate language

non-verbal communication.

Information may include:



electronic media such as email

verbal feedback


Colleagues may include:


other staff members

full-time, part-time, casual or contract staff

Verbal and non-verbal communication may include:

speaking and listening

reading and writing

body language

facial expression.

Teams may include:

small work teams

store team

corporate team.

Problem solving may be affected by:

store policy and procedures

resource implications.

Retail documents may include:

stock sheets


timetables, staff record forms

lay-by slips

credit slips

product return slips

manufacturer instructions

telephone message pads.




Competency Field


Employability Skills

The required outcomes described in this unit contain applicable facets of employability skills. The Employability Skills Summary of the qualification in which this unit is packaged will assist in identifying employability skills requirements.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.