The retail sector workforce is unique, it requires a mix of part-time, full-time, casual, and seasonal staff. Plus, head office employees, distribution, admin, customer support and of course Human Resources and everything in between. As a result, both workforce planning and payroll becomes incredibly complex.
Retailers want to build agile business models, driven by the dynamically shifting business environments and competitive landscape. Balancing bricks to clicks is an ongoing balancing act. This means igniting the power of agile workforce management and embracing digital transformation.
Complexities of retail workforce planning
Managing a workforce has always been a challenge for retailers. Getting the right balance of staff, in the right location for the predicted level of customers is not easy. Add in likely footfall based historical sales and data, predicted sales, weather forecast (dependent on location will affect customer visits), day of the week, public holidays and big events. It’s a real challenge as businesses do not want to over-staff, as that hits margins as well as staff morale. However, get it right and both your customers and your staff will be happy.
If you want to count on your customers returning you need to deliver on their experience across your multi-channel strategies. This has to be delivered through efficient processes and logistics, great customer service and a cost-optimised workforce schedule, both front of house and back stage.
Workforce planning is about balancing your employee needs and your business needs. Essentially its about getting the right people, with the right skills in the right place, at the right time, on the right contract, at the right costs. But the desired outcomes are also about delivering work-life balance for your people, operational efficiencies, cost optimisation, improved margins and great customer experience.
There are a lot of similarities between workforce planning and plate spinning.
Why is workforce planning, scheduling and staff rotas so important?
With more and more regulations piled on retailers, the broadening duty of care is an increasingly difficult task. Health and safety, training, WTD, additional shifts, different rates of pay for shifts and roles, the list is endless. This all adds up to a significant HR challenge, as failure to get it right means incorrect pay for staff, needless increase in overhead costs. And getting it wrong will directly impact your staff retention rates.
Balancing the future needs of your people and your business is the key to success. It also informs people strategy, learning and development needs, knowledge gaps, recruitment needs along with succession planning. In other words, a healthy business.
Getting it wrong can be catastrophic, with incorrect staffing levels and skills to mee the customer demands. This leads to customer complaints, negative reputational impact, lower sales and a direct impact on future sales. Employees will be unhappy, managing customer complaints, leading to employee attrition and the vicious circle continues.
A good workforce plan, takes into account all the nuances and details needed to fulfil the multi-dimensional needs of staff and the business. It also highlights needs and gaps in staffing, skills and training.
Meet the demands of your customers with a flexible workforce
A key benefit and outcome of workforce planning is the ability to meet and exceed your customer expectations with an efficient, engaged and flexible workforce. Workforce management software enables a more dynamic planning approach can save up to 80% of your scheduling time. It provides you with greater flexibility and helps drive greater operational efficiencies.
Flexibility for staff as well as better alignment of your workforce to your business and customer needs. Workforce management software delivers for your people too, with complete transparency on rotas and real time communication on any changes. Saving time for everyone.
Staff feel more empowered and are able to shift swap, see who is on their shift and add their availability for other shifts. This all leads to greater staff satisfaction and a more flexible workforce.
- Smart technology provides predictive and automated capabilities to help with planning
- Efficient capacity planning allowing you to optimsie staff recruitement with training and up-skilling of existing staff
- Create automated and optimised schedules
- Real-time insights
- Right people, right time, right place
Flexible and adaptable workforce in a period of disruption
Implementing workforce management software as part of your HR processes will give you a single view for HR and managers alike. You can save over 50% of your normal scheduling time and give your staff more transparency. You will have a single view, that will enable decision makers to identify staff needs more easily and facilitate shift swapping for your people. Another tool that empowers your people, helps with engagement and aids staff retention.
Using the right technology you can quickly adapt and keep operations running smoothly. Workforce planning should not be laborious and time consuming and your workforce will be better aligned to your business needs.
Smart and effective workforce planning means you can do more with less, deliver on customer experience, and meet the business needs. You can throw away complex spreadsheets and poor communication in favour of real-time workforce management technology that gives your people access to check any time. Complete transparency and simplicity when it comes to shift swaps and changes.