The last few years have been tough for the retail industry. We’ve had to reluctantly say goodbye to several well-loved brands, and many other retailers are struggling to stay afloat in the face of online competition, increased costs and economic pressures. This means that retailers need to embrace change otherwise they face the risk of losing out to more adaptable rivals and inevitably falling by the wayside.
So, what can they do to help ensure their survival?
One of the key changes retailers can make to their business is to implement an effective resource schedule and management solution in order to improve efficiency. Balancing a high labour cost, in addition to the ever-increasing standards of service being demanded by consumers, means that retailers are increasingly looking for ways in which they can effectively schedule and manage their workforce in real time, and to deal with peaks and troughs in their business.
There are several key areas in which efficiency can be improved due to the use of scheduling technology:
1. Enhance Recruitment
Hiring new staff is an arduous process, especially if the staff turnover rate is high. Finding the right person for the job costs time, effort and money, and having to repeat the process is completely unproductive. Resource management systems can improve the process on two fronts.
Firstly, it makes on-boarding new personnel quick and easy. A streamlined application process with the ability to upload the required documentation, combined with facial-recognition technology that completes right to work checks in seconds, enables new starters to begin work immediately.
Secondly, one of the main benefits is that staff feel more empowered. Quantum Workplace's Employee Engagement Trends Report found that nearly 35% of retail employees feel disengaged with their work. A resource management system with self-service functionality for the employee grants them the freedom to create a better work-life balance, which will inevitably lead to happier and more productive staff. They are also less likely to leave in search of something better, and are more likely to say positive things about their employer via word of mouth and social media, thereby strengthening a company’s reputation as a great place to work and creating a good workplace culture.
2. Reduce Admin for Management
Managers are expected to juggle a range of responsibilities such as increasing sales, hiring, training and managing employees, engaging customers and reducing shrinkage, amongst many other tasks. A typical store manager spends roughly 25% of their time performing admin tasks, time which would be much better spent leading their teams and engaging with customers. With the use of scheduling technology, managers can quickly and easily schedule their staff and perform other functions such as swapping shifts, approving annual leave requests and so much more. By incorporating scheduling technology into their business, it will have a significant impact on managers’ own schedules, freeing up their time to tackle other more pressing concerns.
3. Optimising Staff Schedules and Payroll
Retailers are already taking advantage of advancements in modern technology to improve the management of inventory and reduce shrinkage, so why not use technology to exercise more control over their scheduling?
With the intuitive capabilities that resource scheduling and management systems provide, retailers can drastically reduce the time they spend on scheduling staff, freeing up valuable resources which can be allocated to other important tasks. By allowing staff to check in and out using geolocation technology on their Smartphones, data can then be used to automatically compile payroll which is 100% accurate every time, therefore nullifying wage queries from staff.
Some resource scheduling and management solutions offer employee self-service apps or portals, which allow staff to set the days and hours that they are available to work, while also giving them complete visibility into their weekly schedules. These systems also notify employees about upcoming shifts via SMS, email or push notifications, which cuts down on calls or emails from employees regarding their working hours.
4. Ensure Compliance
With the introduction of GDPR in 2018, it is vital for retailers – and indeed all organisations – to ensure that all data is secure and government regulations are followed. Failure to do so could result in a hefty fine, a loss of reputation and business.
Resource management systems can be beneficial as they allow employees to perform certain functions such as inputting personal data and uploading confidential documentation. Certain systems allow new starters to complete Right-to-Work checks via a self-service portal; this not only reduces administration time but ensures that strict labour laws are adhered to. The data is securely encrypted yet allows for audits to be conducted so that retailers do not fall foul of the rules.
Resource management systems guarantee that compliance is adhered to whilst simultaneously saving valuable time. Also, the fact that everything is paperless means that the carbon footprint is reduced, minimising the environmental impact.
5. Improving the Customer Experience
This final point is arguably the most important way in which resource scheduling and management systems can benefit retailers. A survey conducted by Adobe found that over 54% of retailers say that the customer experience is the primary area of focus. With a sophisticated resource management system providing the framework for an organisation, retailers will be better suited to provide an improved experience for consumers.
These systems allow retailers to optimise their schedules and ensure that they are utilising their best people at the appropriate times, whilst also highlighting when staff are in danger of being overworked. This causes productivity to increase, which can translate to more presentable stores, better-looking displays, improved customer service and happier customers who are more likely to spend more which, in turn will improve sales.
Having an effective resource scheduling and management strategy is essential and will be imperative in making a company stand out from rivals who still rely on out-dated methods and practices. By using the latest technology, retailers can empower their workforce, improve customer service and ultimately deliver greater efficiencies in this turbulent time.