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Human Resources

Innovating with Workforce Management

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Faced with cost-conscious, Internet-savvy consumers, retailers must master the final frontier in competitive differentiation: customer service.

Understanding that the workforce is the key to achieving a high-quality customer experience, leading retailers are transforming their workforce into an agile network of individuals who collaborate on defined business goals.

This journey — the Workforce Management Maturity Curve — is realized through a series of four evolutionary phases. Each phase is based upon a combination of integrated process and technology improvements that impact the culture, perception and value of the workforce.

Automate to unburden
Workforce is a retailer’s largest controllable expense, and the transition from manual to fully automated processes is pivotal to controlling labor cost, reducing time fraud and minimizing compliance risk.

Automation standardizes, streamlines and simplifies processes and reduces waste, saving 2-5 percent of payroll and improving HR efficiency by solving complexities around turnover, attendance and leave policies. Unburdened, the workforce can shift its focus to the customer experience.

Plan ahead — deploy efficiently
In this phase, the workforce becomes elemental to the retailer’s success. It is now an asset with specialized skills that must be retained to reach financial and operational objectives. It is about having the best team while avoiding wasteful over-staffing and service-killing understaffing.

Using workforce management solutions that schedule to forecasted demand, retailers can ensure that the right people are in the right place and doing the right thing at the right time. And they can improve the bottom line by increasing sales-per-labor-hour by as much as 6 percent. The skilled workforce becomes a necessary resource not just for retailers, but also the customers, as they create a greater in-store experience than the customer can create for herself. And the employees have the flexibility to respond on the spot.

Create agile employees
Those retailers who understand the unpredictability of customer demand recognize that their employees are the most effective tool in responding to changing conditions. When given real-time visibility into store operations, these retailers know what the right place is and who the right person is at the exact moment she is needed.

Workforce management solutions that offer real-time, actionable information like dashboards, guided decisions, mobile scheduling and alerts allow staff to easily adapt to changing situations. The dividends are tangible: On average, consumers will pay a 9 percent premium for a great experience. The flexible workforce strives for operational excellence to maximize the value of every interaction for both the retailer and the customer.

Innovate with a vital workforce
At the pinnacle of the Workforce Management Maturity Curve, best-in-class retailers view their employees as critical assets that, when provided with the right tools, training and support, achieve results that customers value and competitors envy. The organization has evolved from focusing on reducing costs to investing in the workforce. The impact of the workforce is not limited to the store, but instead examined across all operations. Not only do these innovative organizations enable their employees to become brand ambassadors, they foster a culture of continuous improvement.
Leveraging analytics, retailers can turn data into meaningful, actionable information to identify strategic growth opportunities. In tandem with enhanced organizational effectiveness due to tenured, engaged employees, the workforce becomes the ultimate competitive advantage, increasing profit per employee, market share, shareholder value and brand equity.

From baseline automation to the apex of continuous improvement, the synergy of technology and strategic vision will always assure the most outstanding results.