What Retailers Need to Embrace Today’s Millennial Workforce
January 16, 2019
by Nancy Boas
In addition to a shift in mindset, it takes a shift in technology to truly deliver on the demands, challenges and expectations of today’s modern workforce.
One of the most important tasks of the retail manager is scheduling employees in a way which meets the needs of both the retailer and the workers. Both groups have various needs, deadlines and goals for scheduling and historically only they retailer’s needs were met.
For a manager , considering what the staffing budget and store needs are drive the most influential factors when it comes to determining who to schedule to work and when. Additionally, management must factor in personal scheduling conflicts and considerations that exist among their staff. Keeping these details in mind, how do modern retailer’s forecast customer and labor demands while also meeting the needs of their employees preferred working hours? And how do employees make sure they maintain ownership of their personal and work schedules?
In a perfect world, management would have an unlimited amount of resources to allocate to staffing, flexible and capable workers, and additional time every day to complete every task. However, the retail world isn’t perfect, and the challenges facing management — from headquarters to the sales floor — are changing every day with modern technology.
So how do retailer’s ensure that everyone is satisfied?
While there’s no perfect solution, there is the fact that Gallup found that 50% of workers who quit their jobs left due to issues with management – supporting the idea that employees are now looking for are companies with more flexibility in the workplace. In other words, it’s an employee’s market and employees want flexibility, stability, and control… and that starts with their schedule.
Historically, it hasn’t been easy to schedule employees with the care and concern to meet each of their unique needs. It has generally been store leaders who have been tasked with creating schedules to ensure businesses meet their bottom lines, yet even when approached with sensitivity to employee needs, leadership can struggle to optimize every factor. This should not be a surprise, however, particularly when you consider how busy store management is and all the information needing to be considered. This is where the a shift in mindset has to come in, however.
Making this shift has found it pays off with greater efficiency and more satisfied employees – with more money saved, as well. To explore more about how employee scheduling technology can help your retail business thrive in 2019 and beyond, consider the following.
Identifying best practices for each store’s processes among retail headquarters is no easy task – but it’s an important one to identify. After all, headquarters should set the tone for the entire company morale as well as communication, so it’s critical that they deliver strong, timely and informative insight to their stores. To help, consider the following best practices when it comes to communication.
- Make communication easily accessible to headquarter leaders and store management to help streamline dialogue within the company. This may include internal newsletters or forums, weekly updates or routine conference calls to keep everyone in sync with corporate policies and standardized procedures that are easily accessible to everyone. Using multiple avenues of communication to share various insight can be beneficial. One avenue not to overlook, however? Apps, which can share news in real-time to all employees based on your preferred selections right to their smart phone. In today’s world of instant communication and gratification, apps are a predominant mode of communication.
- Identify consistent practices when it comes to delivering communication so that your entire team understands where and when to expect store insight. Having a routine in place is a best practice for headquarters to follow – particularly when you factor in that those outside of corporate walls tend to wonder what’s going on behind the scenes. Having routine communication brings value to retail organizations in many ways, but among the core reasons is that employees appreciate feeling “in the know” and is a streamlined way to ensure a retailer’s mission and goals are being reiterated.
- Aim to deliver high quality yet low frequency communication. The reality is, everyone is busy and when absorbing information shared from headquarters, it’s important to deliver clear and concise insight that is action oriented and informative without compromising on time or motivation. Keep these key factors in mind when creating content to share – ultimately helping to streamline and motivate employees along the way.
Store management serves the role of the “middle man” when it comes to retail. Nestled between corporate headquarters and individual store staff, store management is the glue that keeps everyone in sync. From delivering great customer experiences to implementing headquarter best practices to staffing employees despite logistical challenges, there is no shortage of responsibilities for store management to oversee. Keeping this in mind, it’s vital for headquarters and staff alike to respect their time, understand their ongoing task list and offer ease whenever possible. To help, it’s key for management to set best practices when it comes to getting everything done. Among the best ways they can do this include the following:
- Welcome open dialogue among all employees, encouraging conversations aimed at being productive in supporting at-large retail goals. Both headquarters and store staff need management’s attention, but capturing it is often the challenge. From a management perspective, identifying best practices to help streamline communication is essential in creating a workforce that is driven toward the overall objective of the company. By ensuring an open and disclosed workplace, associates and upper level management are also likely to have higher levels of engagement and motivation.
- Recognize that employee management often means putting employees in control. The most sophisticated retailers know that by equipping their employees with the right tools to take leadership on their actions help their stores gain momentum, as well. Among the ways to do this include through scheduling, which can be both time intensive and challenging if left for solely store management. Through AI powered technology, however, management can relieve the task of scheduling while empowering their employees, as well. Explore more on how to do this here.
- Know what is in compliance and what is not – then ensure you don’t have to worry about these fine-print details. As busy store managers, it’s nearly impossible to recall every detail that impacts the daily operations of your store. But some details – such as employee scheduling laws – are not worth risking. Incorporate AI-powered labor platforms into your employee management to avoid unnecessary fines and high labor costs. An added benefit? This same technology can create labor schedules that are not only fully compliant with state and city predictable scheduling laws but also pertinent to your unique store needs. Discover more at Legion.co.
Making sure operations surrounding store staffing are simple is essential to ensuring efficiency at each individual store. Associates and store staff’s lives outside of retail hours are often filled with various other obligations that demand attention – whether it’s only being able to work certain hours due to school, having to limit weekend availability because of personal conflicts or simply wanting specific times off to bring balance to their overall lifestyle – the reality is, every detail matters and yet every detail is a lot to keep up with.
From a store staff perspective, allowing employees to take ownership of their availability and preferences is ideal not only for them, but also for store management. To help, consider the following.
- Introduce a mobile app for employees to share their schedule preferences. By offering an easy-to-use mobile app, retail management and employees alike benefit in countless ways. Employees feel empowered that they own their schedules, as well as the time it gives back to management since it eases their own challenges in dealing with scheduling.
- Take control over last minute scheduling needs. Whether it is an unexpected death in the family, a last-minute invite to a concert or a sick day that simply can’t be avoided, having the ability to change your schedule is important. Retailers must embrace these realities and make scheduling changes easy for everyone– thus, introducing technology to help such as Legion.co offers. Historically, employees would have to call multiple people to ensure coverage, but with an easy to use mobile app, employees are able to now see who is available to cover last minute and offer the shift systematically.
- Manage accountability in real-time. Thanks to analytics delivered via modern technology, retailers and employees alike can identify what hours have been worked during any given pay period or collectively over a specific timeframe. Plus, these same analytics help bring clarity to team engagement metrics and more. Collectively, this helps provide communication to employees that they can benefit from in their future scheduling and working efforts alike.
In takes a shift in mindset to truly deliver on the demands, challenges and expectations of today’s modern workforce. Legion makes it possible for retailers to give employees and management alike the power to control schedules, manage extensive data available and react to daily responsibilities without compromising on business excellence. Additionally, Legion reduces the time store leaders spend scheduling by up to 80% by creating and maintaining fully automated, optimized schedules in seconds… something any busy merchant can appreciate.
With this technology, retailers can confidently identify future work demands while placing employees in control. Legion takes forecast building back to the demand drivers and accessible data such as past sales, store traffic, seasonality, weather, and more – ultimately providing accuracy to plan for peak times.
Finally, when employees are given the authority to stay on top of schedules with mobile notifications and entering work preferences and availability to receive personalized schedules, overall job satisfaction is increased. As for those at the top, Legion’s analytics suite empowers managers and executives with the relevant metrics to manage day-to-day and longer-term operations. Collectively, this helps to create a more ideal workplace that allows for worker energy to be shifted to stronger store performance vs. mundane responsibilities.
There are enough challenges facing those in retail today, but scheduling no longer has to be one of them. As employee retention and employee satisfaction are a top priority for retailers, consider introducing modern technology into your plan for the future to appeal to the modern workplace.