Top 3 Ways Workforce Management Optimizes Omnichannel Operations
April 14, 2023
by Malysa O’Connor
In the last few years, omnichannel operations have become the norm. With the rise of e-commerce, social media, and mobile technology, consumers expect retailers to offer a seamless shopping experience across all channels. New solutions and technologies are required to deliver on these expectations. Retailers need to adapt their workforce management strategies to meet the ever-evolving demands of consumers.
Omnichannel retailing involves managing multiple channels, including brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce platforms, social media, and mobile apps. To deliver a consistent, frictionless customer experience across these channels, retailers must ensure that their workforce is trained and equipped to handle the demands of each channel. But that isn’t enough.
With omnichannel workforce management for retail, you can create a more efficient, effective, and customer-centric workforce that can engage with customers on their preferred channels and provide a consistent, seamless experience regardless of the channel used.
This blog will explore three ways modern workforce management solutions can help optimize retail omnichannel operations.
1. Leverage intelligent automation to increase agility and flexibility
With the rise of omnichannel, retailers must be able to accurately predict demand and align their inventory and supply chain management strategies accordingly to ensure that they have the right products in the right quantities, in the right locations, and at the right time. Intelligent workforce management synthesizes historical and current information about how customers buy – understanding and incorporating the impact of demand drivers and future events such as weather or holidays.
Flexibility and agility are critical to every omnichannel strategy but are only possible with WFM, which automatically adapts to business changes.
Legion Workforce Management enables intelligent automation to predict demand across all customer touchpoints and locations. You can create the optimal labor plan without human intervention by synthesizing thousands of data points, including historical data, ongoing operations, and future weather and local events. Legion Demand Forecasting continuously improves as new data is available. Updated forecasts and labor guidance are instantly generated. With auto-generated, highly accurate demand forecasts, you get optimal labor plans, budgets, and schedules across all touchpoints, freeing your managers to spend more time with employees and customers.
2. Invest in automation to increase operational efficiencies
A recent McKinsey study found that the most innovative frontline retail employers are “investing in technology to automate activities, freeing up time and energy for more meaningful roles in the store.” They recommend that “retail leaders assess frontline employees’ most mundane activities and look for ways to simplify them” to improve productivity and stem the tide of workers leaving the industry.
Legion enables managers to create optimized schedules and reduces their time spent on scheduling by 50% or more. Legion Automated Scheduling automatically matches labor needs with employee schedule preferences 96% of the time and continuously learns from manager edits and employee preferences to instantly generate the optimal schedule. Managers can also automate schedule maintenance activities such as shift offers, swaps, etc.
Workforce sharing increases capacity by providing a fully automated option for sharing employees across locations or channels while meeting scheduling policies and compliance rules. It also offers additional opportunities for employees to pick up hours and increase their earnings. Legion WFM’s multi-location optimization process automatically assigns employees across locations and channels, based on business needs and employee skills and preferences, during schedule generation.
3. Engage employees with flexible, modern tools
Attrition remains high in retail. A recent McKinsey survey found that retail employees are more likely to leave their jobs than employees in the broader U.S. economy. Why is attrition so high? Their research shows that the NUMBER ONE reason frontline retail and hospitality managers and employees consider leaving their jobs is a lack of flexibility. No other industry’s employees ranked lack of flexibility as their top driver of attrition.
According to a study by Gallup, “highly engaged business units achieve a 10% difference in customer ratings and an 18% difference in sales”. The study also found that businesses can reduce absenteeism by 81% and that engaged employees are more likely to stay with the company, reducing turnover rates and associated costs.
Today’s world is driven by intelligent, real-time technology that has simplified our lives and provided greater flexibility, changing how we buy products, get a ride, order food, receive groceries, and more. We have come to expect flexibility and convenience in our daily lives, but are we providing it to our employees? Gen Z and Millennials have grown up with these technologies and expect flexibility and control over their lives through intuitive apps and modern technologies. They want real-time feedback on their performance and growth opportunities. Not providing this can mean a difference in who they work for. Many retail workers pursuing more flexibility have left traditional frontline jobs for gig work.
Legacy Workforce Management solutions have focused on cutting costs and measuring productivity. Business efficiency was the primary focus, with the employee experience just an afterthought. These solutions don’t stand up against today’s workforce demands of increased flexibility and control over their schedules and pay because they were never architected to do so. Legacy tools are getting in the way of providing the flexibility employees need.
With Legion, you can give frontline employees greater flexibility and control with automated, self-service shift swaps and shift claims. Improve engagement with modern communication tools and provide flexible payment options through instant earned wage access in an easy-to-use mobile app used daily for scheduling.
Building trust with transparent, fair, equitable, and quantifiable performance metrics by leveraging intelligent automation to engage and motivate hourly employees with instant feedback and recognition helps them grow and feel valued. Workforce management is a treasure trove of data.
Legion Employee Performance and Rewards enables managers to track employee performance and rewards on a dashboard, create custom assessment periods by work role, and identify challenges. This provides opportunities for their team to manage performance trends with real-time data and gamify performance to inspire positive behavior. Employees feel valued and motivated, and as Southwest Airlines’ founder Herb Keller famously said, “Your employees come first. And if you treat your employees right, guess what? Your customers come back, and that makes your shareholders happy. Start with employees, and the rest follows from that.”
The Bottom Line
Effective, modern workforce management is critical to the success of omnichannel retail operations. By managing multiple channels, optimizing staffing levels, scheduling and forecasting, and keeping employees engaged and motivated, retailers can deliver a consistent customer experience across all channels while reducing labor costs and increasing sales. By investing in the right technology, retailers can improve their workforce management strategies and gain a competitive edge.
To learn more about Legion Workforce Management, please visit legion.co.