Streamlining Retail Operations with AI Employee Scheduling

December 12, 2023

by Malysa O’Connor

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Manually managing employee schedules can be a time-consuming and error-prone process. Yet, according to The State of the Hourly Workforce report, 47% of managers still rely on manual processes or basic spreadsheets to create schedules. More than 24% struggle to match business needs with employees’ schedule preferences. These time-consuming, manual processes mean managers have less time to focus on interacting with customers or spending time with their team. For employees, manual processes make it difficult to swap or pick up shifts, and preferred shift assignments, if given to the same employees consistently, can potentially lead to perceived favoritism.

Imagine giving your hourly staff gig-like flexibility and control over their schedules. What impact would freeing managers to refocus on revenue-driving tasks instead of drowning in spreadsheets have on your business and employee retention rates?

Automated scheduling helps optimize both the manager and employee experience. An intelligently automated scheduling solution autonomously analyzes employee preferences, availability, budgets, staffing rules, skills, and business needs to assign shifts effectively while ensuring labor law compliance with the help of built-in templates and rules.

Intelligently automated scheduling gives employees greater control over their schedules and enables managers to focus on higher-value activities.

By optimizing demand forecasting, labor budgeting, labor plans, scheduling, and time tracking with Legion Workforce Management (WFM) Software, retailers can maximize labor efficiencies and the employee experience simultaneously.

Summary of AI-Driven Employee Scheduling

  • Retailers constantly seek innovative ways to optimize operations, enhance efficiency, and deliver the best customer experience possible. One way to accomplish these goals is to adopt AI-driven employee scheduling solutions such as Legion WFM.
  • Automated scheduling empowers employees while unburdening managers.
  • Employees appreciate having control over their schedules, and AI-driven systems empower them to do just that. They can input their availability, swap shifts with peers—even across locations—or request time off directly through the system.

Manually Scheduling Employees Isn’t Easy

Manual Scheduling requires much time and effort for managers. And balancing employee preferences against the needs of the business, budgets, and compliance rules is often difficult to achieve. It doesn’t stop with creating schedules. Managing callouts and finding replacement workers is also time-consuming. Although managing schedules is an important part of their job, it is often the most time-consuming and prevents managers from spending time on other essential tasks like customer service, supporting employees, and increasing store revenue.

Today, retailers offer customers multiple channels for purchasing items, including in-store, online pickup in-store, drive-through, home delivery, and phone orders, all of which must be staffed appropriately. This fully integrated approach provides shoppers with a unified experience across online and offline channels.

As a result, the complexity of managing an effective and efficient workforce has been amplified. Retailers provide frictionless experiences to consumers, but this has added increased complexity with staff scheduling across different customer touchpoints. With changing consumer behavior, retailers face new challenges that their legacy systems or manual processes may struggle to overcome.

Scheduling shifts manually is prone to human error and could increase the risk of non-compliance with labor laws or perceived favoritism by managers. If any regulations are violated, it could cost the company money or even incur legal consequences.

Manual scheduling procedures are inconvenient for employees who want to drop, swap, or pick up shifts. This can make it hard to reconcile their job with other commitments and balance work and personal life.

Manage Employee Scheduling With WFM Powered by AI

Thanks to advancements in workforce management, such as the emergence of AI-native WFM solutions such as Legion’s Automated Scheduling product, managing employee schedules has become easier and more efficient.

AI’s key advantage is its ability to discover trends and anticipate results. Workforce management software like Legion’s can automatically create work schedules considering all factors, including worker availability, predicted demand, labor models, budgets, labor laws, staffing rules, and employee preferences.

This smart technology also keeps track of ever-changing compliance rules and helps your company comply using built-in templates, alerts, and auto-updates.

AI-powered software enables retailers to incorporate automated demand and labor forecasts into the shift scheduling process to ensure demand is met and costly mistakes such as over or understaffing are avoided.

Thanks to Legion WFM’s software abilities, managers can now use the time that was previously used to manually update schedules for revenue-driving activities.

AI-Powered Employee Scheduling Is The Right Solution For Retailers

Because the retail industry is so dynamic, it comes with various demands. Manual scheduling methods make it challenging to keep up. Still, AI-powered solutions like Legion WFM’s software fill the gap, helping managers make better decisions and execute more efficiently by automating routine scheduling tasks.

Automated Scheduling considers employee preferences and availability to create schedules for your business automatically. That’s much less time managers spend trying to create objective schedules for everyone.

Employees have more control with automated self-service shift swaps and shift claims. They can define when, how much, and where they want to work and update their preferences anytime.

With such an employee-friendly atmosphere, you’ll easily boost morale and productivity. Employees will appreciate having more autonomy over their hours, as they can pick up shifts as they become available or request time off directly through the highly-rated mobile app.

Legion WFM’s solution also includes built-in compliance templates that are automatically updated so you can have peace of mind about meeting labor laws.

Automated scheduling enables managers to generate optimal schedules that match business needs with employee preferences and skills, including the most qualified employee for a shift based on skills, performance, labor rules, budget constraints, and compliance rules.

Managers can also optimize the workforce across locations to cover critical needs during projected peak periods while avoiding costly overtime, protecting service levels, and offering flexibility for hourly employees.

Legion delivers intelligent, automated, and employee-centric workforce management, allowing you to automatically create optimized schedules that match business needs with employee skills and preferences. Employees get gig-like flexibility, modern tools, and instant access to earned wages. To see Legion WFM in action, request a demo today.