10 Jun 2017, 10:45 — 6 min read
One of the major shift in staffing models that the retail industry has seen is from traditional staffing models, which called for sales staff to cover shifts on short notice, punch in and out on timecards, and depend on advancement to time-in-grade rather than capabilities or performance, to dynamic staffing models, which seek to provide choices to the retailers and store employees for shift durations, shift scheduling, salaries and activities.
Moreover, digital and mobile technologies, social media engagement and analytics have only sought to improve the transparency offered by dynamic staffing models. Some of the major trends being witnessed by the retail industry in this regard are:
1. Use of workforce management software
Majority of the established retailers use workforce management software for scheduling of staff in a given store. These are generally short term schedules meant to serve for a duration such as a week.
Although, this technique yields fairly positive results, there is still a huge scope of improvement as these software derive their algorithm from revenue forecasts or historical data on revenues generated at a particular store. They, however, do not take into account the store specific dynamics which may not be a direct coefficient of the revenue.
Factors such as location of a given store, its layout and customer buying patterns can significantly change the time taken for a particular task or activity from store to store and hence the required manpower in spite of the revenues being equal.
2. Manpower budget as a percentage of sales
Another common practice among retailers is that of allocating staffing budget as a percentage of sales for a particular store. As simple as it may seem, this technique too has its pitfalls. For example, if a given grocery retail store deals more in fresh produce as compared to another that generates larger sales through packaged items, the man-hours the former would need can be considerably higher due to more frequent replenishing demands.
Such factors can account for manpower cost differences among different stores ranging anywhere between 20 – 40 percent.
3. Quest for more accurate and thorough staffing methods
Attempts are being made across the industry to devise better techniques, derive more accurate formulae/ algorithms and build superior staffing models that encompass as many entailed factors to arrive to a much more scientific method of staffing that ensures right staff is engaged in the right task at the right time and is spending the right amount of time.
4. Posting schedules in advance
Organisations are on their way to leverage upon the best-in-class sophisticated predictive analytics and forecasting tools to aid the store managers in developing predictable schedules, which can be used to notify the workforce at least once a week, or preferably two weeks, in advance.
5. Enhanced collaboration and communication within store employees
With myriad of choices available to choose from the mobile and web self-service apps, employees are now empowered enough to be able to manage their schedules and availability through regular communication amongst themselves.
6. Deployment of right incentives
Retailers are preferring to offer extra monetary incentives to existing employees by deploying them instead of hiring new ones for periodic spikes in work. This strategy goes a long way in improving staff loyalty and performance, leading to a reduction in turnover and a decreased dependency on part-time employees.
7. Accounting employee preference for assigning work
As an extension to dynamic staffing, retail industry is now adopting novel ways to assign work to the sales staff.
A few retailers are now allowing the employees to find roles and activities that appeal them. This has led to high satisfaction levels amongst the sales staff, as they are no longer restricted by a six or eight hour shifts and responsibilities not matched to the employee’s interests or strengths.
This flexible model of staffing has appeased the bracket of employees who fall under the working parents and students categories.
8. Finding the “Good” match: Opening grounds for interns and apprentices
As an endeavour to find the right person-job-organisation fit, many organisations are opening grounds for short-term internship opportunities, as a part of which they can analyse and evaluate a person’s capabilities and traits to do the job and merge with the organisational culture. Those found fulfilling all the requirements are then absorbed as permanent employees.
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Article & image source: STOrai Magazine
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