Workforce Management in Retail

In any large organisation there is always a level of complexity and difficulty in managing the workforce. This article takes a closer look at the retail industry.

Labour is one of the largest expenses for retailers. The amount and type of labour deployed in individual stores can affect the success or failure of the entire retail operation.

For any company with the desire to convert labour expenses into an asset, the key is effective management of labour. By adopting a labour optimisation model based on awareness and retail point of sale (POS)/foot traffic intelligence, retailers can achieve the edge they need to succeed in a competitive market.

Although managing and leveraging a solid labour model is an ongoing process, there are still some key aspects that need to be addressed:

Analyse your foot traffic

Without automated POS/foot traffic data, a retailer cannot establish baseline values to begin analysing its workforce and its individual store performance.
Retailers that have traffic-based insights into their peak hours do not make the mistake of allowing non-selling activities like inventory and stocking to occur during these hours. Scheduling these activities properly can allow retailers to better meet their customers’ needs, which in turn can translate to higher satisfaction and sales.

Use the right person at the right time

If retailers deliver skilled personnel to the salesfloor at the exact time the customer needs assistance, they can maximise sales and increase profits. However, as all retailers know, it is never that simple. Scheduling the right person at the right place at the right time may cause your workforce to work long hours. And if work is not well balanced across your employee base, both employee engagement and profitability can suffer.

Therefore, the goal for any successful retailer is to find a healthy balance between the experience they want to deliver and the employee engagement they want to cultivate.

If you require your employees to work long hours to assist customers, you risk excessive overtime costs, unhappy employees, and turnover, which can lead to higher costs due to excessive onboarding and training.

Yet, if you focus too heavily on employee engagement and let employees work only when it suits them and maximises their pay, you might not have the proper coverage needed in the store, resulting in poor customer experience and higher wages.

How do I find the best workforce management balance?

As soon as you become aware of potential staffing problems, you are ready to address them. Identify a labour model that combines employee engagement and customer satisfaction by considering the following steps:

Define the customer experience you want to deliver.
Once you have defined the shopping experience you want to offer, you can execute a labour model that supports it.

Define your employee engagement approach.
Find out how you can support your employees so that they have high on-the-job satisfaction. Employees want to successfully deliver great customer service in a good sales environment. They also need appropriate schedules, breaks, and job variation in order to feel engaged.

Convert your labour expense into an asset

Through collaboration and consultation, GP Strategies delivers workforce management solutions that fit your specific business needs. By recommending best practices and aligning with system design principles and the project charter, we deliver our solutions to help you achieve the perfect balance between customer service and employee engagement, eliminate resource and budget waste, and create operational excellence.

To learn how GP Strategies can help you solve your workforce challenges, please contact us.

About GP Strategies

GP Strategies SuccessFactors Practice has completed more than 1000 SAP SuccessFactors projects in more than 100 countries worldwide throughout the past 18 years. Our 225 consultants are covering all major industries and provide continued operational support and maintenance for more than 125 companies. We are an SAP Gold Partner, and we have been awarded SAP Recognized Expertise in all SAP SuccessFactors areas. Entering the SAP Hall of Fame, we received the Partner Excellence Award in 2020 and 2021. Working together with our customers, we have won 13 Quality Awards in four years.  Contact us if you need guidance on how to get the most out of your SuccessFactors solution.