Adapting to an on-demand retail workforce

Neil Pickering, Manager of Industry and Customer Insights in EMEA, Kronos Incorporated

Meeting a new generation of challenges 

There are many forces at play that continue to affect our great retail industry: political uncertainty, global trade disputes, U.K. business rates, and minimum/living wage considerations. However, by far the greatest changes are being driven by technology and generational shift, and this is where huge opportunities lie for retailers.

Generational shift and the race to digital

Retailers seem to be either riding the wave of online opportunity or struggling to play catch-up in the digital world. Direct-to-consumer online brands are piling on the pressure for traditional retailers to deliver the convenience levels customers now expect. To remain valid, traditional retailers must blend convenience, learning, entertainment and community. This means not just competing on price and convenience, but also better aligning with the attitudes and expectations of younger generations.

Business transformation and The on-demand workforce

Some of the same drivers affecting the shift in attitudes to retailing are playing out in the workplace too. Employees want flexibility; they want great experiences; they want to be challenged and grow; and they want the organisations for whom they work to be ethical in everything they do.

The careful balancing act of utilising labour budgets efficiently while meeting the needs of customers, employees, the business and regulations can only be achieved using technology.

Don’t schedule MY HOURS, I’ll schedule myself

An effective way of ensuring employee fulfilment is enabling them to record their preferred working hours and roles. Using intelligent workforce systems to accurately forecast demand and then taking this information into account when building schedules allows customer, business and colleague needs to be met.

Already, retailers are using cross-site scheduling features in workforce solutions to share staff across multiple stores in close proximity. However, to meet both employee and employer demands for greater flexibility, this cross-site scheduling approach will soon see cross-company scheduling more widely adopted. Employees will own their schedules, not the company, and workforce management solutions will automatically request time from employees based on specific business needs.

Using artificial intelligence (AI) to personalise schedules is already a reality. AI and machine learning technology now enables schedules to be produced at the push of a button that are tailored to each employee – helping to drive greater employee engagement.

Winning the war for talent in the on-demand economy

The only way to attract and retain top talent in the on-demand economy will be to embrace next generation, cloud-based AI-powered human capital management and workforce.  Businesses that adopt these future-ready solutions to support managers and colleagues on a personal level will be the ones who succeed in the new digital economy.

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