Drive Post-Pandemic Success at C-Stores with Workforce Optimization
Despite the turbulence of the past year, C-stores are almost certainly due for a promising quarter–or more. The pandemic’s effects are receding, and the public is itching to spend and move about again. In fact, many retailers expect consumers to make both routine and leisure trips at pre-COVID-19 levels.
This means C-store associates will be working harder to keep shelves stocked and ensure compliance throughout the store. And as state and local governments continue to shift mask and vaccination policies at stores, front-line employees will need to stay up-to-date on the latest policies and procedures to ensure that stores are safe.
To meet spikes in customer demand, C-stores will look to fill thousands of positions. But today, they’re competing for the best associates, not just against one another, but against world-class employers in a variety of retail verticals and other industries.
As a result, it is crucial to provide your front-line employees with the support they need to make your business as competitive as possible.
This support should include:
- Boosting morale and engagement: The hectic summer season, combined with safety issues and the usual stress of dealing with the public, will especially weigh on the associates. To retain them and keep their morale high (and thus support the customer experience), they’ll need to feel cared for and supported. This will improve retention, reducing the overall cost of hiring and training new employees, and allow management to foster an efficient and knowledgeable workforce.
- Increased visibility into scheduling and execution: Employees must understand expectations. They need to know their schedules as far in advance as possible and what processes they must execute, and when (for example, inventory replenishment). This ensures that front-line employees know where they have to be and what they have to do at all times, and aren’t overwhelmed by unstable or unfair labor schedules.
- Assistance with rapid response: Every store faces events that require a fast response. Front-line employees need to have real-time information about what is happening in the store to pivot quickly and respond to in-store events, such as malfunctioning refrigerators and online order pickups.
Empowering Today’s C-Store Workforce
With real-time store operations and workforce management solutions, C-store retailers can streamline critical processes, optimize labor scheduling, and ensure that front-line employees know what tasks to do, when to do them, and how to prioritize them.
These solutions include:
Workforce management applications: Streamline the process of labor forecasting and creating flexible, accurate, workable schedules. Intelligent workforce management solutions have the power to factor in variables such as employee preferences, labor rules and regulations, and projected customer traffic, ensuring that labor schedules are as accurate as possible. Employee self-service solutions are also essential for providing front-line employees with visibility and control over their schedules. These solutions allow associates to swap shifts, put in for vacation, and pick up open shifts – all with managerial oversight. This empowers workers, offering them the flexibility needed to improve work-life balance. This leads to better employee engagement, morale and retention–without any surprises when it comes to coverage.
Real-time task management and communications applications: The best solutions will provide front-line employees with a daily checklist of specific, prioritized tasks they must accomplish, along with deadlines. The solution should be mobile-enabled and capable of two-way communications, giving corporate the ability to share messages and policies, and front-line employees the ability to offer input when something’s unclear. This makes associates more efficient and promotes operational excellence–in turn making the customer experience more powerful.
For more information on how to simplify store operations processes at your convenience stores, check out our white paper, “How Intelligent Workforce Scheduling and Task Management Technologies are Reshaping C-Store Operations.”