Workforce Management Trends to Watch in 2020
Retailers—as well as many other organizations—are charting their path to success in the new decade, facing new customer expectations, labor regulations, and technologies. For many, this means creating nimble labor operations, with engaged, productive associates who are prepared to tackle whatever challenges the future may bring. An intelligent workforce management platform can help you optimize staffing for this evolving retail landscape.
Here’s three trends to consider when planning your retail workforce management strategy in 2020 and beyond.
1. Mobile Access
Smart phones and tablets are among the defining technologies of the 2010s, impacting all kinds of everyday activities. Mobile technology has made it possible to communicate, work, plan, and learn from anywhere, at any time.
Going into the Twenties, employees expect this convenience from their work systems, especially as more of Gen Z enters the workforce. When it comes to workforce management, Trevor White, Principal Analyst at Nucleus Research, explains that mobile access is increasingly becoming table stakes; enabling employees to view schedules, swap shifts, and gain control of their work-life balance via mobile employee self-service and is key for employee retention and engagement.
In 2020 and beyond, look for workforce management solutions with mobile-first access and push notifications. In addition to being user-friendly, this functionality can help you create a nimbler workforce with real-time schedule optimization, simple market-level scheduling, and easy compliance with predictive scheduling rules.
2. Intelligent Scheduling
Today’s customers expect seamless cross-channel shopping experiences; in the store, that often means having associates available to anticipate their needs and deliver personal, timely service. However, meeting these expectations and offering omnichannel services has introduced more work in stores with added training, staffing, and execution challenges.
Retailers can alleviate some of these challenges with intelligent labor forecasting and scheduling. Business analytics have always been deployed to predict demand, but now emerging technologies like artificial intelligence are making it faster and simpler to accurately forecast demand and optimize scheduling accordingly.
Using an AI-powered forecasting solution, you can answer more complex questions and fill in gaps in your data. For example, you can accurately predict your staffing needs when Christmas falls on a Wednesday compared to a weekend, or when it’s snowing compared to when it’s sunny. As a result, you can ensure that you always have the right number of associates scheduled—with the right skills—to complete all work in the store and engage customers.
3. Empowered Managers with Artificial Intelligence
Similarly, AI can help you streamline decision-making for managers in order to optimize store performance. Traditionally, the most effective store managers have had a wealth of experience that enables them to make best-practice decisions around staffing and performance. However, many managers either lack this experience or lack the time and resources to analyze demand or performance in order to make fully informed decisions in real-time.
Now, new AI-enhanced solutions for staffing and performance management allow managers to receive real-time analysis of store data—with alerts and best-practice recommendations—rather than relying on guesswork and intuition. “The problem is … we don’t have a great manager in every single one of our locations. Well, how can we create that?,” White says. “We can use AI to mimic the organization’s successful managers, ensuring that you’ve got the correct resources at the correct time in the correct location across all of your locations.”
To learn more about intelligent workforce management, download our on-demand webinar with Nucleus Research: Drive Smart Decisions with Workforce Management.