COMMENTARY

How hourly workers are changing the retail customer experience

How hourly workers are changing the retail customer experience

Photo by iStock.com

By Derek Jones, vice president, business development, Deputy

At nearly 60 percent of the workforce, hourly workers are an economic powerhouse.

To deliver great customer experiences to consumers, employers must pay attention to hourly workers' needs. Looking ahead and adapting workplace policies that align with shifting dynamics of the workforce means paying attention to workers' top concerns, including health benefits, vacation time and bonuses. Being able to balancing benefits with business sense is no easy task. To help stay ahead of the curve, here are several ways employers can work toward cultivating loyal workers to best serve customers.

Rise of the chief compliance officer

Compliance used to be a big issue for larger businesses and corporations. Traditionally, a chief compliance officer (CCO) focuses on creating compliance plans for laws, regulations and internal processes. But more and more smaller organizations are creating an administrative role as part of the c-suite that is responsible for navigating the increasingly complex regulatory environment. As the future progresses, a CCO will become pivotal in safeguarding a business's bottom line.

The CCO's role differs from human resources in that it focuses only on how a business complies with requirements. Human resources institutes policies, while a compliance officer ensures that those policies do not infringe on employee rights or other regulations. For hourly employment, management software that includes compliance checkpoints and a compliance rules engine that checks policies against things like wage hour issues, break times and workers' comp claims can make a CCO's job much easier.

Expansion of predictive scheduling

Predictive scheduling laws require employers to give hourly workers advance notice about their schedules, prevent employers from having the same employee close one day and open the next and make employers compensate workers for any last minute schedule changes, among other rules. New York, San Francisco and Seattle now require predictive scheduling as does the state of Oregon. Other states and municipalities are considering their own versions of this legislation.

For businesses that aren't prepared, these laws can cause real headaches and drag heavily on the bottom line. Not being able to have employees on call can leave companies overstaffed or under prepared for busy times, not able to cater to customer demands. This year, many organizations will look to employee scheduling software to solve problems around creating, publishing and managing employee schedules that include options to open shifts to select groups and integrate data on sales to help identify customer traffic patterns to optimize worker ratios.

Growth of automation in HR

Automation will change the way work is done and this is no different for HR. From scheduling to training, tools that streamline and optimize business tasks are here and will only become more sophisticated.

From chatbots that can onboard employees to automated training tools that provide ongoing education for employees, automation in HR will save businesses the headache of managing workers' hours. Schedules generated through data can adhere to regulations based on shifts worked, hours needed and other factors. All of this helps HR regain valuable time to work on things that really matter, like improving company culture.

Focus on customer experience

The increasing reliance on technology can feel like it leaves out one important thing: the customer. While technology can identify products and enhance a customer's buying experience, hourly workers are the ambassadors of the customer experience.

As online retailers move into more markets, selling everything from groceries to healthcare, a personal touch and a welcoming atmosphere provided by human workers will make the difference for brick-and-mortar stores.

Continued advancement of Big Data

Big data is quickly becoming an indispensable tool for businesses of all sizes. Predictive analytics increased the ability to adapt to a market's fluctuations. The next step is prescriptive analytics, data sets that help businesses ask questions about how to get where they want to go.

Most small businesses have had sales meltdowns at one time or another. The newest SaaS management tools involve big data analytics delivering businesses an edge in their ability to leverage their own historical data to determine next steps.

Economic powerhouse

Businesses must make use of new technology to help them manage their day-to-day operations. From scheduling to analytics, the consensus is clear: businesses that plan better, fare better.

When it comes to hourly workers, optimizing your workforce and increasing margins is hard work. In a competitive market, management and HR tools that make tasks easier are no longer optional if you want to be an economic powerhouse. How do you plan to better serve your customers?

 


Topics: Customer Experience, Workforce Management


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