Retailers must cater to smarter customers who have access to more technology and information than ever before. Change is the new buzzword for stores like yours. Whether it is local events, the weather or customer traffic flow, it is survival of the fittest to keep pace with the change.
Consumer demographic changes add to the mix of finding resources that can give you the edge in being prepared at all times. Their preferences and shopping habits must translate into a strong workforce that is prepared to deliver.
The shift can pose new challenges as you train and strive to retain your retail workforce. Failing to realize that changes in demographics will impact how your workforce operates can put you at a disadvantage.
In response, you must rethink your hiring, training an engagement strategies. Generally, this will require tailoring your fundamental processes for managing employees.
Investment in a retail workforce management software can serve as the perfect tool to make this happen sooner. Accommodating the future workforce today will improve retention and customer engagement.
Shifting Workforce Demographic
The workforce of the future comes with many positive characteristics that will benefit the retail industry. They are more creative, tech savvy, adaptable and eager to test emerging technologies. This combination promises to greatly improve your customers’ experience.
What makes them a great workforce also presents new challenges for your store. They come with a lot of skills, but this means you must adapt training methodologies to this new set of behaviors and attitudes.
Additionally, you are hiring workers who have different expectations of you as their employer. This new generation is driven by:
- Opportunities for career growth
- Work/life balance
While this presents different recruiting and hiring experiences, you will gain by employing the same ideology with the right technology tools.
Manage Workforce Training on the Go
One thing that is prevalent in many areas is having the flexibility to get things done whenever and wherever it is convenient. The same can be said for training and retraining employees. You will need training programs that adapt to your future workforce.
Also, you want training programs that can adapt to new customer demands. Bulky printed manuals complete with a table of contents and index has lost their effectiveness. Instead, you must rely on a more sophisticated multimedia platform to keep employees trained.
In some instances, training videos can bridge the knowledge gap. However, you should also consider learning tools that will keep employees engaged. Include a point-based reward system and multiple proficiency levels to provide immediate satisfaction for the learning experience.
Favor Best Practices of Labor Scheduling
Scheduling employee work shifts is another area that needs an upgrade. Best practices in labor standards serve as the basis for optimal scheduling to ensure employees feel they are being utilized.
This is also important so there are enough employees available to serve the customers who come into your store. Typically, this will require taking a variety of factors into account:
- Employee availability
- Staffing for multiple locations
- Short-term peak activities
- Workload patterns
- Skills matching
- Labor law restrictions
The granularity of factors will depend on your retail store’s need. Some retail workforce management software programs also have an employee self-service feature. This gives your workforce some autonomy in bidding for specific shifts and requesting time off.
Support Employees’ Desire for Work/Life Balance
Emphasis on achieving work-life balance has been on the minds of workers for many years. The desire to have greater control over their work schedules will not change. Their demand to have shift schedules and payroll information available at all times is equally important.
The future workforce wants the ability to swap shifts and review benefits on a platform that is comfortable to maneuver. Many software systems include a mobile feature that supports this need.
Giving employees access shows that you want to keep them engaged and that you understand their values.
Connection between Productivity and Customer Service
Employees who have relevant information at their fingertips can be more effective in representing your retail offerings to customers. Relying on back office reports will no longer suffice when customers demand information in real-time.
Because your training and learning platforms are up-to-date, employees are self-assured when helping customers. They can react faster to trends with mobile solutions. This gives new meaning to having a mobile workforce.
Employees are prepared to deliver quality customer service by checking inventory and assist customers with comparing product features. Not only will they know when inventories need to be restocked, but they feel confident in the information they provide customers.
Having this solution available enhances both your employees and customers’ experience.
With the changing role of technology in the workplace, you will need a retail workforce that is prepared to deliver. Embracing the need for more innovative ways to keep employees engaged positions your store for a successful transition into the future.