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Need to Grow Your Workforce? Focus on Scheduling Flexibility

How Strategic Workforce Planning Gives Employees What They Want
Need to Grow Your Workforce? Focus on Scheduling Flexibility

The signs of labor shortages are everywhere. Most retail stores have less associates available to assist customers, restaurants have fewer servers, and some stores have even cut back on hours. There are literal signs, too. “Help Wanted” and “Be Kind to Those Who Show Up” are pasted on most supermarkets and businesses around town, reminding us that we’re all just doing the best that we can with the resources we have. It’s not just retail and hospitality. The whole world seems to be experiencing labor challenges. The transportation industry lost 6% of their overall workforce (1.52 million) and across all industries voluntary turnover has increased 88% since 2010. Employees are quitting at record rates and organizations are scrambling to hire workers to fill the void.

Today, 94% of retailers are having trouble hiring for open positions. Some economists predict labor shortages will persist for years, if not be permanent. Leading grocers are turning to strategic workforce planning systems to address today’s labor challenges. These systems can generate optimized schedules to ensure that the exact, right staff is on-hand and available to meet demand while prioritizing customized schedules that appeal to each employee’s individual preferences. This can make a huge difference in employee satisfaction and workforce retention. Recent studies have shown that blue collar workers would give up a $1 an hour raise for more scheduling flexibility.

What’s scheduling flexibility? That really depends on who you ask. If you polled your entire workforce, you can expect a variety of responses. Some may say it means working different schedules every week, working different positions every shift, or a schedule that accommodates part-time jobs, continuing education classes, or a family commitment. To give your employees the best possible work/life balance and keep them motivated, you need to know what’s most important to them and do your best to accommodate these priorities. By understanding everyone’s priorities you can begin to plan schedules that meet the needs of the business, as well as every individual.

How can you begin to balance these details and still meet the needs of your business? With strategic workforce planning from Blue Yonder. The system lets employees input their availability and also rank their preferences – including their preferred day off, preferred hours per shift, preferred job function and more. By implementing a scheduling plan that includes these details, employees are empowered to work the shifts that are best for them. And, since it’s built upon the Microsoft Azure platform, there’s built-in security controls and advanced threat intelligence that keeps your organization protected from today’s cyber threats.

For maximum flexibility, you can create “blank” schedules for your stores where no shifts are preassigned. Employees, temp workers and members of the gig economy can bid on shifts via an online marketplace (where employees have shift priority.) With this approach, many, retailers have seen a higher percentage of filled shifts and a decrease in shift call-outs. This also opens you to hiring employees that might not be able to work a traditional shift. Perhaps it’s a single parent who needs to only work during school hours, or someone that needs to balance multiple gig jobs. They’re both qualified to work for you, and you need to grow your staff, but traditional systems would make it difficult to schedule them.

With Blue Yonder’s strategic workforce planning, advanced algorithms calculate the specific labor required by day/hour/location/role and then produces optimized labor schedules that align to these preferences and are automatically in compliance with labor regulations and corporate policy. You can attract more employees and give them the schedules they desire. Your employees feel more empowered and engaged, and this can help increase retention by up to 84%. Plus, with unique state-of-the-art security protection, you can safeguard your system and your paychecks flowing. Less risk, lower turnover and higher productivity - that’s definitely a win-win scenario.

Visit our website to learn how Blue Yonder’s strategic workforce planning can help your business tackle labor shortages.

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