Retailers Struggling with Workforce Management

by Deepak Sharma on Sunday, July 10, 2005

New Report from AberdeenGroup suggests Retailers are struggling with Workforce Management (WFM).

Most retailers are striving for better planning and labor forecasting, but about one in five retailers reports that its workforce management strategy is reactive and emergency-driven, with little or no long-term staff planning, according to research published by AberdeenGroup. Fewer than 20% of retailers say they can schedule accurately and regularly match labor needs with budget and customer peak periods, according to findings in Aberdeen's new report, "Workforce Optimization in Retail: From Point of Hire to Point of Sale."

"Stores today fail to consider the lifecycle management of the employee," said Dr. Katherine Jones, Aberdeen's research director of enterprise applications and report author. "Instead, they exhibit emergency-driven hiring, haphazard employee management, and often capricious scheduling and labor forecasting. This formula produces low morale, frustrated managers, and high turnover."

Although technology has enhanced hourly hiring practices, performance management, and employee scheduling, according to Aberdeen research, today's workforce management policies, procedures, and technologies are often poorly integrated, reducing retailers' success in optimizing labor force investments....

WFM is just not limited to Forecasting and Scheduling but also touches other things like, integration with POS systems, Reporting and Analytics, integration with Finance systems etc. Even with this much complexity, a sizable Retailer should look for managing its workforce using a WFM. This is necessitated even more in the view of more varied and diverse workforce, labor laws and unions which varies from state to state, part-time/full-time workers etc.