Why WFM is a must for logistics service providers?

With the rapid pace of logistics operations, managing a diverse workforce efficiently is challenging. With enterprise workforce management software, this task becomes much easier. Learn how WFM can help overcome the multiple challenges of logistic service providers.

 

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WFM voor Logistiek

WFM- Software can help in many ways

With the rapid pace of logistics operations, managing a diverse workforce efficiently is a challenge. Thanks to enterprise workforce management software, this laborious task is much easier. But what does it offer logistics companies specifically? What unique needs do they have and how does WFM software meet those needs?

Whether handling their own logistics operations or providing such services for external customers, WFM software helps organizations navigate the industry’s complexities. It offers so much more than attendance tracking, absence management and task management – and on top of that it helps reduce labor costs by up to 10%. Read on to find out how.

Logistic challenges and their solutions

Labor cost control

Rising labor costs make the need to optimize expenditure in this area more pressing than ever. A key driver behind managing these costs is that it plays a vital role in increasing profitability for many organizations.

Shortage of staff

Then there’s the shortage of heavy truck and lorry drivers. This is an issue in 18 European countries, of which 73% rated the shortage as severe.

The sector is facing difficulties in attracting and retaining workers, with many drivers approaching retirement or quitting in the pursuit of better compensation. In order to solve the problem – as well as attract younger workers – driver salaries have been increasing across Europe. The need to optimize labor costs has therefore increased in priority.

Hither operational costs

With increased energy costs around the world, operational costs for warehouses have been rising. Labor costs regarding warehouse workers are also seeing sharp increases, and worker shortages are a problem here as well.

How can the right WFM-software help to optimize labor costs?

WFM-software is proven to reduce labor costs by up to 10%. The solution offers reporting dashboards which provide detailed insights into labor costs and employee productivity metrics, helping identify areas of inefficiency, which enables targeted interventions to reduce unnecessary overtime and premium pay.

This is especially critical for companies handling logistics for external clients, as insights can be derived based on specific activities or customers. This is invaluable for assessing profitability and informing contract negotiations.

Juggling between diverse roles and contract types

The logistics sector is characterized by its diverse workforce, encompassing truck drivers, warehouse staff, and so on. There are also differences in contracts, shifts, and pay structures for each role.

With each role and type of contract having its own intricate set of rules and labor laws, there are many combinations of rule sets to manage. Another factor that complicates things is regional regulatory differences.  

There are many other complex arrangements. For example, consider a small warehouse connected to a store where workers pick orders, which are delivered by van. In this case, the workers’ CLAs may come under the store’s rules and not the same rules as for staff working in larger warehouses.

What’s more, logistics companies often rely on temporary or agency staff, and they come with their own unique needs.

How can WFM-software help to manage complexity?

A workforce management system like MANUS WFM, with its advanced time evaluation engine, automatically handles all of this complexity. It accurately tracks worked hours, overtime, and premiums, and ensures compliance with all CLAs, no matter what the employee’s role or which country they work in. 

For truck drivers, the system registers the time spent driving, and that data can be interfaced as worked hours to the WFM system.    

WFM software also simplifies the onboarding, scheduling, and payment processes for temporary and agency workers, integrating with external HR systems for streamlined workforce management.

Organizational structure transparency

For logistics firms serving multiple clients, MANUS FM can delineate organizational structures within the platform, tracking and reporting hours by client or project, thereby enhancing transparency and accountability.

Predicting staffing needs

Staffing needs vary based on seasonal fluctuations, manufacturing schedules, and changing sales volumes. The quantity and type of goods that need picking will affect which staff need to be scheduled; then there’s the quantity of goods affecting the number of warehouse staff required. Delivery schedules also need consideration.

How WFM-solutions can help to predict your staffing need

MANUS WFM provides insights into future demand. This enables the precise calculation of required labor hours, facilitating accurate shift planning and scheduling. It operates on a highly granular level, thanks to its activity-based costing features – in other words, it can calculate how many hours are needed for collecting, packing and so on.

For example, it will consider how many items are needed per type of goods per hour, and how much each employee can do. Based on that information, it calculates the number of hours required to complete the given tasks, and therefore, the number of shifts to assign. Employee schedules can then be created.

Competence based scheduling

Logistics operations often require specific certifications or skills.  Many roles require operating forklifts or other machinery to move and organize goods within a warehouse, while roles involving the transportation of goods may require a Commercial Driving License. There may also be technology-specific certifications relating to the systems in use, such as WMS or transport management systems.

How WFM-solutions can help with competence based scheduling

WFM systems can track these qualifications, ensuring that only appropriately trained staff are scheduled for certain tasks, thus maintaining operational standards and compliance. MANUS WFM ensures the right person is scheduled in the right place at the right time – and at the right cost – and this is another example of that principle in-action

Just-in-time deliveries

Optimizing delivery schedules is a must for any company that needs to make their resources go further (especially given the increase in fuel costs in recent years – combined with driver shortages). Other benefits include reduced vehicle wear and tear (and thus, maintenance costs) and the reduced need for overtime.

How can WFM-solutions help with Just-in-time deliveries?

WFM software collects comprehensive data on the time spent on specific routes. This helps to optimise schedules and reducing delivery times and fuel costs – bringing the added benefit of greater sustainability. (While MANUS WFM doesn’t analyze the data within the platform, it easily integrates with external analytics platforms.)

Taking this step ensures maximum utilization of a company’s vehicles and workforce, reducing idle times and increasing the number of deliveries per day. This agility also makes it easier to adapt to changes in volume, scaling up or down as needed without sacrificing efficiency or service quality.

What else is possible with the right WFM-software?

In this article we’ve looked at some challenges the logistics industry is facing and how the proper WFM solution can help solving them. But what else can workforce management offer logistics service providers?

Integrating with other systems

The best workforce management software integrates with many other external systems, for a streamlined human resources ecosystem. Here are some of the most crucial integrations MANUS WFM offers thourgh API:

WFM and WMS integrations

Integrating WFM with warehouse management systems allows for real-time visibility into both inventory and workforce data. As such, managers can align workforce schedules with current needs and priorities.

Again, this integration helps with activity-based costing, and it also makes it easier for employees to manage their time; by importing a line of items to be processed and linking it to the schedule, they can see when most of the work should be done.

Linking workforce performance data with specific warehouse activities gives companies maximum insight into productivity at an individual, team, or department level. This can highlight areas of high performance or identify opportunities for improvement, allowing for targeted training or process adjustments.

Integrating WMS and WFM systems can also streamline various warehouse operations, reducing the time and effort needed for coordination between different teams or departments. This can lead to faster processing times, reduced errors, and improved order fulfilment rates.

On the whole, integrated systems provide the agility needed to respond to changes in demand or operational conditions, allowing companies to scale up or down quickly. This is particularly important in the context of logistics, where demand can be highly variable.

Payroll Integrations

After MANUS WFM’s powerful time evaluation engine has performed its calculations, all the data needed for payroll processing is passed to your HR or payroll system. Automating this step is essential for ensuring the accurate and timely pay of all employees, no matter how complex the situation.

As for agency workers, agencies can download or import files with the payroll data they need in order to pay workers at their end.

Do you want to learn how MANUS WFM can help with these challenges?

Workforce management software offers transformative benefits for logistics operations, addressing a range of challenges from labor cost control to compliance. It easily manages the diverse contract types and CLAs that the logistics workforce bring, streamlines operations, ensures accurate and timely pay, and helps organizations to adapt to changes in demand.

To discover how MANUS WFM can manage your WFM needs while reducing labor costs by up to 10%, contact us today to request a demo.  

Workforce management software offers transformative benefits for logistics operations, addressing a range of challenges from labor cost control to compliance. In this article, we reviewed the biggest WFM challenges for logistics and touched on how WFM software can help.

Softbrick B.V. and Manus Software B.V. join forces as MANUS

Softbrick BV and Manus join forces as MANUS

Two leading players in Workforce Management software, Softbrick B.V. and Manus Software Europe B.V. – both part of the Canadian Valsoft Corporation Group – will join forces on December 4th to jointly move forward as MANUS. This merger marks an exciting development in the world of Workforce Management (WFM) software, planning and time evaluation.

New horizons, new branding

Since Valsoft Corporation’s acquisition of Softbrick B.V. in 2020 and Manus Software B.V. in 2021, the two companies have already been collaborating intensively in the background.

“The decision to continue as one entity under the name MANUS originates, on the one hand, from the ambition to combine our joint knowledge and strength and, on the other, to offer transparency to our customers and relations.” Explains Danny Assen, Commercial Manager at MANUS.

“The merger of both brands allows us to develop better and broader solutions for our valued customers. With this change, we will at once become the most experienced Workforce Management (WFM) partner within Europe. Our combined expertise will help us to better respond to customer needs and to position ourselves more strongly within the WFM market.”

What does this mean for customers?

This merger brings significant benefits to the customers of both companies. “Firstly, we remain committed to the personal approach and strong customer relationships that characterized Softbrick B.V. At the same time, we bring in Manus Software B.V.’s business expertise to strengthen our services and drive international growth”, adds Jan-Willem van Riet CEO at MANUS.

In recent weeks, customers have already been informed of the upcoming changes, which will be further rolled out in the coming months.

New beginnings, a new look

This step is being demonstrated today with the presentation of a new logo and website. The logo combines the letter M of MANUS and the W of Workforce management – with collaborative individuals. The MANUS website provides detailed information about the new identity, services and capabilities of the company.

About MANUS

MANUS, formed by the merger of Softbrick B.V. and Manus Software Europe B.V., is a leading player in Workforce Management software. With innovative solutions for Workforce Planning, Time Evaluation, Time Registration, Payroll and Consultancy, they strive for 100% control and 0% waste. MANUS helps ambitious companies in mastering complex Regulations, Operational and HR processes. In the past 30 years, renowned Call centers, and companies in Retail, Logistics, Production and Leisure have optimized their processes and achieved their goals thanks to the use of MANUS.

Why is Time Evaluation Vital in Manufacturing?

In the context of production, time evaluation means looking at the relationship between employee performance and production processes. Reviewing this data side by side can highlight bottlenecks that are slowing down processes, so they can be addressed and waste can be reduced.

Time evaluation can also help to improve delivery schedules through gathering data on shipping processes. Through identifying inefficiencies in this area, companies can reduce lead times and improve on-time delivery rates, thus improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Let’s explore in more detail how time evaluation helps in achieving the above – and more.

Optimizing the Production Process and Enhancing Employee Productivity

When the time employees spend working does not lead to the expected output, it’s time to troubleshoot. Time evaluation data highlights such discrepancies and from there, managers can look for the root cause.

If productivity is unexpectedly low in certain areas or among certain teams, this may indicate a need for further training, or perhaps an issue with the managers overseeing the team in-question. Likewise, employees that are meeting and exceeding productivity targets can be rewarded, further incentivizing high performance.

Some workforce management systems also monitor how time is spent on specific tasks within the production process, helping to pinpoint exactly where the inefficiencies arise. Manufacturers may then develop ways to optimize workflows and eliminate unnecessary tasks.

Staying Flexible When Sudden Changes Occur

In manufacturing, unexpected changes are inevitable, such as rush orders, machine breakdowns, or supply chain disruptions. Time evaluation enables companies to stay agile and respond effectively to these sudden changes, helping inform resource allocation, so that the right staff are available to meet changes in demand.

Generating Efficient Schedules

Efficient scheduling is crucial for maximizing manufacturing productivity. Software can automate the process of creating schedules by considering factors such as production targets, available resources, and employee skills.

Keeping production at its maximum is not possible when workers are only trained on specific equipment, for example, so having an intelligent system to match tasks with the right personnel ensures optimal resource utilization and minimizes idle time. In other words, it schedules the right worker to be in the right place at the right time.

Fair Scheduling for Shift Workers
Given the prevalence of shift work in manufacturing, it’s important to have the tools to ensure that shifts are allocated or rotated fairly. Workforce management software provides the oversight to make this possible, ensuring that nobody is left with the short end of the stick repeatedly.

The consequence of poorly-managed shifts include stress, sleep problems and other negative health outcomes, as well as lower job satisfaction. The link between wellbeing and productivity is confirmed by various studies, showing that not only do greater levels of wellbeing lead to enhanced productivity but also to lower absenteeism and other positive outcomes.

WFM software makes it extremely easy to create fair schedules for a large, multinational workforce while staying in compliance with labor laws.

How Will Robotics Affect Shift Allocation?
The use of industrial robotics in Europe is forecast to have an annual growth rate of 6.49% between now and 2028. The deployment of robotic assistants on the production line and elsewhere within manufacturing and maintenance brings about new requirements for scheduling.

Instead of re-adjusting resource allocation approaches manually, WFM software with its robust time evaluation capabilities provides the insights required to optimally deploy staff alongside their robotic counterparts. This ensures that not too many and not too few human workers are stationed where they need to be for maximum productivity.

Other Benefits

Complying with Diverse Labor Regulations
Multinational organizations often face the challenge of complying with diverse labor regulations. Time evaluation helps mitigate compliance risks by accurately processing data regarding employee work hours, breaks, and overtime – no matter how many jurisdictions the organization operates in.

Reducing Labor Costs
Labor costs are a significant expense. Time evaluation provides comprehensive visibility into labor utilization; analyzing data on labor productivity, overtime allocation, and absenteeism helps in identifying opportunities for efficiency improvements and cost savings – without compromising production output.

Identifying Training and Development Needs
Time evaluation data has an important role in talent management. As mentioned, if low productivity is detected, training needs may be uncovered and the organization can then implement targeted development programs. In addition, by identifying high-performing talent, companies have a shortcut when putting individuals forward for internal promotions.

Training and development is essential for motivating Gen Z employees, so keeping on top of their needs is a must.

How Workforce Management Systems Enable Time Evaluation

Without the right workforce management software, there is no way to get the benefits that time evaluation brings to the table. Below are several ways in which the software makes it possible – in addition to having an advanced, time evaluation engine.

Data Collection and Management

Accurate data collection is the foundation of time evaluation. Manual and outdated time and attendance tracking methods such as paper-based timesheets often contain errors, which means that even if a company aggregated this data manually for analysis, the results may be skewed.

A workforce management software solution automatically processes all time and attendance data based on schedules and clock-in/out times. The time evaluation engine can then get to work.

Automation

Workforce management software streamlines and automates a range of everyday tasks relating to time evaluation and beyond. It seamlessly handles:

  • Time and attendance tracking
  • Employee scheduling and leave management – employees can request time off digitally, while managers can easily review and approve requests.
  • Automatically provides data for payroll processing, ensuring accurate and timely payment calculations while integrating with relevant labor laws and collective agreements.

Integrations

A flexible workforce management solution integrates with various other systems to streamline workflows even more, ensuring that you get the most value out of your time evaluation data.

Data Analytics Tools
Feeding your workforce data into a powerful analytics platform allows for the most comprehensive insights – not just when it comes to productivity, but also turnover, training and development, compensation and benefits, diversity, employee engagement, and much more.

ERP Tools
Integrating WFM and ERP tools enables seamless data flow and synchronization between the two systems, eliminating the need for manual data entry, therefore saving time and reducing errors. This integration provides a holistic view of workforce-related data and operational information, allowing for better decision-making and resource allocation.

By combining WFM and ERP systems that have production planning tools, businesses can align workforce capacity with production demands in real-time. This integration also streamlines payroll processes and enables collaboration between departments, such as HR, finance, and operations.

Supply Chain Management Software
Integrating WFM software with Supply Chain Management (SCM) software allows for efficient coordination between workforce planning and supply chain operations. As with the above examples, it assists with forecasting labor requirements and allocation resources based on demand.

The integration also enhances collaboration and communication between the departments involved in supply chain operations. Teams can work then quickly respond to changes, such as unexpected orders, capacity constraints, or supply disruptions.

The Best Workforce Management Software for Time Evaluation

Using an enterprise workforce management system allows multinational organizations to derive all the key benefits we’ve discussed in this article. MANUS WFM is built upon an advanced time evaluation engine that provides the following:

  • Accurate and timely pay slips guaranteed for all legislative requirements, Collective Labour Agreements, or local business regulations.
  • Complete adherence and for multinational corporations; certified ISAE3402 and GDPR compliant.
  • Centralized management of multinational and multibranch operations within a single database, accommodating diverse legislations and regulations across all parts of your organization.
  • Customizable parameters within regulatory frameworks, allowing flexibility based on employee type, role, location, department, or even individual employees, if necessary.
  • Constant updates aligning with regulatory changes to ensure precise calculations at all times.
  • The re-calculation analyzer provides a detailed trail, explaining the reasoning behind the results obtained.
  • The employee self-service app lets staff view their schedules and request time off. This reduces the number of queries that HR have to handle and makes it easier and quicker for employees to have their leave approved, which naturally improves employee sentiment towards the company.

Summary

Time evaluation is a powerful tool that manufacturing companies need to include in their arsenal in terms of increasing output. It all starts with monitoring productivity – and from there, management can explore the causes of low productivity and uncover areas for improvement.

Time evaluation is an integral part of the best workforce management systems. WFM software gathers time and attendance data which is automatically passed to the time evaluation engine for further processing. From there, reports are generated so that management can gain insights and, for the most comprehensive insights, the system will pass data to an external analytics system.

Aside from the productivity benefits, time evaluation helps in generating the most optimum schedules. It also handles compliance and absence management, and reduces labor costs. All in all, it provides the ultimate agility in workforce management.

With the ever-growing competitive pressures in the manufacturing sector, adopting time evaluation software becomes a strategic advantage, enabling companies to thrive in a fast-paced and demanding industry.

MANUS is the most experienced provider of workforce management solutions serving multinational organizations world-wide. With its flexible integrations, our solutions ensure the most streamlined HR processes. To book a demo, contact us today.

Why Retailers Need to Focus on Contract Mix for Optimal Results

To succeed in retail today, it’s not just about having the right product at the right price. The best service level for customers is a key differentiator in this competitive industry and, as such, organizations need to focus on the contract mix of their staff in order to achieve optimal results.

Including a mix of permanent, temporary and seasonal contracts improves employee productivity, efficiency, flexibility, and ensures optimal coverage for meeting customer needs.

In this article, we’ll explore how refining the contract mix can help retailers adapt to changing business needs so that the right worker is always in the right place at the right time.

The Benefits of Diversifying the Contract Mix

Maximizing Staffing Flexibility

One of the primary benefits of a well-planned contract mix is the ability to achieve optimal staffing flexibility. Retailers face fluctuating customer demands, which can vary based on factors such as time of day, day of the week, and seasonality. Employing a mix of full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers allows retailers to adapt their workforce to match these changing demands.

Full-time employees provide stability, consistency, and specialized expertise, and can take on more extensive responsibilities, while part-time and on call staff offer flexibility and cost-effectiveness during peak periods.

This combination ensures that the right number of staff members are available to handle customer needs, reducing wait times, enhancing service quality, and ultimately driving customer satisfaction and increase sales.

Cost Efficiency and Resource Allocation

This is a critical aspect of retail operations and, along with workforce planning software, the contract mix approach helps retailers to control their labour expenses.

Full-time employees, while typically more costly, offer a dedicated workforce that can handle core responsibilities and provide in-depth product knowledge. On the other hand, since part-time and seasonal workers allow organisations to adjust staffing levels according to demand fluctuations, having these workers on the payroll prevents overstaffing and unnecessary wage expenses during slower periods.

There’s also the benefit of having extra employees available to cover during maternity leave, sick leave, holidays, and so on.

Ultimately, a mix of contracts therefore allows labour costs to be optimized without compromising service quality.

Enhancing the Customer Experience

A mix of contracts ensures that organizations have the right people available to deliver top quality customer experiences.

Full-time employees, with their deeper understanding of products and processes, can provide personalized assistance and build long-term customer relationships, while part-time and seasonal workers help bridge the gap, taking on the extra workload during peak times and ensuring a quick response. Collectively, the two types of employees can ensure that customer needs are always met.

Talent Pool for Future Hiring

Seasonal employment allows retailers to identify potential talent for future full or part-time positions. Offering seasonal workers with permanent positions also saves on recruitment and training costs, while the company benefits from employees that are already familiar with the company’s operations and culture.

Giving part-time and seasonal workers the opportunity to gain skills, explore career options, and potentially transition into full-time roles will also boost engagement and create a positive reputation for the company as an employer.

Pros and Cons of Employing Part-Time Workers

Pros

As well as the benefits discussed above, here are several more benefits.

Diverse Skillsets
Part-time workers can bring diverse skills and expertise to the team, as they often have experience from various industries or occupations. Employing these workers can also help businesses tap into niche or specialized skills that may not be readily available within the full-time workforce, bringing unique expertise to specific projects.

Cross-Training
Due to the flexible nature of part-time work, it can be convenient to cross train part-time employees and be prepared to move staff between departments during busy seasons. Full-time staff, with their daily responsibilities, may not have the time to take on additional training when it’s needed. And again, part-timers with experience in various types of work may easily adapt to new types of tasks.

Diversity
By offering part-time positions, organizations can attract a wide range of individuals, including students, parents, retirees, and those seeking supplemental income. This encourages a diverse workforce full of new perspectives, ultimately enriching the organizational culture.

Cons

There are some challenges to overcome with the contract mix, but nothing that cannot be easily resolved. These challenges include:

Increased Workload for Managers
With the additional training and supervision on hiring seasonal workers, the workload for managers increases, but without the long-term benefits that come with part-timers. Integrating part-time workers into existing teams and workflows may also require additional effort.

Scheduling Challenges
Managing part-time workers can be more challenging due to their varying schedules and availability, requiring additional coordination and communication efforts. In addition, part-time workers may face challenges in balancing multiple job commitments or personal obligations, potentially leading to increased absenteeism or scheduling conflicts.

Team Building Challenges
Since part time workers aren’t present as much as full-timers, the opportunities for building rapport among teams are reduced.

Less Commitment and Motivation
Part-time workers may have less commitment compared to full-time employees and may be more inclined to prioritize their other commitments or seek better opportunities elsewhere. In addition, the reduced job security and fewer benefits compared to full-time employees may lead to lower motivation and job satisfaction.

More Complex WFM Processes
Employing part-time workers may require additional administrative tasks and compliance with labour laws and regulations related to part-time employment, making workforce management processes more complicated.

Overcoming the Cons

To overcome motivation challenges, implement recognition and reward programs that acknowledge the contributions of part-time workers, helping to build a sense of belonging and motivation.

Make sure that tangible rewards are included, and not just titles such as “employee of the month”. After all, if they are not emotionally invested in the company, such titles may not make a difference. However, genuine rewards will help those with the least motivation to be productive.

In addition, provide clear career development opportunities for part-time workers – after all, while many part-timers are not looking for a long-term career in the industry they work in, some of them will, and those are the ones you want to retain most of all.

Another way to provide temporary cover while ensuring maximum motivation is to hire paid interns. They can provide hands-on assistance with everyday tasks as well as learn new skills and work within different departments. As they are there to learn and develop, they may be more invested than part-time staff and could progress into full-time positions later.

As for team building, increase the opportunities that full and part-time staff have to interact with each other, though company events, social activities and meetings.

Finally, scheduling challenges are overthrown thanks to workforce management software. These tools facilitate better coordination of part-time workers’ varying schedules and help provide clear communication channels to address scheduling conflicts.

How a Workforce Management System Improves Contract Mix Optimization

Enterprise workforce management software plays a vital role in contract mix optimization, helping organizations to manage their schedules, labour costs, and much more. It’s the key to having the right employee in the right place at the right time, at the right cost.

Workforce software helps in the following ways:

  • Provides real-time visibility into employee availability, making it easier to assess the contract mix and identify opportunities to balance full-time, part-time, and seasonal contracts.
  • Automates scheduling processes, for the efficient allocation of shifts based on demand and employee availability.
  • Enables accurate demand forecasting so that managers can determine the appropriate number and type of contracts needed.
  • Workforce management solutions can integrate with analytics software, enabling managers to deeply analyse workforce trends and make data-driven decisions.
  • Streamlines communication between managers and employees, ensuring clarity and reducing scheduling conflicts.
  • With automated alerts and notifications, the software ensures the timely management of schedule changes.
  • The best workforce management software automates compliance with labour laws.

In addition, the Employee Self-Service functionality provided by the   reduces the admin involved with scheduling. Employees can manage their own data, submit leave requests, view upcoming schedules, and keep their availability up to date.

Conclusion

Having the right employee in the right place at the right time is crucial to providing the best service in retail, and the strategic management of the contract mix makes this easier.

Balancing full-time, part-time, and seasonal contracts allows retailers to adapt to demand fluctuations and provide exceptional customer service. It also reduces the risk of burnout for full-time staff and provides a pool of talent for full-time openings.

While the scheduling and admin is more complex with a mix of contracts on the payroll, workforce planning software make it easy. With features for handling time and attendance tracking, benefits administration, absence management and more, workforce management tools streamline HR processes and reduce labor costs.

To discover whether MANUS WFM is the right workforce management software for your organization, today to book a demo.

How Workforce Management Software Saves 7-10% on Labor Costs

Labor costs are one of the biggest expenses for any business and if not managed properly, they can quickly spiral out of control.

One of the most effective ways to save costs in this area is by leveraging Workforce Management software; with its ability to automate various processes, it can lead to significant savings. In fact, our solution is proven to reduce labor costs by up to 10% (depending on the industry).

In this article, we’ll explore how workforce management systems bring labor cost savings through demand forecasting, optimized scheduling, productivity improvements and more.

How the Best Workforce Management Software Reduces Labor Costs

Optimal Employee Scheduling

Many variables need consideration when scheduling shifts, including availability, skillsets and compliance requirements.

Our total workforce management system, MANUS WFM, offers a wide variety of support tools that assist in deciding which employee should work when and where.

Just a few factors it considers are labor laws, employee preferences, and skill requirements to generate schedules that minimize overtime, eliminate understaffing, and maintain adequate coverage. As a result, a better balance between staffing levels and workload is achieved.

In organizations where demand fluctuates unpredictably, having an effective way to manage schedules is important due to the rapid response required. For example, a garden center will experience increased visitors when the weather is nice, so on sunny days, it’s necessary to have a sufficient number of skilled staff scheduled. WFM software provides the agility you need to be able to consistently meet service levels.

To consistently meet service levels, agility is required – and that’s exactly what WFM software provides.

Reducing Overtime Expenses

When organizations are short on staff, the existing employees have to work overtime; naturally, when the overtime rate is higher than their standard rate, this becomes problematic.

In addition, employee productivity is lower when they are overworked, making those extra hours lead to lower output and higher absenteeism due to illness. However, when the workload is optimally distributed, this is no longer an issue.

Using workforce software that has a powerful engine that can help you schedule shifts optimally eliminates these problems. In addition, our Employee Self Service functionality lets employees easily swap shifts or time-off requests. This prevents the need for costly last-minute replacements.

Another way in which the software optimizes scheduling is through demand forecasting.

Accurate Demand Forecasting

One of the key features of workforce management software is its ability to accurately forecast demand based on historical data and variables like seasonality, sales data, and other relevant factors that provide insight into staffing requirements.

With this information, organizations can ensure the right number of staff are present during peak hours and avoid overstaffing during slower periods.

Being able to forecast ahead of time brings a number of additional benefits – namely, benefits to the workforce. Having more stability around shift planning helps reduce employee stress and improves their work-life balance. On the other hand, an unpredictable schedule can wreak havoc on their personal and family lives (especially for parents) and can cause financial struggles.

study on scheduling instability revealed that 37% of participants (US retail and food service workers) had variable schedules, their income fluctuating by around 30% on a weekly basis.

Shift cancellations also proved common – and of the workers that had shifts cancelled, 65% reported experiencing psychological distress. In addition, 25% of participants that experienced a large degree of shift variation reported sleep problems.

While labor laws in the Netherlands protect against last-minute cancellations, it’s clear that unpredictability around working hours causes significant problems for wellbeing.

The figures above are not promising for any company that wants to retain its workers – yet doing so is vital to motivate Gen Z and reduce the costs associated with churn. Thankfully, workforce planning software takes the chaos out of scheduling by staying one step ahead.

Improved Absence and Leave Management

Managing absences and leave can be a complex and time-consuming task. Workforce management solutions simplify this process through automation, allowing employees to submit requests, managers to review and approve them, and schedules to be updated accordingly.

Automating this process leads to fewer errors and reduced administrative burden, and ensures optimal staffing levels without over-relying on costly temporary replacements.

Real-Time Monitoring

WFM software provides real-time monitoring capabilities, allowing managers to track employee attendance, punctuality, and adherence to schedules. This helps identify and address potential attendance issues promptly, minimizing costs associated with absenteeism, and reducing productivity losses. It also helps to create a culture of accountability.

Analytics and Reporting

Feeding workforce data into an analytics platform allows for valuable insights into workforce trends, performance metrics, and cost analysis. Organizations can then make data-driven decisions with a view to implementing improvement strategies to further optimize labor costs.

Some examples of the types of patterns the data may reveal include excessive overtime, areas with low productivity, or underutilized workforce.

Our workforce planning software come with an API for integrating with all of the major reporting and Business Intelligence tools on the market.

How to Maximize Labor Cost Savings with Workforce Planning Software

Below are a few tips to help you get the most  from your workforce management software solution.

Invest in the Right Workforce Management Software

Choose a robust, comprehensive solution that aligns with all your requirements and offers all the features mentioned above. To recap, it should provide accurate demand forecasting, employee scheduling, absence management, real-time monitoring, and Employee Self Service features.

It should also have a powerful compliance engine and be able to integrate with external systems such as payroll software, analytics platforms, clocking in systems and more.

Continuously Train and Educate Staff

Provide comprehensive training on how to use the workforce management tools to their full capacity, ensuring that staff understand all of their intricacies. This will also promote consistent and accurate data input and reduce errors.

Regularly Review and Update Processes

Keep evaluating and refining your workforce management processes in collaboration with the software. Identify areas for improvement such as automating manual tasks, eliminating redundant processes, and optimizing workflows to enhance overall efficiency.

Other Costs a Workforce Management Solution Reduces

Here are a few more areas in which WFM software reduces costs.

Churn

As mentioned, unpredictable scheduling can cause a significant blow to morale. Employee expectations are ever-increasing when it comes to work-life balance and wellbeing; if they have other options, they are not likely to stick around if their work schedule causes the difficulties we mentioned earlier.

According to SHRM, replacing an employee costs one third of their annual salary, with various other sources including Gallup stating much higher costs.

With a McKinsey survey indicating that more than 30% of the workforce in nine European countries are considering quitting, the costs start to mount considerably. (Turnover rates for service and sales workers in Europe are particularly high).

Payroll Management

Accurate time and attendance tracking ensures accurate and timely pay, which is also vital when it comes to keeping employees happy. It also means less payroll errors and the time and cost associated with correcting them.

Other Administrative Costs

Admin costs can be reduced in a broad range of areas. WFM software that has a powerful compliance engine automates a great deal of the work needed to ensure compliance, reducing the associated costs. Using powerful software that automates many processes also reduces the number of HR staff required.

In addition, manual and paper-based time and attendance tracking systems can be fraught with errors, with managers wasting time troubleshooting.

Conclusion

Labor cost optimization plays a crucial role in ensuring profitability. WFM software serves as a powerful tool in reducing labor costs by accurately forecasting demand, optimizing employee schedules, managing absences, reducing time theft, and much more. It also has the potential to reduce the staggering costs caused by employee turnover.

Manus Software Europe provide world-class enterprise workforce management software for large, multinational organizations throughout Europe and beyond. To book a demo or learn more about our professional services, contact us today.

Time Evaluation in Hospitality and Leisure: The Key to Greater Efficiency and Lower Labor Costs.

Time evaluation plays a vital role in workforce management within the hospitality and leisure industries. With operations that rely heavily on staff availability, scheduling, and efficient use of time, accurately assessing and managing the hours worked by employees is vital.

In this article, we delve into the significance of time evaluation in these industries, including how it ensures compliance with labour regulations and enhances overall operational efficiency.

What is Time Evaluation in Workforce Management Systems?

In workforce management solutions, “time evaluation” and “time and attendance” are two distinct modules that serve different purposes but work together closely.

Time and attendance focuses on attendance tracking, capturing and recording the actual hours worked by employees. It typically involves features such as time clock integration, timesheet submission, and absence management. Its primary goal is to accurately track and record employee attendance data, including clock-in and clock-out times, breaks, leave, and other time-related information in order to calculate wages.

On the other hand, time evaluation involves processing and analyzing the recorded time data to perform various calculations and derive meaningful insights. Its primary purpose is to interpret the captured time data and generate actionable information for payroll processing, cost analysis, and labour reporting.

A time evaluation engine applies predefined rules and policies configured in the system to the recorded time data. It validates against predefined parameters, and calculates various metrics such as worked hours, overtime, paid time off, and shift differentials. It also checks for exceptions – deviations in an employee’s time and attendance data that fall outside predefined rules, such as unapproved absences, breaks that are too long or short, and so on.

The output of a time evaluation engine is typically a set of processed and calculated data, including attendance summaries, labour cost breakdowns, and exception reports.

While the time evaluation engine performs calculations and generates data for payroll processing, it does not usually handle the actual payroll calculations itself. Instead, the processed data is passed to the payroll module or integrated with a separate payroll management system, where the final payroll calculations, deductions, and tax calculations are performed based on organizational policies and legal requirements.

By accurately evaluating and managing time, businesses can optimize shift scheduling and compensation management, monitor employee performance, and make informed decisions regarding resource allocation and workforce planning.

Benefits of Time Evaluation in the Leisure and Hospitality Industries

In the leisure and hospitality industries, customer satisfaction is directly tied to employee performance in many cases, which means time evaluation can have a significant impact on business outcomes.

Below are some of the key benefits of time evaluation in these industries – on its own and when combined with other modules of WFM software.

Identifying Areas of Waste and Inefficiency

Time evaluation can help businesses identify areas where time is being wasted or where processes are inefficient by tracking productivity.

A concrete example is in the housekeeping department of a hotel, where the hotel would track the time housekeeping staff take when cleaning and preparing guest rooms.

The data may reveal that staff are unable to complete the required number of rooms within their allocated hours, which could indicate a bottleneck in the process (such as spending too much time moving from one room to the next or taking too many trips to the store room  – well-known inefficiencies in hospitality).

Another issue that could be revealed is that certain employees are completing the required workload within their shift while others are not. This may suggest the need for additional training or the need to standardize the way in which certain tasks are done, ensuring that each employee takes a consistent and efficient approach.

In other cases, it may mean investigating barriers to employee productivity – as only 20% of working hours are spent on high-priority tasks, and in the UK, employees spend more than two hours per day doing anything that is not considered to be work.

Managing Complex Employee Scheduling

Providing exceptional guest experiences heavily relies on having the right employees in the right place at the right time. However, these industries often face unique challenges related to fluctuating demand, multiple shift patterns and event-driven staffing needs.

Analyzing time and attendance data provides insights that can inform the scheduling based on these complex requirements, allowing managers to create and adjust schedules based on specific skill requirements, staff availability, and the booking of special events.

WFM software also enables businesses to analyze historical trends, which helps in accurate demand forecasting and workforce planning, ensuring that the right number of employees are scheduled to meet anticipated guest volumes, taking into account seasonal variations and other factors.

This also helps in addressing smaller-scale variations, such as determining the optimal staffing levels for different times of day or week. This helps prevent overstaffing during slow periods and understaffing during peak times, leading to more efficient use of resources and improved customer service.

Effective Training and Development

Time evaluation data is an important part of talent management, providing insights into employee productivity and other performance management areas. This data can then be used to identify training needs and implement targeted development programs.

By investing in employee growth, businesses can elevate service quality, resulting in a positive impact on guest satisfaction and loyalty. In addition, training and development is a crucial part of motivating Gen Z employees, so it’s more important than ever to be well-informed about their needs.

Enhanced Staff-Guest Ratio

Effectively managing labour hours and schedules helps to ensure that the staff-to-guest ratio is appropriate. This means having enough employees available to deliver personalized and attentive service to guests, resulting in a positive guest experience.

More Benefits

Below are some additional benefits that apply in many industries.

Lower Costs
Optimized resource allocation leads to labour cost savings (from 3% to 7% with our workforce planning software).

Compliance
Ensures compliance with various labour regulations such as break requirements, maximum working hours, and overtime rules, reducing the risk of legal penalties or labour disputes.

Automation
The software automatically takes into account factors such as overtime, public holidays, weekend, or other required conditions.

Compliance with Service Level Agreements
Meet SLAs by accurately tracking employee working hours and ensuring staff coverage during specific service hours or contractually obligated time frames. This ensures that service commitments are met, leading to satisfied guests and maintaining strong partnerships with clients.

Integrations
Workforce software can integrate with systems such as payroll and other SaaS HR management solution. This allows for seamless data flow, eliminating the need for manual data entry and reducing the risk of errors or discrepancies.

Payroll Efficiency
The integration with payroll software automates the calculation of wages, overtime, and other payroll-related tasks. This reduces the administrative work involved and minimizes payroll errors, ensuring that employees are paid accurately and on time.

Real-Time Monitoring
The real-time monitoring of time-related data enables managers to address issues promptly and adapt to unexpected changes with ease.

Employee Self-Service
Time evaluation software often provides self-service capabilities, enabling employees to view their schedules, request time off, and access their time-related information. This empowers employees and further reduces administrative overhead.

Increased Revenue
The implications on revenue relate to optimized workflows and staffing levels, and improved customer service as a result. In addition, factors such as timely pay and insights into professional development needs may help retain employees.

Time Evaluation with the Best Workforce Management Software
Using an enterprise workforce management system facilitates all the benefits listed above. The core of our WFM solutions is an advanced time evaluation engine, providing the following:

  • 100% accurate and timely pay slips for all legislations, Collective Labour Agreements or local business rules.
  • Full compliance and support for multinational organizations; ISAE3402 and GDPR approved.
  • Multinational and multibranch setup within one database – all parts of your organization with different legislations or regulations are managed centrally.
  • Within the sets of regulations, you can vary the parameters based on employee type, function, location, department or even per employee, if required.
  • Automatically updates in line with changes to the setup of regulations, ensuring calculations are always accurate.
  • The re-calculation analyser lets you retrace your steps, indicating why the results are what they are.

Conclusion

Using the right workforce management software that has a powerful time evaluation engine equips organizations to efficiently manage their workforce, improve productivity, control labour costs, ensure compliance, and enhance the overall guest/customer experience.

It simplifies and automates administrative tasks, saves time, and enables businesses to focus on delivering exceptional service while effectively managing their most valuable resource – their employees.

These benefits enable businesses to consistently deliver exceptional guest experiences, exceed customer expectations, maintain efficient payroll processes, and ultimately thrive in a highly competitive market.

Our renowned enterprise workforce management software ensures that employees with the right skills are in the right place at the right place, and at the right cost – contact us today to book a demo.

Is the ‘Four Day Work Week’ Set to Become a Reality Worldwide?

The traditional Monday to Friday 40 hour week has been the default working pattern for decades, but as we enter a new era of work-life balance, the four day work week is gaining traction around the world.

This revolutionary shift has been fuelled by studies that show how overworking leads to burnout, decreased productivity, and poor mental health – while, on the contrary, shorter working weeks lead to greater productivity and other positive outcomes.

In this article, we’ll explore the origins of the four-day work week and discover why it’s gaining momentum as a new standard for the modern workforce.

Benefits of the Four-Day Workweek

The benefits of a shorter workweek are numerous, for both employees and employers. They include the following:

  • Improved work-life balance: Having an extra day off each week allows employees to have more time for personal activities, leisure, family commitments, pursuing hobbies, and taking much-needed rest. This leads to reduced stress and better overall well-being.
  • Increased employee satisfaction and engagement: Offering a four day workweek can boost employee morale, satisfaction, and motivation. Employees appreciate having more control over their time and being able to enjoy the benefits mentioned above. This, in turn, can improve retention, loyalty, and engagement levels.
  • Enhanced productivity: While it might seem counterintuitive, a shorter work week has the potential to increase productivity. Research and various pilot projects have shown that employees often experience a heightened sense of urgency and focus when they have fewer work days available and, as a result, they may become more efficient, prioritize tasks effectively, and experience improved concentration levels. (Click to read more about boosting retail productivity.)
  • Reduced absenteeism and burnout: A well-rested and rejuvenated workforce is less likely to experience exhaustion or seek additional time off for personal reasons. This can lead to lower absenteeism rates and decreased occurrences of stress-related burnout.
  • Attraction and retention of talent: Implementing a four-day work week can serve as an attractive perk for potential job candidates and is a key differentiator in a competitive job market. It can also improve employee retention rates, as staff are more likely to stay with an employer that values their well-being.
  • Increased sustainability: A four-day workweek means less energy and water consumption, and less waste generation. In addition, commuting is a significant contributor to CO2 emissions and air pollution; with fewer commuting days, there would be reduced use of public transport and less traffic congestion, leading to lower emissions from cars and a decrease in fuel consumption.

History and Evolution of the Four-Day Work Week

The 40 hour, 5-day work week was not always the norm. Going further back, working more than 60 hours each week was the standard and various social movements fought to change that across the world.

Some milestones that have brought us to where we are today are as follows:

  • The early 20th century: The concept of shorter work hours gained traction during the labour movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Workers in the US began advocating for an eight-hour workday, with the slogan “Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for what we will”; a similar sentiment was demonstrated in Europe. While the focus was on reducing daily working hours, this movement laid the foundation for later discussions on shorter workweeks.
  • The ILO: In 1919, the International Labour Organization (ILO) was founded, with the objective of promoting social justice and improving working conditions worldwide. The ILO advocated for the eight-hour workday and led to international agreements and conventions supporting shorter workweeks.
  • Henry Ford’s observations: In the 1920s, Henry Ford discovered that reducing the work week from 60+ to 40 hours gave rise to greater productivity. Observations like this from influential businesses and public figures, along with the work of activists, helped usher in more reasonable work schedules.
  • The Kellogg’s six-hour day experiment: In 1930, the cereal manufacturer began a six-hour workday experiment. The results were positive, including increased productivity and reduced turnover, but it was eventually abandoned which was allegedly due to opposition from management, among other factors.
  • The Great Depression: During the 1930s, the Great Depression led to high unemployment rates, which sparked interest in alternative work arrangements. Some suggested reducing the workweek to distribute available work among more people and alleviate the unemployment crisis. In 1933, the US Senate passed a bill for a 30 hour work week, which was later abandoned.
  • The late 20th century: This period also saw renewed efforts in Europe to address work hours and improve work-life balance with some countries, like France and Germany, implementing legal reforms that gradually reduced the standard work week. Eventually, France introduced the 35-hour work week in 1998.
  • The Netherlands’ part-time law: The Netherlands has been a pioneer in advocating for reduced work hours. In the 1980s, the Dutch government introduced the “Part-Time Law,” which aimed to create more job opportunities by encouraging employees to work fewer hours. The law provided financial incentives to both employers and employees, promoting a better work-life balance. As a result, part-time work became more common in the Netherlands, and the country has one of the highest rates of part-time employment in the world.

Developments Worldwide and Case Studies

In recent years, the idea of shortening the work week has gained renewed attention around the world. One influence has been the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly disrupted traditional work patterns and accelerated the adoption of flexible arrangements. As people had to work from home during lockdowns, managers saw that employees could be trusted to perform well despite the changes.

Combined with research from the non-profit organization 4 Day Week Global (4DWG) and other pilot projects, there is a strong case for implementing this new approach.

The Perpetual Guardian Trial, New Zealand

4DWG was behind the influential Perpetual Guardian trial. In 2018, this New Zealand-based company had employees work four days a week while being paid for five. The experiment resulted in a 20% increase in productivity, higher employee satisfaction, and improved work-life balance. As a result, the company made the four day work week permanent.

Microsoft Japan

Microsoft Japan also implemented a four-day workweek in the summer of 2019. The company reported a 40% increase in productivity, as well as a 23% reduction in electricity costs and a 59% reduction in paper consumption. 90% of employees involved preferred the shorter week.

Iceland

In Iceland, the government and trade unions conducted trials from 2015-2019 involving around 2,500 workers across various industries, reducing their work hours from 40 to 35-36 per week without any reduction in pay. The trials were an ‘overwhelming success’ and productivity remained the same or improved in the majority of cases. By 2021, 86% of the country’s workforce had the right to reduce their work week.

Spain

In March 2021, the Spanish government launched a three-year pilot project in order to study the effects of a 32-hour work week that runs over four days (with no reduction in pay). The project involves around 200 companies.

The Netherlands

The average working week in the Netherlands already clocks in at 29 hours. There are at least 300 companies in the country offering a four day, 32-hour week as the standard (without a reduction in pay).

Belgium

As of November 2022, employees in Belgium have the right to request a four day week, but employees must still work the same number of hours as before.

The United Kingdom

Many UK companies are experimenting with this approach. According to a survey by Harvard Business Review, 50% of business leaders reported increased employee satisfaction, reduced employee sickness, and cost savings of almost £92 billion per year.

Will the Four Day Work Week Catch on Globally?

The adoption of a shorter workweek depends on various factors, including cultural norms, labour laws, industry practices, and the willingness of employers and employees to embrace alternative work arrangements.

As the younger workforce enters the job market, there is a growing demand for work arrangements that prioritize flexibility and well-being. Thus, as employee expectations evolve, employers may be more inclined to consider shorter workweeks to attract and retain talent and motivate Gen Z.

The feasibility and applicability of a four-day workweek can vary across industries; knowledge-based industries may find it easier to adopt these new arrangements, while those with round-the-clock operations, such as manufacturing or customer service-oriented roles, may face more challenges.

Despite the promising results that many companies have experienced, some organizations stopped exploring the four day work week due to the complexity of managing it in their unique circumstances, as well as staffing concerns, among other factors.

While it may be a gradual shift, more and more nations are experimenting with shorter weeks and making the changes permanent. In addition, researchers have reported that employees working in such companies have said they couldn’t be paid enough to go back to working the full five day week. So, it seems that for the majority of those that have started walking this path, there is no turning back.

Conclusion

The four-day workweek is gaining momentum around the world as a new standard for the modern workforce. It’s not surprising considering the benefits: improved employee well-being, retention and job satisfaction; increased productivity; reduced operating costs; and various environmental benefits.

Despite the promising results in certain contexts, its widespread adoption worldwide will require further research, experimentation, and societal shifts. It will depend on the collaboration and efforts of governments, employers, employees, and other stakeholders in order to create the necessary policy frameworks, cultural acceptance, and operational adjustments.

If you’re not ready to take the plunge and reduce your organization’s work week, there is another way to boost productivity and efficiency – workforce management software. Manus WFM is the most experienced provider of workforce software solutions, serving multinational organizations in Europe and beyond. Contact us today to book a demo.

Beat the Slow Summer Season and Boost Retail Productivity

As summer approaches, retailers face the challenge of maintaining productivity during the holiday season. Employees take time off and customers’ shopping patterns change as they spend more time outdoors, enjoying the weather. These changes can make it tempting to slow down and take it easy until autumn.

For many businesses, however, slowing down is not an option. Fierce competition combined with economic challenges means retailers need to stay focused on keeping retail productivity levels high and hitting sales targets.

The summer months are also traditionally the slowest period for e-commerce sales as well; however, PwC’s 2023 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey revealed that 43% of consumers intended to increase their online shopping before the end of the summer – things may be different to usual this year, so retailers with online stores can capitalize on that.

This article will review some tips that retailers can use to beat the summer struggles and maintain their productivity.

7 Ways to Boost Retail Productivity During the Holiday Season

1. Review Last Summer’s Sales Data

The first step in planning for the upcoming season is to review the sales data from the previous year to determine which products sold well during the summer season; from there, you can plan to stock those products accordingly.

2. Offer Summer Promotions

Depending on your inventory, you may have the opportunity to attract customers through seasonal campaigns i.e., promotions on summer-related products such as swimwear, sunglasses, items for the beach, sunscreen and related cosmetics, camping and outdoor gear, outdoor sports equipment, garden furniture and equipment, seasonal home décor, and so on. Food retailers can do the same with promotions on popular summer items such as BBQ-related inventory, ice-cream, cold drinks, etc.

For any retail business that does not stock such items, it’s worth considering which segments may be more active during the summer and planning promotions that will attract them. For example, consider a region that gets an influx of tourists at this time of year; if there is an overlap between what those tourists are likely to be doing in the area and what your inventory has to offer, there may be an angle to use for promotion in that regard. It’s just a matter of discovering which segments may already have an interest in your products during the summer season and capitalizing on that.

Even if your brand does not currently stock items that are popular during summer, is there a way that such items could relate to what you already sell? Could you expand your inventory to include them?

Finally, if you sell items that are in-demand throughout the year but you experience reduced foot traffic in the summer, setting up promotions for online orders is another option.

Advertising all promotions through email marketing and social channels will be important because, if customers are not visiting stores in person so much, they won’t come across these promotions any other way.

3. Drive E-Commerce Sales

Above, we mentioned encouraging customers to order online if they are less likely to visit stores in person. Once they are online, here are some suggestions to keep them returning as well as bring in new customers:

  • Improve the online shopping experience: Make sure that your e-commerce platform is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and mobile-responsive. If you haven’t already, you can implement features such as live chat, product reviews, and personalized recommendations to enhance the experience and encourage customers to make purchases.
  • Focus on customer service: Ensure that your customer service teams are readily available to answer questions, resolve issues, and provide support to online shoppers. Again, implementing chatbots helps reduce response times and as well as your staff’s workload.
  • Offer free shipping and returns: Offering free shipping and returns during the summer months can help reduce the barrier to entry for online shoppers who are hesitant to pay for shipping or return fees.
  • International promotions: International retailers aren’t limited by the seasons. While it’s summer in Europe, setting up promotions on winter products for customers living in areas where it’s winter will help compensate for slower in-store traffic.

4. Analyze Weather Data

Depending on your location, there may be times during the summer when temperatures are more mild, or there may be unexpected rain or storms. These weather changes may drive customers back to their usual patterns, so it’s important to be prepared for possible surges and schedule adequate staff for those days – you will then be able to capitalize on the busier days within the season.

In addition, weather data can inform marketers of potential heatwaves, enabling the promotion of related products just in time. This type of agility is easier with online sales as promotions can be prepared in advance; when the forecast proves to be correct, customers will be informed at the click of a button.

5. Cross-Train Employees

To ensure employee productivity in retail, cross-train staff – this helps to make the most of the workforce when employees are off on holiday. Instead of being short-staffed, the respective departments will be able to transfer employees between them in order to cover all bases.

6. Focus on Other Business Activities

The holiday season is a good time to focus on other aspects of the business, such as stock takes and inventory management, staff training, and refurbishments. Aligning such activities with times of slower sales prevents the need to conduct them during the busy autumn and winter seasons when your staff need to be available to conduct their usual responsibilities.

The slow season is also a good time to implement projects such as improving stockroom organization or upgrading technology, whether that’s implementing a new POS system or workforce management solution.

It’s also a good idea to get ahead with planning for autumn during this time, reviewing sales data from the previous year, assessing inventory levels, projecting staff requirements, and planning promotions and events for the upcoming season.

7. Boost Retail Staff Productivity and Morale

When foot traffic slows, boredom will set in, especially for shop floor staff. Here are a few ways to keep them engaged and motivated:

  • Keep the workplace at the right temperature: Don’t overlook the obvious such as the air temperature in workspaces. In fact, some studies suggest that 22-24 °C is the optimum range for productivity. On the other hand, it depends on the type of tasks being done; some studies show that people perform complex tasks better in cooler temperatures while repetitive tasks are best reserved for warmer workspaces.
  • Incentives: Offer incentives such as bonuses or prizes for meeting sales goals or other performance metrics. Rewards can boost retail staff productivity and keep employees focused and motivated during the slowest of times.
  • Host team-building activities: Summer is a great time to plan team-building activities, such as company picnics, BBQs or other outings, helping to build camaraderie.
  • Provide opportunities for learning and development: Development opportunities is a vital component of ensuring engagement and employee productivity in retail, and summer is the perfect time to do it. Consider it an investment that will pay off once the busy season gets going.
  • Offer flexible scheduling: During the summer months, many employees may have extra family commitments. Offering flexible scheduling options, such as shortened work weeks or flexible hours can help employees balance their work and personal lives, and reduce stress and burnout.

How to Reduce Costs in the Slow Season

If things don’t go to plan and sales are slow, here are some ways to reduce your expenses:

  • Staffing: Review your sales reports and consider rostering less staff on quiet days. Also consider restricting your opening hours if it’s clear from your sales data that certain times of day are not profitable.
  • Supplier management: Review and negotiate with suppliers to establish better terms.
  • Reduce inventory: Reduce your inventory levels in order to lower holding costs. This can be achieved by slowing down or delaying the procurement of new stock, as well as avoiding stocking items that are not selling well given the season.
  • Focus on profitable products: As alluded to above, focus on selling products that have a higher margin during the summer.
  • Use technology: Technology can streamline your operations and reduce costs. For example, inventory management software can help to reduce holding costs while workforce management software can reduce labor costs by up to 10%.

In Summary

Amidst a drop in foot traffic and employees taking time off, the challenge of maintaining retail productivity emerges. However, there are plenty of strategies to implement that can help to boost those summer sales figures.

Reviewing the previous summer’s sales data is a good place to start in order to determine which products are likely to sell best. Sufficient stock can then be held and items that did not sell well can be ordered in smaller quantities.

Other suggestions included offering seasonal promotions, driving online sales, and keeping a close eye on weather data to ride the wave of related sales trends, and to optimize staff levels in case of unexpected rainy days where customers are more likely to shop in-store. Cross-training employees helps maintain retail staff productivity so that when employees are on holiday, there is always someone available to fill their shoes.

Finally, organizations can use the summer months to focus on other important projects, such as refurbishments and staff training. And remember to boost morale for your shop floor staff who may get bored due to a lack of customers.

MANUS is Europe’s most experienced enterprise workforce management software provider. To discover how we can revolutionize your WFM processes and cut labor costs by 7 – 10%, contact us today to book a demo.

How to Motivate Gen Z Employees on the Shop Floor

As Generation Z enters the workforce in increasing numbers, employers are faced with a novel challenge when it comes to motivating and engage this unique generation – a generation with different expectations to their predecessors.

Generation Z – or “Gen Z” – is a cohort that values authenticity, flexibility, and purpose in their work – and they expect their employers to do the same. Employers that cannot provide this will have a hard time retaining retail staff in the future.

With these values in mind, what motivates Gen Z in the workplace? This article attempts to answer this question – we’ll explore practical strategies that retail managers can use to motivate these employees on the shop floor in order to foster a more engaged, productive, and satisfied workforce.

Who Are Gen Z?

Gen Z is the part of the population born between 1997 and 2012. They are the newest generation to enter the workforce and are known for their tech-savviness, entrepreneurial spirit, and desire for work-life balance. They are also the most diverse generation.

Another defining characteristic of Gen Z is their desire for authenticity. They want to work for companies that are transparent, ethical, and socially responsible. They value diversity and inclusion, and they expect their employers to prioritize these values as well.

In addition, they want their work to have a purpose beyond just making a living – they want to feel like they are making a difference in the world and/or pursuing a meaningful career.

Challenges in Motivating Gen Z Employees

Motivating Gen Z employees can be challenging for several reasons.

  • They are more likely to job-hop than previous generations and may not be as committed to their current job as their millennial and boomer colleagues.
  • Salary is important to this generation – but what motivates Gen Z in the workplace more than that? Work-life balance. For many members of this generation, it’s a priority, which means that traditional incentives like promotions and salary increases may not be as effective. In fact, Deloitte’s ‘Welcome to Generation Z’ report states that while salary is still important for this cohort, it is less important to them than for any other generation. On the other hand, they have come to expect employers to offer perks and benefits – including flexible working arrangements.
  • Their expectation for meaningful work combined with shorter attention spans may also cause them to lose interest in their work faster than those of previous generations. Gen Z grew up with smartphones and social media applications such as TikTok, which encourage the fast consumption of bitesize pieces of information as well as constant stimulation and instant gratification. As a result, they may get bored easily if their work is not engaging.
  • The report by Deloitte also discusses that, despite the stereotypes that have already emerged about Gen Z, these individuals refuse to be pigeonholed and expect a degree of personalization in their working lives.

With these challenges in mind, let’s find out how to motivate Gen Z employees and reduce churn.

How to Motivate Gen Z Employees: Strategies

Training and Development Opportunities

As mentioned, Gen Z are motivated by work that has a purpose beyond just making money. Employers can therefore create meaningful opportunities, and part of that is providing training and development that help them to excel in their role and prepare them for the future.

Provide Opportunities that Align with Their Values
One approach to training and development is to provide opportunities that align with the interests and values of Gen Z. This may seem difficult when their role involves repetitive tasks, but it’s possible.

For example, if an employee is passionate about sustainability, they may be more motivated if they are given opportunities to learn about eco-friendly products and production processes the company uses. In turn, this knowledge may provide them with a better basis for discussing such issues with customers, further promoting the brand’s reputation as a sustainable business.

Other opportunities could involve participating in recycling initiatives or charitable activities associated with the company, as well as being connected with opportunities to volunteer in their community.

Showing that the company cares about issues that are important to Gen Z can help to create a sense of purpose and meaning in their work. Employees are then no longer just stacking shelves or providing point-of-sale service – they are contributing to something meaningful.

It’s also important to remind employees why their work matters. Even the most straightforward or repetitive of roles makes a difference – a supermarket employee, for example, is ensuring food gets to the table of hundreds of thousands of local residents. Reminding them about this often will increase morale.

Offer Non-Linear Career Paths
Gen Z is not content with climbing the ladder in a linear way, so it’s important to offer shop floor staff cross-departmental opportunities. Someone that starts out on the shop floor many not be interested in becoming a department or branch manager, and they might not be interested in sales either. However, they may be well-suited to operations.

Therefore, to keep shop floor staff motivated in their current roles as well as retain them for the future, they need to see that their employer honors the possibility that they may change their minds or take the road less travelled.

In addition, staff should be offered training opportunities that allow them to develop a broad range of skills that will apply to different roles.

Provide Mentoring and Coaching
Another consideration when it comes to development is to provide mentorship or coaching. Staff may appreciate having a more experienced colleague to turn to for guidance and support, and this may help them feel more valued by the company.

Offer Flexible Scheduling

Gen Z employees value flexibility in their work schedules and they have come to expect it. The retail industry comes with unsociable hours at times, with employees having to work weekends and in some cases, evenings. It is much more engaging to rotate the timetable so that it is not always the same people working at the weekend.

Even having one out of four weekends free each month could make the world of difference to an employee and prevent them from looking elsewhere for opportunities that provide them with better work-life balance.

Our solution includes an Employee Self-Service app which lets staff plan and change shifts to their liking.

Use Technology

Gen Z are comfortable with the latest technologies and are used to having it at their fingertips to make life easier. As a result, they appreciate tools like mobile apps that make it easier to do their jobs. One example is the use of a mobile app to find important information and resources related to their role.

Technology may also be used to deliver training in the form of videos, podcasts, or interactive courses that include gamification elements.

Another use of a mobile app could be to create a performance tracking and feedback system that incentivizes staff through rewards. Again, gamification may be used here to make things more fun and interactive, such as a points system where staff are rewarded for completing certain tasks or hitting certain milestones or sales targets.

You can also make their lives easier using technology such as our workforce management software – MANUS WFM. It lets staff easily track time and request vacation – all with a modern, sleek user interface.

Create a Positive Work Culture

Creating a positive work culture is an important part of getting Gen Z buy-in. This means providing opportunities for feedback and collaboration, ensuring diversity and inclusion, and creating a sense of community and belonging. Again, Gen Z employees want to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, and a positive work culture can help foster that sense of connection.

Wellbeing initiatives also come into play here, including support for mental health and general wellbeing, the provision of healthy meals, and so on. However, it also includes anti-bullying policies and measures that minimize toxic social dynamics and management styles (speaking of which, micromanagement will not go down well with Gen Z as it communicates mistrust and a lack of confidence in an employee’s ability to perform – which is not popular among a generation that highly values authenticity and transparency).

The Importance of Communication in Creating a Positive Work Culture
Transparency and open communication is key to ensuring an environment in which employees are content and, therefore, able to perform at their best. All employees should feel comfortable in voicing concerns, suggestions, and other feedback.

While it may not be easy to ensure that all employees have a voice in a large organization, implementing the processes and systems to support that will make all the difference in terms of culture. After all, who wouldn’t want to work in a company that makes them feel like equals/liked valued contributors?

Neurodiversity
The often-overlooked area of neurodiversity needs consideration by any large organization that wants to promote a positive workplace.  As Generation Z has grown up, general awareness about Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Autistic spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other neurological differences has grown remarkably. Regardless, many organizations fail to train their staff about such topics.

With up to 20% of the population being neurodiverse – and with diagnoses increasing – it is important for employers to recognize not only their required accommodations, but how they bring competitive advantage to the workforce.

While the law in many regions already requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for such employees, that does not mean that employers truly understand their needs. It is therefore beneficial to train management so that such individuals can be well-understood.

Again, it comes down to flexibility – in working arrangements as well as management styles – and open communication is the key ensuring nobody has to suffer in silence with difficult working conditions.

Give Feedback and Recognition

Gen Z value not only the opportunity to give feedback, but to receive it as well. Organizations should therefore seek to provide regular feedback, including one-to-one reviews.

Regular praise is also important – a “well done” or “thanks for doing such a great job today” makes a huge difference. Because what motivates Gen Z in the workplace more than knowing their work has meaning and value? Not much. They want to know how they are performing in their roles; they want to feel like their opinions and ideas are valued; and they want to know that their work is making a difference.

In Summary

The entrance of Gen Z to the workforce presents novel challenges. This generation is unique and has higher expectations from their employers than their predecessors – expectations about flexibility, work-life balance, and the opportunity for fulfilment – expectations of being treated like a human being whose needs are respected. In addition, their values are important to them and they seek employers who demonstrate social responsibility.

Many organizations are already taking steps in the right direction when discovering how to motivate Gen Z employees, such as implementing new learning technologies and offering more flexible working arrangements. Other steps to take include offering professional development opportunities including non-linear career paths (and the training to support them), and the creative use of technology.

Manus Software Europe/Softbrick B.V. are Europe’s favorite provider of enterprise workforce management software. If you’re looking to improve your WFM processes including payroll and attendance management, contact us to book a demo.

How to Encourage Workforce Management Adoption in Your Organization

Workforce management is an essential aspect of any organization but without successful employee adoption, its full benefits will not be realized. There are several reasons that employees may resist change, including a lack of incentive as well as fear of new technology threatening their jobs.

To overcome these obstacles when implementing new workforce software or processes, it’s helpful to have a plan in place to encourage employees to get on board. This article provides some suggestions for how to do that, so you can reap the rewards that the best workforce management software has to offer throughout the entire employee lifecycle.

What Are the Barriers to Adopting New Workforce Management Solutions and Processes?

Resistance to Change

Employees may be resistant to change, especially if they are comfortable with the current way of doing things. Additionally, they may feel overwhelmed by new systems or processes. After all, so much change has occurred over the last couple of years due to the pandemic that the thought of any more disruption may cause some individuals to disengage.

Fear of Job Replacement

Another cause of resistance is the fear of AI potentially automating their jobs. While there are certain jobs that are likely to be replaced in the coming years, the majority of your workers will not be affected. Their roles may change, but they won’t become obsolete.

While we know this, your workers may not – so it could be worth addressing during any training sessions held when you implement new technology.

In fact, a Voice of the Workplace in Europe report by Deloitte shows that 65% of respondents said that the flexibility to change tasks or working environment was important or very important to feeling motivated/happy – so, this could in fact be a motivating factor for adoption.

Perceived Indifference to Staff Needs

Another issue is that many staff feel that their needs are not addressed when new technology is implemented.

An international study by PWC that included participants in the UK and Germany showed that, while 90% of C-suite executives said their company paid attention to employee needs in this scenario, only 53% of staff agreed.

Engage employees in the process, gather their perspectives and feedback, and take their needs into account when making decisions about change.

Lack of trust

If employees do not trust their managers or the organisation, they may be hesitant to adopt a new system. They may feel that the new system is being implemented for the benefit of management rather than for the benefit of employees.

Communication barriers

If there is a language or cultural barrier between employees and management, it may be difficult to effectively communicate the benefits of the new system. This can result in a lack of understanding and increased resistance.

Organisational culture

Some organisations may have a culture that is resistant to change or innovation. This can make it challenging to implement a new system that is perceived as a departure from the status quo.

Methods to Improve Adoption of Enterprise Workforce Management Software

Conduct an Initial Survey

Before launching any new system, it’s beneficial to conduct a survey so that employees can share their perspectives on it. This will provide insights into the barriers to change among your particular workforce. From there, you can use appropriate methods to address the situation.

Communicate the Benefits of Workforce Management Software

As keen as any executive or manager may be to implement new systems because they’re aware of the benefits, it’s unlikely that most staff will share that enthusiasm. It’s therefore important to communicate the benefits of any new system to employees.

However, we’re not talking about the benefits the company will gain. It’s not likely that your shop floor staff are interested in the company’s financial success – at least not beyond knowing their job is secure. It’s therefore more important to communicate how the software will benefit them.

How will it make their lives easier? It will make it easier for them to request vacation time and have it approved. It will make payroll and compensation management more efficient, ensuring they are paid correctly and on time every month. Employee scheduling features will make rosters more organized. Think from their perspective and you’ll find many benefits to discuss.

Overcoming Reluctance

The principle above can also be used to reframe the aspects of a new WFM system that employees may not like. For example, they may feel resentful about having to use fingerprint scans to clock in if that was not part of your former attendance tracking process. While many employees do commit time fraud, the remaining honest employees may resent the feeling of mistrust that comes with such monitoring.

To overcome these types of issues, reframe them in a positive way. For example, let them know that the new system accurately tracks their hours to ensure they are paid correctly and on time every month, with no delays caused by any disputes.

Another step to take is to identify staff that are particularly skeptical, as this may have a negative impact on those who would otherwise be willing to implement new systems and processes. Make a point of having one to one conversations with them about their concerns, reassure them, and again, remind them of what’s in it for them.

Discuss the Benefits for Senior Staff

If it’s senior staff that need convincing, give examples of how workforce management has improved operations in other organizations. Back up your claims in with data to show the impact of workforce management; this can include data on performance management, efficiency, cost savings and other key performance indicators. (Our total workforce management system is proven to reduce labor costs by 3% to 7%.)

Also, let them know ahead of time that you’re investigating a new system and ask for their perspectives on the matter. Explain how it supports business objectives and the objectives of their individual departments. Highlight the way it will improve the efficiency of their working days.

Involve Employees in the Process

Another way to encourage adoption is to involve employees in the process, and this can be done by soliciting feedback and input on new systems and processes. As mentioned, when employees feel like their opinions are valued and that they have a say in the direction the company is going, they are more likely to be invested in its success. Overall employee engagement will likely improve as well.

Remove the Alternatives

If employees have no option but to use the new workforce management solution, then they will have no choice but to use it. If you’ve just transitioned away from paper-based vacation requests or timesheets, for example, let staff know that this documentation can no longer be accepted. They’ll soon be willing to get on-board with digitization if it’s the only way for them to get time off or get paid.

Appoint a Champion or Dedicated Team

Having an individual or a team that is responsible for encouraging adoption will help set the tone for other staff, making it easier for them to follow suit. Large organizations may decide to appoint a team for each department; these individuals may also be assigned the task of communicating the benefits, as discussed above.

As well as encouraging other employees to use the system, these early users can be a helpful source of feedback during the transition stage.

Send Regular Reminders to Inactive Accounts

If your system requires users to set up or activate accounts but your staff aren’t doing it, send reminders as often as needed to ensure they take the necessary action. Eventually, they will get tired of the notifications and will comply just to make them stop.

We’re not talking about spamming or harassing them with numerous emails per day, but anywhere from once per day to once per week will encourage them.

Another way to incentivize them would be to hold a competition, where the team or department with the most activations within a specified period of time wins a prize of some sort.

Make the Transition Gradual

This will not always be an option, especially when implementing new software. However, if you are making smaller adjustments to your WFM processes, phasing them in step by step allows employees to adjust gradually and become comfortable with new processes before moving on to the next change.

Provide Training and Support

When implementing new software, provide thorough training and support to employees. This can include hands-on training sessions, online tutorials, or Q&A sessions for any staff that are unsure about certain features of your workforce management system. It’s also helpful to provide ongoing help desk support to employees in case they have questions and need assistance.

When onboarding new staff, make sure the new systems and/or processes are part of their training. Don’t let them learn on the job from staff who may be reluctant to use the new system or do not have a clear understanding of its functionality.

Ensure new staff only know the new ways of doing things – and not the old processes that you want to leave behind.

Keep Training Simple

Make sure any training you implement is easy to follow and does not involve a lot of technical jargon. Your staff should not need to consult any user manuals in order to understand a system’s functionality – and if they do, it may be a sign that you’re not using the right workforce management software. (MANUS WFM is user-friendly and has a clean and intuitive user interface design.)

Continuously Evaluate and Improve

Finally, it’s essential to continuously evaluate and improve your workforce management plan. Collect feedback from all relevant stakeholders, analyze the data, identify areas for improvement, and refine your processes and systems accordingly. By doing so, you can ensure that your workforce management plan remains relevant, effective, and sustainable.

In Summary

Having a plan to encourage adoption is important for the success of any new workforce management systems or processes. While some staff may be reluctant to embrace change, there are many ways to make it easier for them. These include communicating how the software makes their jobs easier and appointing designated individuals to advocate for the new software. You can also remove the alternatives, giving them no option but to get on the bandwagon.

In addition, conduct thorough training in different formats for different types of learners, and have someone available to provide ongoing support.

One of the best ways to ensure WFM adoption is to select an easy to use system. MANUS WFM provides state-of-the-art WFM solutions throughout Europe and beyond, helping large, multi-national organizations to optimize their workforce and payroll processes.

Our systems are cloud-based for easy implementation and integration with other systems – which is another way WFM can make your people’s day-to-day tasks easier. Contact us today to arrange a demo and see how your WFM processes can transform.