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
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
As well as the benefits discussed above, here are several more benefits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 the ManusPlus WFM CloudSuite is the right workforce management software for your organization, today to book a demo.