The 2020 Black Friday shopping season will be unlike any we have seen before due to the ongoing public health and safety efforts around the novel coronavirus. The CDC has highlighted visiting crowded stores as a high-risk activity. Major retailers are already announcing big changes to planned promotions to provide safer experiences for customers and employees alike. Some of the most helpful operational changes can be achieved through the native capabilities of workforce management solutions you already use and trust. Here are a few ways store operators can use workforce management strategies and solutions to better protect store employees and their customers’ health.
Rethink Schedules and Staffing
As we enter the usual timeline for seasonal hires, we expect the demand for these seasonal workers to be similar when compared to previous years. Still, their roles and daily distribution may change.
With the growth of online ordering and contactless pickup or delivery, consider opportunities to concentrate particular fulfillment efforts before opening or after closing. Consider also allowing employees the ability to swap shifts to suit their schedule to their preferences and needs, early or late, especially if expanding hours outside of regular store hours. Many solutions can enable coworkers to swap with automatic oversight for compliance (making sure shifts stay covered while not adding to the manager's requests).
Are there also roles that more susceptible employees (such as those who are also family caregivers) can stake first claims so they can limit their exposure? How can your scheduling practices adapt to new demands and expedite individual changes as needed to keep stores running safely and smoothly?
Rethink Employee Communications
Beyond offering the self-service shift swaps mentioned above, workforce management solutions can also help streamline administrative communications, including remote or mobile access to employee benefits and accruals and AI automated time-off approvals. Employees may also find it helpful to manage their communication preferences with WFM updates via email, SMS, or mobile notification if workplace apps are utilized.
Organizations can even issue remote, centralized task updates across one or many storefronts directly to employee/workplace devices—and monitor progress in real-time—instead of relying on requests being delivered via already cluttered workplace inboxes.
Rethink Retail Manager Responsibilities
Many of the ideas teased above serve an even greater purpose of lifting tedious tasks off of employee managers' backs. These key contributors will be especially crucial for overcoming new challenges, mainly by engaging employees directly and providing greater personal support. Seasonal and regular employees will face new pressures as stores evolve to meet new realities. Their leaders will be the most significant influence on how strongly the organization comes together to make the season a safe success.
Eager to engage additional workforce management features that can support your workplace health and safety measures during the holiday shopping rush? Schedule a consultation with one of our retail specialists today!