Investing in a workforce management (WFM) solution can have a dynamic effect on a company’s labor spend, employee satisfaction, and long-term growth – but while the global benefits are easy to list, some managers still struggle to get their WFM initiatives approved by corporate. Whether you’re proposing your organization’s first system, or a switch to a new provider, advocating any change to core business processes isn’t always easy.
From our experience, a successful WFM plan starts by highlighting key points that make your goals more relatable from a procedural and financial standpoint. The real world benefits of a solution are easier to justify when the people deciding its fate understand just how many areas of your business this technology can impact.
Tip #1: When a WFM makes your role easier, it helps the entire company
Company leaders need to understand the difference between the established processes and how the new WFM tools will help your staff better perform their jobs and create efficiency beyond what the currently-accepted methods allow for. Are your managers having to cross-reference multiple documents that list associate availability, time off requests, and open shifts in order to create each day’s schedule? Let alone make one that is fairly balanced and maintains service standards?
A WFM system hosts all of that information in one place, automatically places associates in shifts that honor their exceptions, and makes schedules easily accessible online. What might have taken an entire day to plan with physical or electronic spreadsheets can now be completed in a little over an hour. A WFM dashboard can also help address any unforeseen issues during the week, allowing management to alter schedules to maintain adequate coverage, stay in compliance, and minimize overtime. It all comes down to a more efficient use of hours for every employee, which works to improve the customer experience.
Tip #2: WFM optimization impacts service and brand loyalty
Being able to execute efficient schedules in a short amount of time allows managers to spend more of their day on the retail floor supporting associates, interacting with customers, and maintaining overall store quality. Having their expertise tied up in the back room handling administrative processes for hours a day is a waste, especially with the amount of money being paid for them to be there. The more time they can be assisting with sales and service, the better.
There is also a tangible difference when a retailer’s workforce is optimized and engaged through a WFM system. Forecasting functions make sure that the right number of associates are always available to match the predicted customer volume, leading to higher conversion rates. Better employee engagement through self-service functions also make an impression on sales. Our own EmpowerWFM supports this by making company resources and personal data easy to access from any mobile device, which instills a greater feeling of ownership over responsibilities and compensation. Happier associates are more loyal, and therefore provide better customer service and close more deals.
Tip #3: The return on investment is quick, and continues to pay you back
The average return on investment for a WFM system is around 12 months, which means that in only a year after you read this, your initiative will have already paid for itself. Not only that, but the impact on schedule optimization, productivity, and labor spend will continue to provide measurable savings that your company can invest in future business strategies.
You can also include the money saved through higher retention rates, as WFM optimization goes a long way in generating true engagement for current employees. This reduces the costs associated with hiring and onboarding new associates due to turnover, thanks to a happier workforce.
Identifying these ROI areas, and the calculations specific to your company, are crucial to leading your WFM charge. This data has to be accurate and actionable, showing how the solution will benefit processes and personnel well beyond regular store operations. The goal is to have workforce management recognized as a genuine solution, not just a product with features, when you have finished building your case for implementation.