Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

How a holistic HCM solution turned Aéropostale’s employees into brand ambassadors

By John Orr, SVP of Retail at Ceridian. 

Whether you’re running the smallest of small businesses or a large multinational corporation, your goals in human capital management are in essence the same – you want to build a holistic approach that maximizes your talent in every way possible. That means your employees are healthy, they’re engaged and they’re working productively, and omni-channel customer service quality levels are being met or exceeded.

For some larger companies, it can be tricky to succeed in every aspect of this goal. The difficulties only mount higher when you realize you’re working with a wide variety of employees who span multiple generations and, thus, multiple goals, interests, and styles of doing work.

Rawle Boatswain, Director of Payroll at Aéropostale, recently shared the complexities and opportunities that his organization faced during a Ceridian webcast. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, 38% of the workforce was boomers, 32% belonged to Generation X and 25% millennials. At Aéropostale however, while Generation X and Boomers dominate the corporate level, the footprint of millennials on the store floor is 94%.

Research shows that millennials (or Gen Y, born between 1981-2000) hold an ambitious and optimistic outlook on life, enjoy independence and value technology that allows them to multitask. “When we were looking at an HCM system, we realized we needed a partnership that had not only a great application, but was capable of meeting the demands of the generation, the business and culture” said Rawle during the webcast.

In all organizations, employee engagement is a function of the culture, environment, and systems. Fortunately, Aéropostale found success by using a single holistic solution – Dayforce HCM. This choice made it easier for the company not only to manage its staff effectively, but also in the long run to reinforce  its commitment and value of store associates being role models and brand ambassadors.

Here’s how it went down.

Better employee engagement
The first goal of any human capital management solution is making it easier to engage and communicate with employees. Communication is important for scheduling shifts, coordinating payroll and benefits and numerous other uses. The best solutions make it easy to communicate with people even when they’re on the go – which is why Aéropostale selected a tool with mobile capabilities. According to Rawle, in a 3 week period Aéropostale saw over 778,000 logins to the Dayforce application and approximately 43% of associates accessed the app via a mobile device. This Employee Self-Service translates to higher engagement as Dayforce HCM allows employees and managers to see their schedule, ensure predictability and fairness, make time-off requests, reference their earnings statement, and more.

Strong customer service
Creating a positive associate/customer experience begins with the systems the employee interacts with every day, which play an important role in their perception of the work experience. According to Integrated Solutions for Retail, 61% of retailers have yet to implement Employee Self-Service, even though associates who use self-service are happier and more likely to engage. By providing employees with a system that satisfies and engages, Aéropostale has found this has a direct impact on the way associates serve customers and overall productivity.

Ultimately, brand ambassadorship
The many myths that persist about today’s teens are not positive ones. It is said that they have no work ethic, no respect for authority and do not want to put in the hours to get ahead. What Rawle found at Aéropostale was very different. In reality, he found that their store associates were good students, active in school and their communities, outgoing and polite, and truly exemplified Aéropostale’s values. “Using the Dayforce HCM application has allowed us to further embrace our culture of a work-life balance atmosphere” said Rawle. That’s what a holistic HCM approach does – it ensures long-term happiness for employees and their managers, and ultimately customers.

To learn more about how Aéropostale partners with Ceridian to manage their young workforce, take a look at this case study.

John Orr

John Orr is the SVP of Retail at Ceridian. Follow him on Twitter at @John_Orr. 

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