Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

Why a Comprehensive HCM Approach can Improve Hourly Staff’s Work/Life Balance

retailBy  John Orr, SVP of Retail, Ceridian

As retailers improve the balance between their business’ demands and the needs and convenience of staff, employees’ engagement, happiness and productivity increase. These are the left and right hands of any retail operation. And few aspects of the hourly employee’s experience yield greater benefits than the improvement of scheduling, and the self-service that feeds it—the backbone of hourly employees’ work–life balance. Happier employees will share that happiness wherever they interact with customers. The experience for both gets better as employees’ jobs complement the rest of their lives. Retention, even in high-turnover industries, gets better, too.

Research proves all of this, yet legacy technology for human capital management often gets in the way—and hurts employer brands. Older, on-premise HCM systems are complex. They lack cohesion. Incapable of navigating the complexities within which today’s retailers operate, they impede employers’ efforts to provide predictable schedules. Cloud-based HCM technologies are more advanced in providing engaging, interactive solutions. To the benefit of customers, companies can improve employer–employee relationships.

Unpredictable Hours Sabotage Efforts to Create Engaging Work Environments

Erratic scheduling can demoralize staff, detract from customers’ experience, and do damage even to employers known for treating their workforce well. “Clopening,” for instance—whereby employees must open a store the next morning after closing the previous evening—can erode goodwill fast. So does any other scheduling practice that disrupts employees’ work–life balance. Retention decreases. Engagement plummets. Recruiting suffers. The dynamic plays out in any industry invested heavily in customer-facing hourly staff.

Research Says Floor Staff Treated Well Are More Productive and Stay Longer

Nearly 90 percent of Americans believe work–life balance is a problem, according to a 2012 survey by the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM), and bad scheduling practices are not helping. A Gallup-conducted meta-analysis from last year shows companies operating in the top-quartile in terms of employee engagement posting a median profitability 22 percent higher than those operating in the bottom quartile. For these same companies, 21 percent report higher employee productivity and, in high-turnover industries, 25 percent better retention. Logically, staff’s work–life balance is probably better at these companies.

Better designed HCM Solutions = Necessary Ingredient

Again, many companies have outdated HCM systems. The limited level of interaction is one culprit. It hinders employers’ ability to optimize scheduling and achieve operational excellence. Today’s environment demands interaction. A holistic, single solution for HCM technology must provide visibility into the work employees have performed and the work that is planned. Employees come to loathe the unpredictability of systems that lack all this. Dispirited associates do not get the sense of caring from their employer and will eventually quit. While they stay, they are often unhappy. The customer’s experience declines. Profits follow.

Organizations that embrace innovations from current day HCM solutions, however, will have the flexibility required to run a dynamic retail operation, meet the demands of customer service, and accommodate the skills and desires of employees. A commitment to employee engagement and work–life balance demands a commitment to investing in the systems and environments that support it. Scheduling becomes fair, equitable and predictable. Employees’ day-to-day work life gets better. Job satisfaction increases. So does productivity, engagement and loyalty. Customers notice.

This blog was originally posted on Business 2 Community.

John Orr


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

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