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State of Retail Human Capital Management: Cloud, Compliance, and Collaboration

By  John Orr, SVP of Retail, Ceridian

Talking to peers about the challenges – and opportunities – they face with workforce management (WFM) is useful, and quantitative research can deepen these insights.  That’s why Ceridian collaborated with Innovative Retail Technologies to survey more than 150 retail workforce managers to better understand their most important HCM (inclusive of WFM) initiatives over the past year.

There are three high level insights I want to share from this research; I’ll take a deeper dive into the results in future posts.

  1. Adoption levels. I wasn’t surprised to find that retailers are increasingly turning to cloud-based WFM applications for help with compliance and employee engagement. With all of the dialogue around the benefits of SaaS applications, this makes sense. What is surprising is that the adoption is still lower than in other industries — 61 percent of merchants report that the cloud is delivering less than 20 percent of their enterprise software applications. However, as merchant size grows, so does the use of cloud-based applications: among merchants with 500 or more stores nearly 44 percent of executives report that 41 percent or more of their enterprise applications are currently cloud-based, and this figure grows to 47 percent among those with more than 1,000 stores.
  2. Compliance confidence. Since retailers often seek SaaS solutions to maintain, and in some cases achieve, compliance with federal and local labor laws and internal work rules, it’s troubling that just 21 percent of merchants with fewer than 500 stores said they are “extremely” confident that their companies are ACA-compliant across HR, payroll, benefits enrollment, time records, and workforce schedules. As noted, smaller merchants aren’t adopting cloud-based applications at the same rate as their larger peers and are therefore unable to reap the valuable compliance support and peace-of-mind. Larger retailers seem to have made greater investment in ensuring the compliance and security of their HR data, as reflected by the 40 percent responding they are extremely confident that their company’s WFM systems maintain compliance.
  3. Employee engagement. Cloud-based WFM applications are also cited as enablers of employee engagement. However, 35 percent of survey respondents consider “creating an in-store experience that’s as engaging as the consumer’s online/digital experience” to be a top employee engagement challenge. While an overwhelming percentage of retailers (84 percent) claim their company considers the employee experience to be as important as the customer experience, only 35 percent report that they currently provide employee self-service. Providing self-service options for balancing work-life (time-off, scheduling and swapping shifts, etc.) is not only an opportunity for improving productivity, it is also a big boost for engagement. Unfortunately, 39 percent of merchants that offer employee self-service tools only make them available to associates in stores or back offices – but not the mobile access that would further increase adoption and satisfaction. The survey also revealed a lack of performance-based scheduling adoption and integrated communication via mobile devices. Clearly, there is a huge opportunity for WFM improvement via modern HCM solutions.

For a high level look at key findings from the survey, you can access the infographic.

As we stand on the threshold for 2017, I’m optimistic that some of these trends will positively accelerate for the benefit of associates, retailers and ultimately the customers they serve. Leading up to the National Retail Federation‘s Big Show next week in NYC, I’ll share more thoughts based on this survey.

John Orr

 

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

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