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Clients & Partners AU    |   

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals. It’s how far staff are willing to go to fulfill the customer promise. For Mikey Ellis, Cultural Strategist at Pragmatic Thinking, it’s also a relationship. “Like any relationship, there are there are boundaries, expectations, and rules of engagement. So that needs to be negotiated and agreed upon, and then each party held to account within that organization,” he explains. Mikey, who heads up Pragmatic Thinking’s presence in Melbourne, knows what it’s like to build employee engagement from the ground up. “As you know, with the rise of startups and with technology enabling people and companies to challenge the norms and the more conventional ways of working, we get to now decide how we want to work,” he says. Companies today have an increased awareness around culture. There is a focus on empowering people to use their skills and talents towards a mission. And more organisations are asking, how do we do it? That’s where a Cultural Strategist like Mikey comes in. Learn more about how he tackles work culture issues and presents clear, workable solutions below! Start with defining employee engagement “A good place to start when it comes to engagement,” he says, “is defining what it means for you as an organisation.” Most organisations have a written set of values displayed in their office. Employees are informed of these values during the onboarding process. But they can’t remain on the wall or in the employee handbook. \"It is the responsibility and obligation of leaders to embody those values and to demonstrate them. It\'s not to say that it\'s not also the responsibility of an employee as well. Engagement is a relationship and both parties must take responsibility for their role,” he emphasises. Employee engagement, then, differs for every company. For a food business, it could mean frontline staff serve customers with a smile even during the busiest hours. For a tech company, it could mean that everyone keeps abreast of industry trends without being asked. It depends on the business, the industry, and the values that they want each employee to embody. It’s easier said than done. Employers need to lead the charge by, first, being very clear about what it means to be an engaged employee. Then they need to build the environment to reflect it. Read more: Employee Engagement – A Matter of Care Overcome resistance to change “If values are embedded into the processes, routines, and expectations, [the workplace] becomes a really great place to be. And it is difficult to do because it\'s going to for a lot of people it\'s going to require some personal accountability. It\'s going to require some behavioural change,” Mikey observes. When working on improving employee engagement, there may be some uncomfortable conversations that employer and employee need to have. All parties need to acknowledge where they have failed before they can correct it. It is a tough process, but it needs to be done. Employees will be less resistant to change if employers keep in mind that the bottom line is a sense of belonging. “People just want to feel like they belong. They want to feel like they\'re contributing to something. It doesn\'t take that much for an employer, leader, [or] manager to do that,” he explains. There will be speed bumps along the way, but when the leaders of the organisation embody the change they want to see they make it easy for others to follow suit. Employees want to work with businesses, not for them. If an employer can show that they care about individual and collective contributions, engagement increases. Read more: How to Achieve Culture by Design with Career Culture Lab’s Amanda Lutvey Measure engagement with the right tools Many employers ask for feedback on how engaged employees are. While that’s important, Mikey believes that employers also need to take a step back and think about the kind of questions they ask. “There are some great software and tools out there to measure engagement -- employee satisfaction, physical and mental health and well-being throughout the day. Poll surveys, you know, they’re great. But the key is to be really clear about what it is you\'re measuring and whether that aligns to the outcome that you\'re ultimately working towards.” For him, like any measurement tool, it\'s only as good as how you use it. If there are issues within the workplace, Mikey suggests looking at how much the company invests in culture. “You\'re probably better off for measuring the input. What are you doing to bring about the kind of culture that you want, as opposed to measuring this amorphous engagement concept?” he asks. As a Culture Strategist, he takes a pragmatic approach. He looks at antecedents to behaviour like structures and values, and how they all align. He shares, “We create not only the strategy but also the capabilities within key people in the organisation to achieve the kind of culture that they’re wanting to build.” Read more: Don’t Quit! 3 Ways to Retain your Employees in 2019 Never stop growing the business Finally, the best way to maintain employee engagement is to never stop growing the business with people in mind. Businesses that are productive, efficient, and forward-thinking provides more opportunities for people to grow with them. They need to invest in the right tools to make sure that work flows as smoothly as possible. “If we want to keep good people and we want to grow with people, we\'ve got to help them do it,” Mikey elaborates. “We need to achieve what it is that they want to achieve and so it\'s a win-win: The company benefits, the individual grows and learns, and collectively it\'s a great outcome.”. Growth is, by far, one of the most significant drivers of engagement in an organisation. A robust environment where people feel like they belong and can contribute encourages them to go the extra mile to fulfill the customer promise. “If you\'re not [growing], then you\'re just going to lose people. And if you keep them, you\'re just not going to be getting the best out of them. They’re not going to be happy because they\'re not growing.” In the end, what it comes down to is the willingness of every business to listen to employees, empower its managers, lead by example, and make sure that individuals grow alongside the business. Mikey Ellis will be talking about how to revolutionise employee engagement at the Workforce Success Conference 2019 on 26 July in Brisbane Australia. Get your tickets here!

Revolutionising Employee Engagement with Pragmatic Thinking’s Mikey Ellis

24 April 2019

Clients & Partners AU    |   

“I\'m passionate about developing extraordinary places to work because we spend a lot of time at work and in a number of organisations, managers just really don\'t know how to design a culture,” says Amanda Lutvey, founder of Career Culture Lab. For the past twenty years, Amanda has worked with leaders and managers to transform their workplace cultures. With experience in a diverse range of industries, she specialises in providing solutions to a host of cultural issues. Whether it’s about communication, trust, or teamwork, she believes in focusing on people. But with so many things to consider, how do you get started on a people-focused workplace?For Amanda, every company has a culture whether they focus on it or not. That makes the difference between culture by default, and culture by design. “Culture by default is when you just let things happen,” explains Amanda. Often, there are unwritten ground rules that create cultural problems below the surface. These problems will eventually reach a tipping point, and by then it will require monumental resources to resolve. A way to avoid this is creating culture by design: a culture plan that integrates company vision and everyday life. Check out Amanda’s five tips to achieving culture by design below!1. Go back to the company vision\"Going back to the vision of the organisation is where it all starts. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.\"When creating a plan for any company, Amanda doesn’t have to look far. “I’m very much about tailoring solutions to the vision of the organisation,” she says. Going back to the vision of the organisation is where it all starts. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Different challenges of organisations across industries require different solutions. And there are plenty of misconceptions out there. “A lot of people think it\'s just about having a ping pong table, bean bags, an open plan office, or having a groovy work environment,” she remarks. “It\'s a great environment, but you need to walk the talk.”For Amanda, walking the talk means asking tough questions. Why are we here? What are our values? Answering these questions allows leaders and managers to create a culture plan that embodies the vision. They can set clearer expectations on workplace interactions. And most importantly, they can shape individual actions to benefit the company as a whole. “It\'s not just about the benefits and perks, it is about creating an environment where people want to contribute, where they understand how they can contribute to the greater good of the organisation,” she emphasizes.2. Always hire for cultural fitRecruitment managers are always focused on hiring the best talent. However, the best talent in the world may not necessarily be the best talent for your organisation. Skills and experience are always a consideration, but personality is what determines if a hire will flourish in the long run. “Cultural fit is so important. I would rather hire on attitude and cultural fit,” she says. This is because company culture is made up of individual behaviours and how they influence others and the company as a whole. “You can teach skills. Generally speaking, you come in with a good attitude of willingness to learn and we can teach you the other stuff.” [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVneTVkJUcg&t=[/embed]3. Set everyone up for success before day one“It comes down to the whole employee life cycle: the recruitment, the onboarding, the way we treat people on their way out the door,” Amanda remarks. Contrary to popular belief, onboarding doesn’t begin on the first day of work. In fact, if you do this, then you’re already far too late. What you do right after a talent accepts your offer shapes their investment in your company and your ability to attract equally skilled individuals. It starts with the little things, like a personalised welcome email and a paperless document submission process.“It\'s about making sure that from the minute they walk in the door they feel like part of the team. It\'s making them feel like you want them there and giving them every opportunity for success,” she notes. Employee experience determines how well they will do and how long they will stay with the company. Each turnover represents lost investment. And HR is not solely responsible for making sure this doesn’t happen. “The team manager [also needs] to make sure that [effective onboarding] happens for their people.”Free eBook: Making the Onboarding Experience Work for your Business 4. Leverage tech in employee engagement“Technology plays a massive role in freeing our people up often to do what they\'re actually employed to do to be able to focus on what\'s really important.” Amanda also believes in empowering employees by eliminating tedious administrative tasks. “Technology plays a massive role in freeing our people up often to do what they\'re actually employed to do to be able to focus on what\'s really important,” she remarks. At the heart of every business is people, and technology can enable them to perform at their best. “I think we can\'t lose sight of the fact that our team and our workplaces are made up of human beings,” she adds. Leaders and managers need to look at talents and strengths to see how employees can contribute. Then they need to be empowered to do just that.Amanda shares that she’s met talented young people in management roles who are constantly caught up in rostering and doing the payroll. “Their time, rather than being spent in the frontline with guests, is spent on all this administrative work. Approving timesheets, doing rosters, all this stuff that can be so simple if you implement technology.” Tanda, a workforce success platform, has a complete set of features that cuts down the time spent on administrative tasks. It rosters employees, manages leave requests, and interprets awards so employees can focus on what matters. Automation, far from being a threat, actually empowers people to grow the brand and deliver the best service.Read more: Team management should be an easy cruise, not a struggle for the surface5. Evolve your definition of culture“Your culture is something that ebbs and flows. It is the sum of the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours of each and every one of your team members,” Amanda says. It has to be in line with the company vision, but at the same time, it cannot be disconnected from the larger picture. The people who make up the company ultimately define its culture. And it has to respond to needs, especially generational ones. For workplaces with four generations, technology can bridge the communication gap and help retain younger talent. Bringing technology into company culture is part of the evolution.Read more: 5 Ways a Work Chat App can Boost ProductivityAmanda also cautions against having a vision only at face value. “A lot of the times what I\'m seeing is organisations will have these beautiful values on the wall, but they don\'t actually own them or live them. And the reality is the values is something that should evolve,” she emphasises. For Amanda and Career Culture Lab, the bottom line in achieving culture by design is making sure the values don’t stay on the wall. She concludes, “It\'s about embodying it and living in it every day. These values need to be real. They are going to be something that we can all buy into and understand and we can clearly articulate for our people.”Amanda Lutvey is ready to tell you more about how to achieve culture by design at at the Workforce Success Conference 2019 on 26 July in Brisbane Australia. Get your tickets here!

How to Achieve Culture by Design with Career Culture Lab’s Amanda Lutvey

24 April 2019

Awards & Rostering    |   

The number of festivals, trade shows, conferences, and marketing meetings is on the rise. According to Eventbrite Australia, 54% of businesses plan to host more events in the future. And with several major holidays like Easter and ANZAC Day just around the corner, businesses face an increased demand in products and services. Hotels, pubs, retail shops, and restaurants all encounter staffing challenges during peak season. Businesses that do not roster with increased demand in mind risk losing out on profits and providing quality customer service. Is effective rostering easier said than done? For many managers, there is too much guesswork involved to really be successful. Without modern tools, managers roster based on what has worked before, some even based on gut feelings alone. But each small staffing decision can impact costs and productivity in a huge way. How you respond to the flow of operations throughout the day also matters. Instincts and guesswork can only take you so far. Data about employees, wages, and operations can change the game for businesses, especially those that rely heavily on shift workers.  Check out these three data-driven tools that help you meet demand and raise profit! 1. Cover all your bases with Key Alerts Anything can happen after publishing a roster. Monitoring tardiness and breaks, substituting unavailable staff, and calling in extra help are all part of running a shift. And losing track of them has severe cost and productivity impact that accumulate over time. For example, if staff clock-in or out late, the business doesn’t have the appropriate level of staff. There could be too few or too many for several minutes, even hours. If there’s only one person rostered and they’re 10 minutes late, the revenue potential for those 10 minutes is zero. Your quality of service suffers tremendously. That’s where Key Alerts comes in. Key Alerts helps you make sure that the staff sticks to their rostered hours. It lets you know who clocks-in or out late, doesn’t take breaks, or takes breaks too long. This is helpful throughout the year, regardless if it’s peak season or not. But especially during peak season, deciding on whether to allow overtime is crucial, particularly when it comes to being on top of wage costs and additional allowances. Key Alerts, which comes for free with Tanda’s mobile app, also flags managers if staff is approaching overtime. The data lets you decide between paying overtime and calling in another capable staff member. And because software takes care of monitoring for you, all bases are always covered. Read more: Why Live Workforce Data is the Future 2. Respond to changes in real-time with Live Insights Getting Key Alerts throughout the day is one thing, but responding to real-time demand is another. For hospitality, retail, and food businesses, events in the area cause an uptick in customers. Sometimes, the change can be so unprecedented that the staff is swamped and customers are left unsatisfied. Fortunately, you already have something at hand that can help you keep up: your Point-of-Sale (POS) system. Your POS can track the number and type of sales each employee makes, and more importantly when they make those sales. The same data can be used to optimise your daily operations. Live Insights, or real-time staffing, utilises data from your POS to tell you if you’re under- or over-staffed. Previously, managers needed to wait for end-of-day reports to see if the rostered staff was enough and how the business went overall.  With Live Insights, multiple staffing decisions can be made throughout the day in response to real-time data. You can see how much you’ve made compared to how much you’re spending on wages. You can also see how sales compare to expected numbers. Based on this data, you can adjust staffing levels to make sure targets are hit and customers are happy. Read more: Introducing Live Insights: Using real-time staffing to secure your business 3. Plan ahead better with Cognitive Rostering Continuously learning from experience to plan better is the key to success. Many businesses rely on optimising wage costs to ensure a decent profit margin. During peak season, there is a real opportunity to recover from slow days. You can engage more customers and create programs that can keep them coming back throughout the year. But when you overspend on wages, that opportunity is lost. So how do you get the staffing level right? How do you make sure that your customers are getting the best service without spending too much on wages? The simple answer: use technology to learn better. With Cognitive Rostering, you don’t have to remember how you built your most effective roster a year ago. Using indicators such as wage percentage of sales, this tool builds the perfect roster for you. And because it learns how your business is doing, the more you use it, the better it works. Cognitive Rostering uses your own data to save you time, effort, and money. You can test millions of scenarios for every roster to find the optimal solution, and you can concentrate on more important tasks like training staff or developing sales strategies. In short, you can empower yourself to grow your business faster than you ever thought you could. Read more: How this retailer increased profit by $8.9m from rostering more hours Stop guessing — Become a data-driven workforce Technology for businesses has definitely gone far. But they can go much farther, right into the heart of your business: workforce management. No company or organisation will survive without its workforce. For many businesses, especially those that rely on shift workers, wages are the biggest overhead expense. However, we often use outdated systems to manage them. Data and digital technology are highly transformative, and businesses need to take advantage of them. Key Alerts, Live Insights, and Cognitive Rostering are testaments to the difference data can make on operations, whether it’s peak season or not. There is no way around it: meeting demand, raising profit, and growing your business can only be done with a data-driven workforce. You need to use technology not only to solve workplace challenges but also to optimise it. Investing in the correct workforce technology platform can increase productivity, savings, and even sustainability. The long-term benefits of shifting to a workforce technology platform are more than worth its initial birthing pains. Taking advantage of these tools may well determine if you will succeed in this increasingly fast-paced business environment. Free eBook: Overcoming Employee Challenges in Shift Work Industries

Peak Season Rostering: How to use data to meet demand and raise profit

16 April 2019

Clients & Partners AU    |   

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals. It’s how far staff are willing to go to fulfill the customer promise. For Mikey Ellis, Cultural Strategist at Pragmatic Thinking, it’s also a relationship. “Like any relationship, there are there are boundaries, expectations, and rules of engagement. So that needs to be negotiated and agreed upon, and then each party held to account within that organization,” he explains. Mikey, who heads up Pragmatic Thinking’s presence in Melbourne, knows what it’s like to build employee engagement from the ground up. “As you know, with the rise of startups and with technology enabling people and companies to challenge the norms and the more conventional ways of working, we get to now decide how we want to work,” he says. Companies today have an increased awareness around culture. There is a focus on empowering people to use their skills and talents towards a mission. And more organisations are asking, how do we do it? That’s where a Cultural Strategist like Mikey comes in. Learn more about how he tackles work culture issues and presents clear, workable solutions below! Start with defining employee engagement “A good place to start when it comes to engagement,” he says, “is defining what it means for you as an organisation.” Most organisations have a written set of values displayed in their office. Employees are informed of these values during the onboarding process. But they can’t remain on the wall or in the employee handbook. \"It is the responsibility and obligation of leaders to embody those values and to demonstrate them. It\'s not to say that it\'s not also the responsibility of an employee as well. Engagement is a relationship and both parties must take responsibility for their role,” he emphasises. Employee engagement, then, differs for every company. For a food business, it could mean frontline staff serve customers with a smile even during the busiest hours. For a tech company, it could mean that everyone keeps abreast of industry trends without being asked. It depends on the business, the industry, and the values that they want each employee to embody. It’s easier said than done. Employers need to lead the charge by, first, being very clear about what it means to be an engaged employee. Then they need to build the environment to reflect it. Read more: Employee Engagement – A Matter of Care Overcome resistance to change “If values are embedded into the processes, routines, and expectations, [the workplace] becomes a really great place to be. And it is difficult to do because it\'s going to for a lot of people it\'s going to require some personal accountability. It\'s going to require some behavioural change,” Mikey observes. When working on improving employee engagement, there may be some uncomfortable conversations that employer and employee need to have. All parties need to acknowledge where they have failed before they can correct it. It is a tough process, but it needs to be done. Employees will be less resistant to change if employers keep in mind that the bottom line is a sense of belonging. “People just want to feel like they belong. They want to feel like they\'re contributing to something. It doesn\'t take that much for an employer, leader, [or] manager to do that,” he explains. There will be speed bumps along the way, but when the leaders of the organisation embody the change they want to see they make it easy for others to follow suit. Employees want to work with businesses, not for them. If an employer can show that they care about individual and collective contributions, engagement increases. Read more: How to Achieve Culture by Design with Career Culture Lab’s Amanda Lutvey Measure engagement with the right tools Many employers ask for feedback on how engaged employees are. While that’s important, Mikey believes that employers also need to take a step back and think about the kind of questions they ask. “There are some great software and tools out there to measure engagement -- employee satisfaction, physical and mental health and well-being throughout the day. Poll surveys, you know, they’re great. But the key is to be really clear about what it is you\'re measuring and whether that aligns to the outcome that you\'re ultimately working towards.” For him, like any measurement tool, it\'s only as good as how you use it. If there are issues within the workplace, Mikey suggests looking at how much the company invests in culture. “You\'re probably better off for measuring the input. What are you doing to bring about the kind of culture that you want, as opposed to measuring this amorphous engagement concept?” he asks. As a Culture Strategist, he takes a pragmatic approach. He looks at antecedents to behaviour like structures and values, and how they all align. He shares, “We create not only the strategy but also the capabilities within key people in the organisation to achieve the kind of culture that they’re wanting to build.” Read more: Don’t Quit! 3 Ways to Retain your Employees in 2019 Never stop growing the business Finally, the best way to maintain employee engagement is to never stop growing the business with people in mind. Businesses that are productive, efficient, and forward-thinking provides more opportunities for people to grow with them. They need to invest in the right tools to make sure that work flows as smoothly as possible. “If we want to keep good people and we want to grow with people, we\'ve got to help them do it,” Mikey elaborates. “We need to achieve what it is that they want to achieve and so it\'s a win-win: The company benefits, the individual grows and learns, and collectively it\'s a great outcome.”. Growth is, by far, one of the most significant drivers of engagement in an organisation. A robust environment where people feel like they belong and can contribute encourages them to go the extra mile to fulfill the customer promise. “If you\'re not [growing], then you\'re just going to lose people. And if you keep them, you\'re just not going to be getting the best out of them. They’re not going to be happy because they\'re not growing.” In the end, what it comes down to is the willingness of every business to listen to employees, empower its managers, lead by example, and make sure that individuals grow alongside the business. Mikey Ellis will be talking about how to revolutionise employee engagement at the Workforce Success Conference 2019 on 26 July in Brisbane Australia. Get your tickets here!

Revolutionising Employee Engagement with Pragmatic Thinking’s Mikey Ellis

24 April 2019

Clients & Partners AU    |   

“I\'m passionate about developing extraordinary places to work because we spend a lot of time at work and in a number of organisations, managers just really don\'t know how to design a culture,” says Amanda Lutvey, founder of Career Culture Lab. For the past twenty years, Amanda has worked with leaders and managers to transform their workplace cultures. With experience in a diverse range of industries, she specialises in providing solutions to a host of cultural issues. Whether it’s about communication, trust, or teamwork, she believes in focusing on people. But with so many things to consider, how do you get started on a people-focused workplace?For Amanda, every company has a culture whether they focus on it or not. That makes the difference between culture by default, and culture by design. “Culture by default is when you just let things happen,” explains Amanda. Often, there are unwritten ground rules that create cultural problems below the surface. These problems will eventually reach a tipping point, and by then it will require monumental resources to resolve. A way to avoid this is creating culture by design: a culture plan that integrates company vision and everyday life. Check out Amanda’s five tips to achieving culture by design below!1. Go back to the company vision\"Going back to the vision of the organisation is where it all starts. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.\"When creating a plan for any company, Amanda doesn’t have to look far. “I’m very much about tailoring solutions to the vision of the organisation,” she says. Going back to the vision of the organisation is where it all starts. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Different challenges of organisations across industries require different solutions. And there are plenty of misconceptions out there. “A lot of people think it\'s just about having a ping pong table, bean bags, an open plan office, or having a groovy work environment,” she remarks. “It\'s a great environment, but you need to walk the talk.”For Amanda, walking the talk means asking tough questions. Why are we here? What are our values? Answering these questions allows leaders and managers to create a culture plan that embodies the vision. They can set clearer expectations on workplace interactions. And most importantly, they can shape individual actions to benefit the company as a whole. “It\'s not just about the benefits and perks, it is about creating an environment where people want to contribute, where they understand how they can contribute to the greater good of the organisation,” she emphasizes.2. Always hire for cultural fitRecruitment managers are always focused on hiring the best talent. However, the best talent in the world may not necessarily be the best talent for your organisation. Skills and experience are always a consideration, but personality is what determines if a hire will flourish in the long run. “Cultural fit is so important. I would rather hire on attitude and cultural fit,” she says. This is because company culture is made up of individual behaviours and how they influence others and the company as a whole. “You can teach skills. Generally speaking, you come in with a good attitude of willingness to learn and we can teach you the other stuff.” [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVneTVkJUcg&t=[/embed]3. Set everyone up for success before day one“It comes down to the whole employee life cycle: the recruitment, the onboarding, the way we treat people on their way out the door,” Amanda remarks. Contrary to popular belief, onboarding doesn’t begin on the first day of work. In fact, if you do this, then you’re already far too late. What you do right after a talent accepts your offer shapes their investment in your company and your ability to attract equally skilled individuals. It starts with the little things, like a personalised welcome email and a paperless document submission process.“It\'s about making sure that from the minute they walk in the door they feel like part of the team. It\'s making them feel like you want them there and giving them every opportunity for success,” she notes. Employee experience determines how well they will do and how long they will stay with the company. Each turnover represents lost investment. And HR is not solely responsible for making sure this doesn’t happen. “The team manager [also needs] to make sure that [effective onboarding] happens for their people.”Free eBook: Making the Onboarding Experience Work for your Business 4. Leverage tech in employee engagement“Technology plays a massive role in freeing our people up often to do what they\'re actually employed to do to be able to focus on what\'s really important.” Amanda also believes in empowering employees by eliminating tedious administrative tasks. “Technology plays a massive role in freeing our people up often to do what they\'re actually employed to do to be able to focus on what\'s really important,” she remarks. At the heart of every business is people, and technology can enable them to perform at their best. “I think we can\'t lose sight of the fact that our team and our workplaces are made up of human beings,” she adds. Leaders and managers need to look at talents and strengths to see how employees can contribute. Then they need to be empowered to do just that.Amanda shares that she’s met talented young people in management roles who are constantly caught up in rostering and doing the payroll. “Their time, rather than being spent in the frontline with guests, is spent on all this administrative work. Approving timesheets, doing rosters, all this stuff that can be so simple if you implement technology.” Tanda, a workforce success platform, has a complete set of features that cuts down the time spent on administrative tasks. It rosters employees, manages leave requests, and interprets awards so employees can focus on what matters. Automation, far from being a threat, actually empowers people to grow the brand and deliver the best service.Read more: Team management should be an easy cruise, not a struggle for the surface5. Evolve your definition of culture“Your culture is something that ebbs and flows. It is the sum of the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours of each and every one of your team members,” Amanda says. It has to be in line with the company vision, but at the same time, it cannot be disconnected from the larger picture. The people who make up the company ultimately define its culture. And it has to respond to needs, especially generational ones. For workplaces with four generations, technology can bridge the communication gap and help retain younger talent. Bringing technology into company culture is part of the evolution.Read more: 5 Ways a Work Chat App can Boost ProductivityAmanda also cautions against having a vision only at face value. “A lot of the times what I\'m seeing is organisations will have these beautiful values on the wall, but they don\'t actually own them or live them. And the reality is the values is something that should evolve,” she emphasises. For Amanda and Career Culture Lab, the bottom line in achieving culture by design is making sure the values don’t stay on the wall. She concludes, “It\'s about embodying it and living in it every day. These values need to be real. They are going to be something that we can all buy into and understand and we can clearly articulate for our people.”Amanda Lutvey is ready to tell you more about how to achieve culture by design at at the Workforce Success Conference 2019 on 26 July in Brisbane Australia. Get your tickets here!

How to Achieve Culture by Design with Career Culture Lab’s Amanda Lutvey

24 April 2019

Awards & Rostering    |   

The number of festivals, trade shows, conferences, and marketing meetings is on the rise. According to Eventbrite Australia, 54% of businesses plan to host more events in the future. And with several major holidays like Easter and ANZAC Day just around the corner, businesses face an increased demand in products and services. Hotels, pubs, retail shops, and restaurants all encounter staffing challenges during peak season. Businesses that do not roster with increased demand in mind risk losing out on profits and providing quality customer service. Is effective rostering easier said than done? For many managers, there is too much guesswork involved to really be successful. Without modern tools, managers roster based on what has worked before, some even based on gut feelings alone. But each small staffing decision can impact costs and productivity in a huge way. How you respond to the flow of operations throughout the day also matters. Instincts and guesswork can only take you so far. Data about employees, wages, and operations can change the game for businesses, especially those that rely heavily on shift workers.  Check out these three data-driven tools that help you meet demand and raise profit! 1. Cover all your bases with Key Alerts Anything can happen after publishing a roster. Monitoring tardiness and breaks, substituting unavailable staff, and calling in extra help are all part of running a shift. And losing track of them has severe cost and productivity impact that accumulate over time. For example, if staff clock-in or out late, the business doesn’t have the appropriate level of staff. There could be too few or too many for several minutes, even hours. If there’s only one person rostered and they’re 10 minutes late, the revenue potential for those 10 minutes is zero. Your quality of service suffers tremendously. That’s where Key Alerts comes in. Key Alerts helps you make sure that the staff sticks to their rostered hours. It lets you know who clocks-in or out late, doesn’t take breaks, or takes breaks too long. This is helpful throughout the year, regardless if it’s peak season or not. But especially during peak season, deciding on whether to allow overtime is crucial, particularly when it comes to being on top of wage costs and additional allowances. Key Alerts, which comes for free with Tanda’s mobile app, also flags managers if staff is approaching overtime. The data lets you decide between paying overtime and calling in another capable staff member. And because software takes care of monitoring for you, all bases are always covered. Read more: Why Live Workforce Data is the Future 2. Respond to changes in real-time with Live Insights Getting Key Alerts throughout the day is one thing, but responding to real-time demand is another. For hospitality, retail, and food businesses, events in the area cause an uptick in customers. Sometimes, the change can be so unprecedented that the staff is swamped and customers are left unsatisfied. Fortunately, you already have something at hand that can help you keep up: your Point-of-Sale (POS) system. Your POS can track the number and type of sales each employee makes, and more importantly when they make those sales. The same data can be used to optimise your daily operations. Live Insights, or real-time staffing, utilises data from your POS to tell you if you’re under- or over-staffed. Previously, managers needed to wait for end-of-day reports to see if the rostered staff was enough and how the business went overall.  With Live Insights, multiple staffing decisions can be made throughout the day in response to real-time data. You can see how much you’ve made compared to how much you’re spending on wages. You can also see how sales compare to expected numbers. Based on this data, you can adjust staffing levels to make sure targets are hit and customers are happy. Read more: Introducing Live Insights: Using real-time staffing to secure your business 3. Plan ahead better with Cognitive Rostering Continuously learning from experience to plan better is the key to success. Many businesses rely on optimising wage costs to ensure a decent profit margin. During peak season, there is a real opportunity to recover from slow days. You can engage more customers and create programs that can keep them coming back throughout the year. But when you overspend on wages, that opportunity is lost. So how do you get the staffing level right? How do you make sure that your customers are getting the best service without spending too much on wages? The simple answer: use technology to learn better. With Cognitive Rostering, you don’t have to remember how you built your most effective roster a year ago. Using indicators such as wage percentage of sales, this tool builds the perfect roster for you. And because it learns how your business is doing, the more you use it, the better it works. Cognitive Rostering uses your own data to save you time, effort, and money. You can test millions of scenarios for every roster to find the optimal solution, and you can concentrate on more important tasks like training staff or developing sales strategies. In short, you can empower yourself to grow your business faster than you ever thought you could. Read more: How this retailer increased profit by $8.9m from rostering more hours Stop guessing — Become a data-driven workforce Technology for businesses has definitely gone far. But they can go much farther, right into the heart of your business: workforce management. No company or organisation will survive without its workforce. For many businesses, especially those that rely on shift workers, wages are the biggest overhead expense. However, we often use outdated systems to manage them. Data and digital technology are highly transformative, and businesses need to take advantage of them. Key Alerts, Live Insights, and Cognitive Rostering are testaments to the difference data can make on operations, whether it’s peak season or not. There is no way around it: meeting demand, raising profit, and growing your business can only be done with a data-driven workforce. You need to use technology not only to solve workplace challenges but also to optimise it. Investing in the correct workforce technology platform can increase productivity, savings, and even sustainability. The long-term benefits of shifting to a workforce technology platform are more than worth its initial birthing pains. Taking advantage of these tools may well determine if you will succeed in this increasingly fast-paced business environment. Free eBook: Overcoming Employee Challenges in Shift Work Industries

Peak Season Rostering: How to use data to meet demand and raise profit

16 April 2019

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Awards & Rostering

Why Fingerprint Scanners don’t work for Time & Attendance

The ability to quickly identify and verify individuals has been a crucial skill in human society, since the start of civilisation. Where previously face-to-face recognition would have sufficed in tribes and small villages, thanks to today’s rapidly growing global population we require more tools to quickly identify who someone is. In the workplace the need to identify individuals is particularly important, as it’s often tied to staff attendance, payroll, and workplace security. Throughout the years various solutions have been used to verify staff attendance from paper timesheets, to the Bundy Clock, to fingerprint and biometric scanners. Despite the best efforts of some die-hard fans, the fingerprint scanner has reached its limit, being surpassed by the electronic time clock. With so many other solutions available at our fingertips, why are some people so desperately clinging to their fingerprint scanner? Surely we’ve all seen enough spy movies to know fingerprint scanners aren’t foolproof, let alone feasible in today’s day and age where most of the fun comes from trying to fool the system. And yet, it’s something that we still occasionally hear, “why don’t you have fingerprint scanners?” So to put the debate to rest once and for all, here are three reasons why fingerprint scanners don’t work. And before you start saying, ‘but what about this…” here are three great reasons why the electronic time clock has surpassed the fingerprint scanner. 3 Reasons why fingerprint scanners don’t work to track staff attendance 1. They’re Expensive No matter which way you look at it, fingerprint scanners are expensive equipment. Despite the fact that the technology has been around for years, the cost of the device still remains relatively high, potentially setting you back a few thousand dollars. In addition to the device, the cost of the integration between the scanner and corresponding system can be expensive to build. The scanners are delicate, and aren’t always built to handle the hundreds of fingerprints pressed onto them throughout their lifetime. Which brings me to my next point... 2. They’re Unreliable Unlike your favourite FBI crime-show encryption-grade biometric scanners, workplace fingerprint scanners are notoriously unreliable. In order to correctly identify and record an individual, fingerprint scanners require a clear image or impression of your fingerprint. Fingers that are dirty, greasy, cold or wet for example, often don’t register on the scanner, making it hard to both clock out, and verify the individual. Employers who prefer to use fingerprint scanners, do so because they think it’s easier than remembering a passcode. However should the fingerprint scanner fail to register the scan, some systems will request a passcode. Not only is this an additional hassle to staff who are trying simply to clock in or out, but it also opens the window to time theft through buddy clocking. 3. Maintenance is a pain As previously mentioned, fingerprint scanners are not cheap. They’re a costly purchase, and are even more expensive to repair or replace when they wear out. Repairing a broken scanner requires a specialised technician, and often costly parts. On the occasion that it is easier to replace than repair, users often run into more problems as they are not readily available at your local JB Hi-Fi or electronics outlet. On top of this, users often experience issues around the device’s durability, which lead to additional maintenance costs and ultimately a new device down the track. Introducing the 21st Century solution Electronic time clocks are the most robust, user-friendly, and affordable solution to record staff attendance. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), 11.2 million Australians owned a tablet device in 2015. It’s therefore no surprise that table based time clocks like Tanda are taking off in popularity amongst Australia’s workforce, thanks to their ease of use, and reliability. By utilising a tablet device, they provide an effective and consistent solution to time theft as well as streamlining your entire payroll process. 3 Reasons why electronic time clocks are the market leading solution: 1. Affordability Tablets in their various forms have started to become more commonplace in businesses of all sizes. This is thanks to more core business functions such as POS, inventory, and payment processing, becoming available on tablet devices. This technology is providing business owners with greater mobility to engage with customers, as well as streamlining core business activities in one device. Time Clock tablets are easily accessible, affordable and present a number of additional benefits to a business looking to improve their customer offering. 2. Robust and reliable. Thanks to the prevalence of tablet usage, most people are familiar with how to use a tablet and how they should be treated. Tablets are touch-screen based and as such built to handle lots of little fingers pushing and tapping the screen. Tanda’s Time Clock verifies staff attendance through photos and PIN code verification. Which means that unlike a fingerprint scanner, it doesn’t matter if staff have dirty or wet fingers, they’ll still be able to clock out the first time around. The timestamp and photo verification also make it quick and easy for managers and business owners to quickly check that the right person has clocked in and out for the correct shift. 3. Cloud-based for more options Using a cloud-based Time Clock solution like Tanda provides users with more options, which enable rather than restrict the user. Software maintenance and upgrades are not required, as they’re done automatically in the system. Devices are easy to replace and interchangeable, and should the system connection be disrupted, all clock in data is stored locally and uploaded to the cloud later. In addition to this, as a backup, users can access the Time Clock app through a browser on a desktop. Using a cloud solution to track staff attendance provides unparalleled opportunities to streamline additional business administration tasks, as well as providing greater insight into labour costs, staff punctuality and staff engagement. Workplaces are busy places, and managers have much better things to spend their time on than trying to get the fingerprint scanner to work. Using electronic Time Clocks to track employee attendance allows staff to clock in quickly and efficiently, so that they can get out of the backroom and working in your business. Because at the end of the day, you need a system that is affordable, reliable, and accessible, so that you can get on with paying staff and focusing on your business.

Product Updates

New Tanda Time Clock

Today we\'re excited to announce the upcoming release of a newly redesigned Tanda Employee Time Clock. Addressing the problem of recording accurate employee Time and Attendance is core to ensuring we service you, our customers. This is why, on the 29th of January 2019, an update to both iOS and Android will be released on the respective app stores. Any update from the app stores from the 29th of January onwards will download this new Time Clock. The new Time Clock features a bunch of improvements that are expanded upon below: A new redesign Clock breaks with break buttons Portrait & Landscape Orientation Smart shift status Facial detection Easier device reporting To get this new Time Clock now - download the Beta on both Android and iOS. Redesign New colours, new design and some obvious layout changes have been perfected and refined for this new Time Clock. A zappy keypad now sits on a deep navy background that ripples blue waves to the rounded edge of each button. Successful entry opens a vibrant and compact user interface that pops with judicious colours. A thin-blue timer encapsulates the \'close\' button and indicates when the Time Clock screen times out - gleefully sliding all contents away. Employee\'s information is smartly displayed within the shift card and clocked times are swiftly populated upon each action. This is the Time Clock of the future. Get Beta versions now. Clock Breaks with Break Buttons The Time Clock will automatically show/hide break buttons based on the Settings enabled in your My Tanda account. If your My Tanda account doesn\'t allow staff to clock breaks - your Time Clock will display just \'Clock in\' and \'Clock out\' buttons automatically. Read more on Displaying Break Buttons or our blog post on the release of multi-breaks. See it in action below: Portrait & Landscape Orientation Dock your tablet in whatever orientation suits. The new Time Clock will dock and send photos in portrait, landscape and even upside-down (charging ports are sometimes in funky spots). All features will work as expected. Smart Shift Status Knowing what stage of a shift you\'re in helps Timesheet reporting and accuracy. That\'s why we\'ve made the Time Clock smarter in detecting a shift status (whether it\'s started, on a break, near completion) to automatically render the correct button action. This will go a long way in answering common questions staff have: what button should I press? was I on a break or already clocked in? how long was the break I just took? and providing instant clarity during a shift. Facial Detection Making sure the correct staff are at work at the correct time is important for your business. Equally important is making sure the correct staff are clocking in. As an introduction for much cooler things to come, both iOS and Android support facial detection on the Time Clock. Device Reporting We want our customers to successfully manage their business, not their Tanda accounts. That\'s why we\'ve made reporting device information about your Time Clock as simple and as fast as  possible to Tanda Support and technical staff to help us assist you debug any issues. Read more about how to Send Device Info to Tanda. The Wrap This new Time Clock will provide quicker clarity to employees throughout their shift and help support the entire shift cycle. Users on Android 5.0+ and iOS Devices 9.0+ can download the Beta version right now and get clocking in. The Time Clock will be released in full for everyone on January 29th 2019 - to prepare for this release. Ensure you have: Your 8 digit setup code or login details prepared All pending clock ins sent prior to updating Read the FAQ If you have any questions, please contact support@tanda.co.

Events & Media AU Industry Insights

Domino’s and Tanda: Building the Workforces of the Future

Brisbane-based company Tanda has today announced a business partnership with Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited, to automate and optimise the company’s payroll process. The partnership will assist Domino’s in empowering its franchisees with the right technology and tools to efficiently manage rostering and payroll as a competitive edge. Tanda Director Tasmin Trezise said he is excited about the partnership. “Tanda is proud to be working collaboratively with Domino’s to build the future of workforce management, and this represents an exciting step towards using technology to shape enterprise workplaces,” said Mr Trezise. “Domino’s is an agile and forward-thinking company who are leading the way in terms of innovation, whether this is through their drone delivery services or re-imagining their labour supply chain management.” The partnership between the two companies will see a roll out of Tanda\'s software to over 700 stores across Australia and New Zealand. Domino’s Australia and New Zealand CEO Nick Knight said the Company was looking forward to making franchisee’s lives easier with the efficient time and attendance program. “We are always looking to use the latest innovative technology in everything that we do as a Company – this from delivery to customers and for systems and processes with franchisees,” said Mr Knight. “Rolling out Tanda in stores across Australia and New Zealand will allow our franchisees to efficiently roster and record team member’s attendance so we look forward to reaping the benefits of the innovative program.” Trezise explained that Domino’s franchisees would soon see incredible benefits after the working relationship with Tanda begins. “This partnership will empower Domino’s franchisees with a greater understanding and insight into their labour costs so they are able to make smarter and more informed business decisions whilst having comfort that their payroll complies with current awards and enterprise agreements. “The fact that Domino’s and other Australian businesses are using new technology like Tanda is a testament to Australia’s growing success as an innovative nation.” Domino’s partnership with Tanda began in the Company’s dedicated innovation space, the DLAB, which was designed to encourage out of the box thinking. From local corner cafes to global workforces, Tanda is revolutionising the world of rostering and payroll one shift at a time. About Tanda Tanda is a scalable workforce management SaaS, that is helping businesses to unlock efficiency and productivity gains through more effective labour force management. For more information, visit www.tanda.co About Domino’s Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited is the master franchisor for the Domino’s brand in Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany. Across these seven markets, DPE and its franchisees operate over 2,000 stores. For more information, please visit www.dominos.com.au For further information, media enquiries or images contact: Bridget Mahon Marketing Communications Officer Email: bridget@tanda.co

Editor's Picks

Industry Insights    |   

How this retailer increased profit by $8.9m from rostering more hours

There has been a lot of speculation on why we are losing retailers so fast. An interesting research piece from the US presented an alternative hypothesis that generalises the issue down to rostering for profit rather than rostering to control costs. For context – If you were given the choice of increasing revenue by 5% or reducing costs by 5% in order to create the most profitable outcome, what would choose? A “back of the hand” calculation would show that reducing costs increases profit more than the equivalent uptick in revenue. Accordingly, most retailers choose option two. This makes sense if you assume the two scenarios are independent of each other, but what if the cost was your employees? This is where the problems arise. For industries like retail, where staff have a direct impact on sales, it’s not as simple of a question as cutting costs to increase profit. In a study led by Professor Marshall Fisher from Wharton, he and his research team constructed a conceptual model from historical data to identify stores within a US-based retail chain that had the highest potential to benefit from increased labour spend. Importantly, the strategy was actually implemented at 168 retail sites over a 26-week period to validate the model, with the retailer electing to implement the strategy further. The result: A near $8.9 million increase in profit of the stores included. The labour cost challenge The challenge in allocating labour budgets lies in the tradeoff between the known immediate payroll cost and the less certain increase in sales that could be achieved with more staff on hand. The researchers point out that retail managers have a tendency to overweigh the decision to reduce the known payroll cost than the less certain increase in sales which could be achieved by allocating additional labour spend. The labour budget death spiral The study highlights the limitation of the most common retail strategy — setting labour budgets as a portion of sales. Fisher points out that this approach creates a circular problem by failing to take into account how store labour spend can positively impact sales, with the worst case leading to a spiraling effect of reduced sales forecasts reducing labour spend which reduces sales further and so on. Quantifying the impact of labour spend on revenue Creating labour budgets that are designed to maximise profit requires retailers to know on a store-by-store basis the correlation between labour-spend and sales. One way to do this is by looking at times when staffing levels deviate from the original schedule. If ten staff were scheduled on a particular day, but on that day only eight turned up, did sales also decrease by the same portion? If not, by how much? If the answer to the above is that sales didn’t decrease at all, the store is likely overstaffed. If there is a measurable impact, the inverse scenario is likely true and the store may be losing sales by being understaffed. This is the same approach used in the study, which found the relationship between random staffing deviations and impacts on sales was statistically significant. Results showed an increase in labour spend pointed to increased sales at varying degrees, depending on known store attributes. Implementing the strategy for profit The study identified stores in a US retail chain which had the highest market potential, making them good candidates for an increased labour spend. The market potential factored in attributes like average basket value and proximity to competitors, which would create scenarios that allow workers to have the highest impact on converting sales. In the study, 168 stores were selected this way, then allocated a 10% increased labour budget over a 26-week period, of which 75% of the increase was actually consumed in practice by the stores. The outcome was a 4.5% increase in revenue at the impacted stores and resulting in a near $8.9 million profit increase. Learning from the strategy The study shows empirically why the common practice of setting labour budgets as a fixed proportion of forecasted revenue is often self-defeating when applied in a retail setting. An opportunity exists to all retailers to leverage this same profit-centric model for defining labour budgets. The data required is available to all retailers however, it may just be a matter of leveraging that information with the right systems. An integrated forecasting strategy that integrates foot traffic, sales, and employee scheduling data is a practical opportunity afforded to retailers of any size to optimise their labour resource allocations. The interesting part is, Fisher’s research is readily available to all retailers who are looking to drift away from the traditional method of fixing labor budget rosters. The next step is to get this method of labour resource allocation battle tested in the Australian markets. Stay tuned. Up next: What is the Contingent Workforce and how can you leverage it in your business?

Industry Insights

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Australian Manufacturing Back on Track: How to ride the sector’s trends

It’s a good start for Australia’s manufacturing sector. According to Australian Industry Group’s (Ai Group’s) Chief Executive Innes Willox, Australia’s manufacturing sector strengthened in February 2019. It faltered at the end of 2018 but indicators for production, sales, exports, and employment all improved this year. Currently, the industry accounts for 6% of Australia’s economy. While […]

Biometric attendance: Can staff say ‘no’ to fingerprint scanner use?

Whenever business owners come to the point of growing their company, they naturally begin to think about managing people during shifts they can’t be physically present. One of the first puzzles managers solve is tracking employees’ time and attendance. From the get-go, this is the most basic yet the trickiest administrative task to keep up […]

Awards & Rostering

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Peak Season Rostering: How to use data to meet demand and raise profit

The number of festivals, trade shows, conferences, and marketing meetings is on the rise. According to Eventbrite Australia, 54% of businesses plan to host more events in the future. And with several major holidays like Easter and ANZAC Day just around the corner, businesses face an increased demand in products and services. Hotels, pubs, retail […]

Easter Penalty Rates 2019

Easter is always a tricky time of year to work out when the actual public holidays fall. For the Easter period in 2019, the only national public holidays are Good Friday and Easter Monday – all the other days vary between the states and territories. Keep in mind Anzac Day is the following Thursday the […]

Product Updates

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How we reduced the cost of bespoke payroll integrations to zero

From today, every payroll system you can think of, as long as it has an import function, can now work with Tanda. And it won’t cost thousands of dollars in custom integration costs. In fact, it won’t cost anything at all. Introducing Custom Export Builder With this feature, you can export all your timesheet data […]

Team management should be an easy cruise, not a struggle for the surface

Key updates WHAT’S NEW IN TANDA – MARCH 2019 If you want to skip the opening , jump straight to these sections: Shift Replacements on Desktop: Receive and approve/decline cover requests Change Teams on Time Clock: Swap teams anytime on a clocked-in shift GPS Clock-Ins: Location-tracked clock-ins on the mobile app Automatic Breaks: Fulfil compliance […]

Events & Media

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Tanda partners with Aurion for Workforce Success

QLD, Australia — Tanda is proud to announce Aurion People & Payroll Solutions as the Platinum Sponsor of the 2019 Workforce Success Conference to be held this 26th July. The annual event organised by Tanda is entering its second year, following the inaugural conference in 2018. The previous conference, held on the Gold Coast, attracted over 280 business owners, managers, […]

ICYMI: What went down at Workplace by Facebook’s first-ever Manila Hackathon

Last Nov 9-10, we at Tanda successfully held our first-ever Hackathon collab with Workplace by Facebook. The 2-day event, held in Facebook’s Manila office, brought students and professionals together to compete on making the coolest and most innovative concept integrating the two platforms — Tanda and Workplace by Facebook. The short program started with an […]

Clients & Partners

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Revolutionising Employee Engagement with Pragmatic Thinking’s Mikey Ellis

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals. It’s how far staff are willing to go to fulfill the customer promise. For Mikey Ellis, Cultural Strategist at Pragmatic Thinking, it’s also a relationship. “Like any relationship, there are there are boundaries, expectations, and rules of engagement. So that […]

How to Achieve Culture by Design with Career Culture Lab’s Amanda Lutvey

“I’m passionate about developing extraordinary places to work because we spend a lot of time at work and in a number of organisations, managers just really don’t know how to design a culture,” says Amanda Lutvey, founder of Career Culture Lab. For the past twenty years, Amanda has worked with leaders and managers to transform […]

Editor's Picks

Industry Insights    |   

How this retailer increased profit by $8.9m from rostering more hours

There has been a lot of speculation on why we are losing retailers so fast. An interesting research piece from the US presented an alternative hypothesis that generalises the issue down to rostering for profit rather than rostering to control costs. For context – If you were given the choice of increasing revenue by 5% or reducing costs by 5% in order to create the most profitable outcome, what would choose? A “back of the hand” calculation would show that reducing costs increases profit more than the equivalent uptick in revenue. Accordingly, most retailers choose option two. This makes sense if you assume the two scenarios are independent of each other, but what if the cost was your employees? This is where the problems arise. For industries like retail, where staff have a direct impact on sales, it’s not as simple of a question as cutting costs to increase profit. In a study led by Professor Marshall Fisher from Wharton, he and his research team constructed a conceptual model from historical data to identify stores within a US-based retail chain that had the highest potential to benefit from increased labour spend. Importantly, the strategy was actually implemented at 168 retail sites over a 26-week period to validate the model, with the retailer electing to implement the strategy further. The result: A near $8.9 million increase in profit of the stores included. The labour cost challenge The challenge in allocating labour budgets lies in the tradeoff between the known immediate payroll cost and the less certain increase in sales that could be achieved with more staff on hand. The researchers point out that retail managers have a tendency to overweigh the decision to reduce the known payroll cost than the less certain increase in sales which could be achieved by allocating additional labour spend. The labour budget death spiral The study highlights the limitation of the most common retail strategy — setting labour budgets as a portion of sales. Fisher points out that this approach creates a circular problem by failing to take into account how store labour spend can positively impact sales, with the worst case leading to a spiraling effect of reduced sales forecasts reducing labour spend which reduces sales further and so on. Quantifying the impact of labour spend on revenue Creating labour budgets that are designed to maximise profit requires retailers to know on a store-by-store basis the correlation between labour-spend and sales. One way to do this is by looking at times when staffing levels deviate from the original schedule. If ten staff were scheduled on a particular day, but on that day only eight turned up, did sales also decrease by the same portion? If not, by how much? If the answer to the above is that sales didn’t decrease at all, the store is likely overstaffed. If there is a measurable impact, the inverse scenario is likely true and the store may be losing sales by being understaffed. This is the same approach used in the study, which found the relationship between random staffing deviations and impacts on sales was statistically significant. Results showed an increase in labour spend pointed to increased sales at varying degrees, depending on known store attributes. Implementing the strategy for profit The study identified stores in a US retail chain which had the highest market potential, making them good candidates for an increased labour spend. The market potential factored in attributes like average basket value and proximity to competitors, which would create scenarios that allow workers to have the highest impact on converting sales. In the study, 168 stores were selected this way, then allocated a 10% increased labour budget over a 26-week period, of which 75% of the increase was actually consumed in practice by the stores. The outcome was a 4.5% increase in revenue at the impacted stores and resulting in a near $8.9 million profit increase. Learning from the strategy The study shows empirically why the common practice of setting labour budgets as a fixed proportion of forecasted revenue is often self-defeating when applied in a retail setting. An opportunity exists to all retailers to leverage this same profit-centric model for defining labour budgets. The data required is available to all retailers however, it may just be a matter of leveraging that information with the right systems. An integrated forecasting strategy that integrates foot traffic, sales, and employee scheduling data is a practical opportunity afforded to retailers of any size to optimise their labour resource allocations. The interesting part is, Fisher’s research is readily available to all retailers who are looking to drift away from the traditional method of fixing labor budget rosters. The next step is to get this method of labour resource allocation battle tested in the Australian markets. Stay tuned. Up next: What is the Contingent Workforce and how can you leverage it in your business?

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