Dr. Gary Mortimer on bending the rules of business
“Rules are important, but it’s just exactly how far we take those rules and how much flexibility or empowerment we give our team.”
An Associate Professor at the Queensland University of Technology, Dr. Gary Mortimer is Australia’s leading retail expert and researcher. A regular media commentator with more than 70 published manuscripts, articles, and industry reports, he brings to the table more than 25 years of experience working with the biggest retail brands in the country. Ahead of his session at this year’s Workforce Success Conference, the specialist in food retail, retail operations, and consumer behaviour sat down with Tanda to talk about staff empowerment, bending the rules a little, and doing something new.
Consumer-oriented Positive Deviance
Dr. Mortimer isn’t against rules. They’re integral for function.
“Rules are necessary, particularly if you’re running a financial organisation or a pharmacy or a retailer. You want to ensure there are some rules in place. You want your customers to walk in and have a positive experience, but also a consistent experience across your different brands, your different businesses.”
But bending the rules in service of overall productivity isn’t messing with them for the sake of it. Managers and employees need to look at what they can do to help customers, and finding a balance between rule enforcement and leniency is key.
He calls this “consumer-oriented positive deviance,” wherein team members are empowered enough that they can solve problems without needing a manager to sign off on every small decision. Employees enjoy this, and it results in a happier more satisfied team willing to stay longer at a job. (This topic would ring a bell to those who’ve heard his talk from last year’s Workforce Success Conference.)
Not only does it same time for leaders whose schedules are full of other matters, but it’s a way of looking at running your business through a different lens–a more strategic one.
“Differentiate, not demonstrate”
Observing how a variety of businesses have been responding to disruption in their chosen markets, Dr. Gary Mortimer implores workers to “differentiate, not demonstrate.” Uber’s launch in Australia is a prime example of the consequences of too much demonstration: traditional taxi companies held demonstrations against the ride-hailing app’s entry, but at the end of the day it was the customers who wanted an alternative anyway.
If customers clearly want the alternative, demonstrations are a negative way of responding to that challenge. That effort, according to Dr. Mortimer, could have instead been channeled into re-examining subpar business models and asking how they can differentiate moving forward: “Protest all you want, but it’s probably better to spend some positive energy looking at ‘how can I differentiate my business?’, ‘how can i understand my customers more?’”
Most companies do make strides to grow with the times, but fall short because they view changes as what they’re “supposed to do” rather than sincerely believing in the changes. Mortimer gives social media customer service as one example—how many brands have accounts for show, but fail to respond when an individual actually engages with them through there? Truly differentiating your business from the rest means a commitment to thoroughly execute plans.
Transforming the Retail Experience
The ubiquity of e-commerce can give physical stores a run for their money. However, this has pushed certain retailers to think about inventive ways to utilise store space to keep up.
Dr. Mortimer points out athleisure brand Lululemon. In theory, similar products can be found elsewhere for cheaper prices, but the brand builds loyalty by going beyond just selling products. “What they’re doing is they’re building community around their brand,” Dr. Mortimer says. They understand they can’t compete with other stores when it comes to price, so they tap into their customer base’s love for yoga and fitness instead by opening up their store after close of business and hosting free classes weekly.
Entirely new businesses are sprouting to solve the problems of traditional retail companies, too. Speed is currency now that nearly every retailer has an ecommerce store, so innovative startups are utilising the gig economy to fix consumer pain points.
“What we’re going to see, particularly in the retail space is that blending of physical and digital, and it has to be that way.”
The Future of Australian Retail
The takeaway from all of these observations? Longevity and name recall is not a savior. Many big retailers look the same to customers, so they will always tend towards the brand with the cheapest price unless it can differentiate and provide something other stores don’t have.
As some retailers won’t be able to keep up with the pressure to evolve, expect rationalisation of the marketplace in 3-5 years. Downsizing, store closures, the works—and use it as motivation to push your business further.
Want to know how to empower your employees and take your business to the next level? Catch Dr. Gary Mortimer’s talk alongside other great speakers at the Workforce Success Conference 2019, to be held on the 26th of July, 2019.
Industry Insights |
What is the Contingent Workforce and how can you leverage it in your business?
Phil caught up with the team at Sidekicker to learn more about how the contingent workforce is shaping successful workforces of the future. When we think of the contingent or temp workforce, we imagine the young Christmas casual or the temp that fills in at reception. These caricatures don’t inspire visions of influence and power and they certainly don’t appear as the kind of people that will have immense pull over the shape of the future. However, these workers are not only integral to keeping businesses moving but when they are empowered and treated right, they’re set to resculpt the entire employment landscape. What is the Contingent Workforce? Far more diverse than our initial imaginings of the temp receptionist, the contingent workforce is a subsection of the broader workforce that works flexibly. This includes casuals, contractors, and temps across a wide range of skill sets and capabilities. Contingent workers may choose to work for one business at a time or make up their working schedules across a variety of employers – but they are defined by their flexibility and impermanence. For businesses, these flexible workers solve a number of problems. From assisting in times of peak demand, covering for absent workers, lending external expertise, or allowing businesses safer, and simpler scalability, contingent workers allow businesses to improve productivity without the risk of additional permanent wages. How does the Contingent Workforce generate influence? Today, the contingent workforce makes up more than one-third of the entire AU/NZ workforce. This number is growing rapidly, and with it, the opportunity for businesses to benefit from the flexibility these workers bring. As the size and saturation of the contingent workforce grows – so too do the impacts they have on the way businesses and workers see employment. With 163,000 new contingent workers joining the workforce in recent years, and early results from 2017 showing considerable growth in both people looking for flexible opportunities, and businesses offering them – the size of this labour pool is only set to increase. Research shows that many senior HR Managers expect the contingent share of the workforce to grow to almost 50%. The bigger the size of the workforce and the more businesses that benefit, the more the impacts of bringing in contingent workers are amplified. In this way, the contingent workforce begins to exert greater influence over the working landscape. What does this power mean for the future? The impacts of this growing, flexible workforce are already beginning to manifest in a handful of ways. These considerations are integral to how flexible workers will be dealt with in future and what the landscape could look like. 1. Contingent workers are changing management styles. As more and more business engage contingent workers, they create situations where permanent and temporary staff must cooperate regularly to achieve business goals. This will force managers to reconsider the way they deal with their teams. How do you unite and motivate a team who aren’t always together? 2. Contingent workers are changing the way staff are engaged. The more the contingent workforce grows, the more it drives development of technology that supports it. As technology gets better, more and more connections between businesses and the appropriate flexible workers will happen digitally and simultaneously – making employee engagement simpler and allowing staffing managers to focus on other aspects of their role. 3. Contingent workers are changing the quality of the contingent workforce. With more businesses recognising the value in flexible engagements, the more they will engage the third party recruitment firms that know where to access them. Because it is in the best interests of these firms to present only the top-tier candidates, the overall pool of flexible workers will improve. The top-tier will build skills through constant engagement and the remaining talent will need to work to improve their performance to access opportunities. Growing at a rapid pace and picking up considerable influence, the contingent workforce is something businesses can no longer ignore. While recognising and leveraging their benefits in your business is a great first step – it’s important to understand how you will respond to the trends they are creating. To learn more about how flexible workers are impacting the future of work, check out the Contingent Workforces eBook here.
Events & Media AU |
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, and executives. Reianna Vercoe, Product & Marketing Manager for Aurion, said that the Workforce Success Conference provided Aurion a fantastic outlet to access a wide range of businesses, providing a great platform for diversifying their client base. “Last year was a great opportunity to meet Tanda users and understand more about what drives them.” Vercoe said. “Those insights really helped to enhance our solutions, meaning we can deliver even more value to our Tanda-integrated clients. We’re looking forward to partnering with Tanda again to make the 2019 event an even bigger success than last year’s. We were impressed by the inaugural event in 2018 making the decision to retain our spot as the headline conference sponsor an easy one.” Tanda CEO, Jake Philpot, said that he’s anticipating this year’s attendance to double that of the first event, expecting over 600 frontline managers, business owners, and executives. Philpot said the event theme, which focuses on helping businesses unlock growth through creating a highly engaged front-line workforce, is the only conference of its kind in the world: “Other workforce conferences focus solely on Human Resources practitioners or workforce planners. There exists nothing as practical as the Workforce Success Conference. At no other conference do you see board-level executives sitting next to their front-line managers, aligned in the common goal of increasing revenue through workforce success.” The Workforce Success Conference will be held on 26 July 2019 in Brisbane. Learn more by visiting www.workforcesuccess.com/conference * * * Tanda is a market leader in workforce management software, eliminating paperwork with products such as the selfie time clock, intelligent rostering system, automatic award calculator, attendance-to-payroll integration, Shift Swapping, and more. Operating in Brisbane, London, Los Angeles, and Manila, Tanda is committed to raising the quality of work around the world — one shift at a time. To learn more, visit www.tanda.co.
Industry Insights |
Achieving Workforce Success: Becoming a Data-driven Workforce
Achieving workforce success (WS) means being driven, open-minded, empowering, and the ultimate master of your work. In this part of the series, we’ll focus on being driven. WS Champions are driven because they are doers who maximise their resources in order to deliver quality outputs. One readily available, indeed ubiquitous, resource is data. How do you use data to achieve WS? Today’s professionals constantly and consistently use the cloud, analytics, mobile, and social technologies. Data, and how we share data, is at the very core of how we get work done. From the way we calendar meetings to how we collaborate on reports and track progress, we always use some form of technology. The applications of technology have gone far. But they can go much further, right into the heart of business: workforce management. No company or organization will survive without its workforce. However, we often use outdated systems to manage them. Data and digital technology are highly transformative, and businesses need to take advantage of it. So what does it mean to have a data-driven workforce? It means harnessing technology to not only solve challenges in the workplace, but also to optimize it. Investing in the correct workforce technology can empower employees while resulting in long-term savings for the business. Below, we explore how your organization can develop a more data-driven workforce. Automating time and attendance Cloud, analytics, mobile, and social technologies are key innovations that have had an impact on the workplace. Integrating any and all of these into day-to-day operations can revolutionize the way you work. You can do this via cloud-based automation of time and attendance. This is a popular solution because time and attendance are “highly necessary but tedious processes that are the fastest and cheapest to automate,” according to Terry Walby of the FinancialDirector. When you shift to a cloud-based HR platform, you can expect reduced administrative costs. You can also expect automated onboarding for new employees, and more accurate timesheets. You will no longer need to manually track leaves, sort out onboarding documents and attendance records, or calculate payroll manually. Best of all, you will never need to worry about wage theft accusations. Read more: Taking Back Time: Solving the enduring wage theft problem in Australia Wage theft, and the millions in back pay some businesses have had to comply with, is not an issue with the correct automation software. With all this out of the way, managers can spend more resources planning for the business and improving morale. Integrating automation Besides time and attendance, management firm Ascentis also recommends automating benefit calculation and legal compliance. Optimizing shifts and shift swapping Cloud-based HR can also help you optimize shifts by ensuring that you have the right person, in the right place, at the right time without having to physically check in on your employees. Software like Tanda can predict staff counts: it determines staffing levels with smart algorithms and facilitates updating your roster to reflect that. This way, you can save money on labor while delivering the best possible service to your customers. Even better, Tanda’s new feature, Shift Swapping, takes shift management in service-oriented industries to another level. Hospitality staff, for example, can request to drop or cover a shift right from their app, while the manager controls all swap approvals and roster updates. Absences are inevitable, but unfilled shifts are not, so the shift swapping feature is a useful addition to service-oriented industries. Read more: Achieving Workforce Success: Shift Swapping for Managers Using data to expand business Finally, a data-driven workforce means being able to use data to not only succeed in the day-to-day tasks but also to expand the business. More systems today are being integrated, facilitating a better analysis of how the business works. They make it easy for owners and managers to generate financial and operations reports. Seeing the big picture and planning for the future is easier with the right data at hand. With cloud-based HR, managers and business owners have access to insights that were not available before. You can correlate different types of data for better benchmarking purposes. For example, Tanda lets managers track business revenue and labor costs in real time while complying with all the labor and data privacy laws. Managers can make smarter decisions and ensure that the business will grow over time, without having to do excessive administrative work. Read more: The Digital Workforce Success Revolution: Why you need to shift to cloud-based HR today Data has had an unprecedented impact over the way we do things at work. Indeed, it is almost impossible to imagine a time before the cloud, analytics, mobile, and social technologies. The long-term benefits are more than worth the initial birthing pains, as most businesses see an increase in workforce productivity and savings. Taking advantage of these innovations may well determine if a business will succeed in this increasingly fast-paced world. Ready to find out what Tanda can do for your business? Book a demo today.