by Rotageek on 19 October 2020
Workforce management (WFM) technology and staff scheduling solutions have been around for a long time. But only recently, with the rise of algorithmic tech, have they become something that’s truly able to transform a business.
In this article, we share how optimised employee scheduling benefits franchises.
Workforce management became an industry when entrepreneurs realised that simply digitising a paper-based rota isn’t a solution. That’s just a new interface. The real game-changer for shift-based employers, is in scheduling in a way that is data-driven, fair, and sustainable. And better yet, a way that can give users important data that’ll really have the power to positively impact their business.
Done right, good scheduling can be a competitive advantage.
In a nutshell, workforce management and staff scheduling can dramatically improve business performance by:
And for franchises, the benefits are just as clear.
Read on to delve into the details of what staff scheduling solutions entail and how they can revolutionise your franchise management.
Workforce management and staff scheduling solutions are typically made up of the following features.
Some providers will have both a web and mobile app to allow all employees to use the product, whilst others will limit usability to managers only. At Rotageek, we think it’s really important that every person impacted by staffing can interact with the system - be it a head office director or a part-time shop-floor employee. So we develop web and mobile apps that cater for everyone.
But how do these features specifically support franchise management? Below are four key areas guaranteed to benefit both your head office and partners.
When it comes to chain or franchise restaurants such as McDonalds, KFC and Nando’s, the most important consideration is a dependable team who can deliver on your fast-paced, quality customer service promises.
This is no easy feat. Diverse levels of staff are required to fill positions both front and back of house. Scheduling these correct roles to create an optimised team - who not only gel but can ensure a smooth operation - is complicated.
Automatic scheduling takes into account the required skill sets and mix as well as hundreds of additional data points to mathematically produce the most optimised rota possible. They also enable employee autonomy, allowing users to swap (and pick up) shifts directly on the platform.
What’s more, advanced workforce management systems remember availability and preference - enabling a better work-life balance for team members. This also frees up invaluable time for managers, leaving them focused on the bigger picture.
Today, interactive platforms allow for a self-service opportunity for employees to access the system using their mobile phones and ability to view their schedule 27/4, remotely. This not only facilitates efficiency in the flow of information and engagement but also saves time having scheduling related discussions.
Whilst most food related franchises tend to be able to predict accurate demand, within retail there lies a different story.
Footfall will tell you the amount of people going into a store. But what it doesn’t share is how many people in the shop make a purchase, or need assistance. For some retailers such as Specsavers and Swarovski, they are presented with an interesting challenge of providing both a service and selling products. There are therefore more complex factors that need to be taken into consideration in regards to staffing. For example, should we increase service on days with higher footfall, but less sales?
Retailers need to implement a more thorough understanding of what drives demand - particularly in a Covid-19 world where trends are less predictable. Looking at footfall data in isolation won’t tell us much, but understanding footfall, weather, transaction and seasonal figures may give us a really good understanding of how many people should be in-store at any given point.
A retail workforce management solution does more than just replace an old process with a very similar new one. A good and advanced solution will enable franchise owners and head office to get a really detailed insight into what drives sales.
We all know that service is important for building brand loyalty - even if you’re not selling - however there is still room to optimise and test. Advanced WFM solutions allow businesses to do this. Franchise owners can view insights on their own store and the business as a whole (trends), and are empowered to experiment and optimise within their own store and share knowledge across the estate.
WFM solutions enable businesses to schedule not only on a store by store basis, but also across clusters. This means that if a shop in a region is in need of cover, they can request to have a team member from another shop help them out.
Franchise owners love to share knowledge, but they’re typically less happy to share employees. “I don’t want to share my superstars - what if they want to join another shop?” - the fear of losing valuable employees to other shops isn’t totally unreasonable. However, working in clusters can also have the opposite effect: retention. What if a team member wants more hours, but is unable to get them in one store? Instead of going to a competing brand, working in clusters means employees can have the amount of hours they need.
A more advanced and data-driven way of scheduling can help make this happen really smoothly, from sending out cover request notifications to nearby shops, to correctly paying each employee.
Solutions such as WFM can empower franchise businesses to collaborate more than ever before. Really, to change this culture every franchise needs to be on board. Businesses can’t have some franchises working for the brand, and some working for their own businesses. But if everyone commits, franchise-model retailers can ultimately achieve success for each franchise and the brand as a whole.
Technology is no longer an option - it is a mandatory part of brand development that affects not only customer loyalty but talent acquisition and retention too.
Staff turnover rates in retail are among the highest of all industries. The average US retailer has to replace more than 60% of their staff every year, waiting an average of 23 weeks for new employees to put in their best performance at work. This has a detrimental effect on revenue with the increase of expenses and training fees.
By providing the best in class technology to their franchises, brands of every industry can expect rewards. Workforce management solutions provide a simple answer to the increasing demand for flexible working - the number one motivator for employee productivity.
Franchise employee scheduling gives owners the tools and time they need to implement this practice. And both staff and employers will feel the benefit. Flexible schedules maintain a fair and personable culture in the workplace whilst helping a business to meet fluctuating employee requirements.