Talent shortage problems? 3 ways to optimise your existing workforce

by Rotageek on 19 January 2023

There’s no magic wand to make recruiting retail and hospitality talent easier at the moment.

Everyone is dealing with the talent shortage. Market research shows 99% of UK retail leaders are worried about it, with larger retailers the most concerned.

And it doesn’t matter whether you call it a talent shortage or a labour shift. One consultancy has discussed how retail workers have shifted their priorities and moved on in search of new experiences – but the result is still a shortage of available workers.

The only way to try and beat the talent shortage is to do something different, according to KPMG. And retailers are trying all sorts, including pay increases to attract staff (76% of KPMG survey respondents), focusing on career development (over 50%), employee recognition programmes (41%).

Ultimately, since you can’t make talent appear out of thin air, you’ve got to do more with the talent you’ve got.

So, let’s look at some of the ways you can rota software to optimise your workforce, improve retail productivity, and overcome difficulties arising from the talent shortage.

Optimise your rotas

Are you really short on staff, or could a better rota system help you fill your shifts with the talent you have?

Even if you do have a talent shortage, better rotas could help by improving your labour-to-demand match. This means you can allocate your existing staff to shifts in a smarter way, which reduces waste.

A rota software solution does this by:

  • More accurately forecasting your labour demand, using data such as footfall and transactions, to show you how many staff you really need. For some shifts, it could be less than you currently schedule.

  • Creating cost-efficient rotas or schedules for you, which perfectly meet your new labour demand forecasts.

The result, for Rotageek customers at least, is a proven improvement in labour to demand match by up to 25%, and labour spend savings of up to 8%.

Avoid gaps with smart leave and absence

Retail talent shortages can leave you short-staffed. If an employee is sick or leaves suddenly, you might not have enough backup to cover their shifts. Mistakes around granting leave can also leave you short-staffed, for example when a manager accidentally approves a leave request for a shift that can’t be covered, or a worker who already took all their holidays.

Modern rota software can help you overcome short-staffing. A smart solution provides smart leave and absence features so you can:

  • Use rule-based leave approval that you can configure. For example, you could require at least one highly-skilled staff member to be present for every shift, and flag any leave request that would break this rule. You can automatically decline requests where the employee has already used their allowance. It also helps you stay compliant with employment law.

  • Avoid being short-staffed with helpful tools, like real-time attendance views that show managers if a worker has recorded an absence. If someone is missing, managers can find a replacement with a click.

Engage workers in a way that improves productivity

Perhaps the best way to optimise your workforce is to increase their happiness and wellbeing – because these are strongly linked to productivity.

Rota software can make a big impact here by making work more flexible. Many workers today say a flexible workplace is the most important thing for them, according to research reported by Forbes.

Market leading solutions provide workers with a mobile app they can use to request leave, swap shifts, and pick up extra shifts more easily. It supports a better work-life balance and has been shown to improve employee fairness sentiment by at least 4 points.

That could help improve retention, reducing the impact of the talent shortage on your business.

Learn more about implementing these ideas

The cost of the retail talent shortage is high, but using a workforce optimisation solution like Rotageek isn’t. You could save on labour spend and reduce scheduling costs while you improve retail productivity.

Click below to talk to a member of our team and learn more.

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