Leverage Technology to Mitigate Staffing Shortages
Sponsored content from our partner ADD Systems.
It’s no news that the labor shortage is still going strong, and it’s frustrating for retailers who are trying to make their job openings more attractive with improved benefits and pay to little avail. Of course, they can and should continue to look for new methods to attract employees, but there is another way to respond—use technology to run more efficiently and lessen dependence on the slim applicant pool.
The goal hasn’t changed, but technology has
Set aside the labor shortage and think about the ultimate goal for a convenience store—it’s to create a great customer experience in order to solidify loyalty and, ultimately, maximize profits. This goal is still attainable with a smaller staff, if technology is there to streamline processes. It’s simple—more efficient processes and fewer manual tasks require less staff.
Clarify staffing needs
The first thing to figure out is true staffing needs. Just because a store has always staffed a certain way or kept certain hours does not mean it should continue. Software can help make sense of store traffic to assist in making new, informed staffing decisions.
Simplify the job
Technology can simplify a clerk’s job to save time and lower staffing needs. A centralized pricebook, controlled by the back office, means easy, fast scanning at the register with accurate pricing and no guesswork. Inventory receipts at the store can be streamlined as well with a handheld scanner used to scan invoices and automatically verify accurate item cost. New self-service options such as kiosks or phone apps can also handle a large portion of staff responsibilities. With multiple streamlined processes, staffing needs are lower and remaining staff are unburdened from manual processes and empowered to be more successful in their primary role of giving great customer service.
Empower management oversight
Getting comfortable with the idea of smaller store staff can be a difficult switch for upper management, but technology can help with that, too. The home office can easily stay on top of store performance with exception-based processing and reporting. Managing by exception means drawing out only what needs attention based on an acceptable range of data. If a cashier is doing well, they won’t appear on an exception report, but if that cashier is, for example, posting an unacceptable amount of voids, the home office will see that in its exception reporting. An email alert can even be sent automatically to management, who can then reach out to the employee. It’s a way of closely monitoring performance without physically looking over a clerk’s shoulder.
Technology: the answer to a difficult problem
The labor shortage has no clear end in sight, so it makes sense to come at the problem from a different angle. Today’s technology can make it easier to run lean without burdening smaller staffs, and it can make the management of that staff efficient and simple as well. If hiring a new employee seems elusive, take a hard look at technology as a way to keep the store lean, high-functioning and successful.
This post is sponsored by ADD Systems