The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic brought about myriad challenges for businesses, with labour shortages being a prominent concern. Could the solution to this problem be found within the realm of workforce management? ShopWorks delved into the issue with a survey in October 2022, revealing startling figures from 35 UK and Irish businesses with a combined total of over 50,000 hourly paid employees.
A significant 56% remarked, “We can’t meet our recruitment needs, and we are losing more staff than we are recruiting.” Meanwhile, 55% stated, “We are reducing opening hours because we don’t have enough staff.” Clearly, these shortages are costing businesses both time and money.
We would also encourage employers to look at their workforce management software because it can help in a couple of areas, helping you calculate an accurate staffing level which may show that you didn’t have a shortage in the first place and second by keeping staff happier so you improve staff retention.
Let’s start by looking at how the demand forecasting element of workforce management software can help with labour shortages.
Most employers will instinctively turn to recruitment and retention to solve labour shortages. A more profound question to ponder is: why do you feel you’re understaffed?
Often, companies assess their workforce based on the current labour demand forecast. But what if that forecast isn’t accurate?
Where Labour Demand Forecasts Go Awry
ShopWorks’ experience with assessing existing labour demand forecasts highlighted numerous pitfalls:
- Lack of a Model: Some businesses stick to a generic working pattern without adapting to demand.
- Excessive Manual Input: Relying heavily on manual spreadsheets and manager inputs can introduce biases and overestimations.
- Infrequent Updates: Models that aren’t frequently updated fail to reflect real-world factors like seasonality and holidays.
- Absence of a Prior Sales Forecast: This often leads to further reliance on manual inputs.
- One-size-fits-all Models: Different locations have varying staffing needs.
- Overly Simplistic Models: Just adding hours based on yearly sales growth doesn’t account for daily or hourly demand changes.
If any of these challenges sound familiar, you might not have a staff shortage but rather an inaccurate labour demand model.
Workforce Management: Beyond Just Numbers
An AI-Powered Labour Demand Forecast, like the one offered by ShopWorks, does more than just accurately predict staffing needs. It considers various real-world factors, reallocates hours to peak times for maximised revenue, and eliminates the “padding” that inflates perceived labour shortages. We’ve seen the practical results: a client with 5,000 staff across 52 venues once believed they had too few staff. After implementing our system, they no longer see gaps in their workforce.
However, accurate labour demand forecasting is just one dimension of workforce management. Modern solutions, like what ShopWorks offers, provide employees with tools that enhance their work experience, including:
- Accurate Pay: Ensuring that employees are paid accurately and on time.
- Improved Communication: Streamlining communication between staff and management.
- Effortless Leave Booking: Allowing employees to book leave with ease.
- Shift Swapping: Offering flexibility by letting staff swap shifts.
- Promote Employee Fairness: Remove human biases by using AI for scheduling and time-off approval.
Retaining Staff with Retention.AI
One of the game-changing modules ShopWorks provides is Retention.Ai. This predictive tool gauges an employee’s likelihood of leaving, enabling HR and managers to take proactive steps. By addressing potential issues before they escalate, companies can improve staff retention and, consequently, reduce the effects of staff shortages.
Before diving headfirst into recruitment campaigns, businesses should evaluate the effectiveness of their workforce management and labour demand forecasts. With the right tools and approach, you might discover that the solution to your staffing woes is more accessible than previously thought. Workforce management doesn’t just fill shifts; it elevates the entire employee experience, fostering loyalty and job satisfaction.