How to Future Proof Your Retail Business and its Rosters

Lisa Spiden

The holiday and new year period can be a chaotic time for retail businesses, and as we embark on the second month of 2022 in a not-so-normal time as lockdowns ease and regular trading hours return, many retailers will be looking at ways to recoup losses and take up new opportunities to get ahead financially.

Typically, November, December and January may have been treated as a no-go zone for making changes to rosters in retail, however, Lisa Spiden, Founder and CEO of Workforce Analytics, feels not reviewing rosters in January and February is an opportunity not to be missed.

There are some tips when it comes to building efficient, financially beneficial rosters that many retailers don't know about, and Lisa shares some of these in her recent interview here.

After working with many retail organisations from a HR perspective, Lisa saw a critical need to support retailers with understanding the true possibilities available when it comes to optimising their rosters.

The truth is, your rosters could be doing so much more for your business, according to Lisa Spiden. In her interview she shares that a truly optimal roster should be doing the following for your business:

- Saving you money

- Providing the most efficient rosters possible

- Meeting the requirements of your business, staff and customers

- Improving sustainability

- Improving profitability

- Better servicing your clients

In her interview, Lisa shares,

“The reason I started Workforce Analytics back in 2013 is because I saw so many retail businesses needing to close down because they couldn’t find a way to remain profitable with their customer and business demands. What we know at Workforce Analytics is that by mathematically constructing rosters you can receive the best possible rosters based on the things that are most important - and necessary -for your company”.

So what are the current methods used to construct good rosters?

1 - Manual methods - essentially using the skillset of your staff to create and improve rosters

2 - AI and Machine Learning software methods - technology that forecasts the upcoming customer demand based on historical rosters, and creates the most accurate roster based on your library of past rosters. 

3 - Mathematical Roster Optimisation methods - technology and mathematical expertise that factors in your unique business requirements and rules, defining the best possible roster out of all possibilities that exist 

Obviously, relying on manual rosters has its downside, given there is 100% reliance on your staff and their rostering capability. However, relying solely on AI/Machine learning software may not get you the result you’re after either. The main reason being that this type of software requires your historical data (i.e. what you have worked previously) to have been efficient and somewhat optimal to begin with in order to continue providing good rosters in the future. This presents a problem for many retailers because they run the risk of replicating the same issues in their business if the rostering process hasn’t been providing them with the benefits laid out above i.e. having the correct people working at the right time and saving you money.

Mathematically optimising your rosters does not limit you to only analysing your historical data, instead it gives you the best opportunity possible to configure good rosters that can support your business to increase profitability and minimise wage costs, all while meeting your legal obligations

So why don’t retailers prioritise roster optimisation now? 

Most retailers don’t see roster optimisation, or constructing efficient rosters, as a strategic task - especially at the beginning of a new year. Lisa Spiden explains in her interview why this is a missing link - and huge opportunity- for many of these organisations. Lisa shares:

“Roster optimisation is actually a very strategic element of your business and not an administrative task because it directly links sales, service, pay compliance and business profitability providing a linchpin for the sustainability and success of your business. It is the one core thing that ties these elements together and I see many businesses missing this. Not treating your rosters as a strategic task is having a knock on effect across all of these critical elements of your business, including its profitability.”

So what now?

Where do you start in constructing your rosters in an optimal way to improve profitability, minimise wage costs and improve customer satisfaction as soon as possible?

Check out Lisa’s recent interview for retailers for immediate guidance on where to begin.

Workforce Analytics has designed world-leading technologies and methodologies to help businesses unlock a superior level of performance. Using data science, sophisticated mathematics, optimisation, AI and Machine Learning,Workforce Analytics can construct workforce management solutions that cover payroll compliance, rostering, sales optimisation and demand predictions.

Roster Right, our Roster Optimisation solution, uses advanced Mathematical Optimisation to construct the best roster possible for your business, increasing productivity and profitability.

Want to know more about how to truly optimise your rosters?
Schedule a 1:1 discovery call below or enquire about our proof of concept workshop.