3 minute read

It Takes a Village: Building a Support Team for Your Labor Management Journey

There’s a common belief that it takes a village to raise a child. And as a mother of two young girls, I could not agree more.

A village includes many people that in some way, shape or form will have an influence on the upbringing of a child. As the parent, you carry the most responsibility (your name is on the birth certificate after all), but you gladly welcome support and guidance from many others along the way. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, babysitters, neighbors. The list goes on. Everyone in the village plays a vital role, whether that be big or small, and all of these people share the same goal of loving that child and giving them everything they need to be successful in life.

In our professional lives, our responsibilities don’t come with the diapers, boogers and hugs of a young child, but for those who are truly passionate about their work, it’s easy to understand why they say “this is my baby.”

Many of you reading this probably feel this way. You have the responsibility of developing a special program for your company. A perfect example is building and managing a labor model to implement into business locations. Once it is put in place within the organization, it needs nurturing to grow. And this, too, takes a village.

The success of your labor model relies on both the leadership of your company, the “parenting” of those with direct responsibility, but also the extended resources of your village. Who is in your village depends on the size of your organization and how long you’ve been on the labor model journey, but will include executives, district/regional management, store personnel, human resources, category merchants, finance and, undoubtably, others unique to your situation. As you pull this support system together, it is necessary for everyone involved to be aligned around the labor model and its purpose, as well as involved in keeping it current to reflect changes in the business, facilities, merchandising and service objectives.

You don’t have to limit needed support to those within your own organization. However, it is important that the people in your village, including third-party solution providers, share the same vision and values—your vision and values—for long-term success. Consider the areas in which a partner can provide additional skills and layers of support depending on what already exists in your village.

Industrial engineering

An industrial engineering team can assist with the work evaluation process by identifying opportunity and design solutions or eliminating waste to improve productivity and customer experience. This includes developing engineered standards and labor models that support a company’s operating goals and form the foundation for task-based-scheduling.

Software solutions

Building the perfect labor model or scheduling program with the ancient method of pen on paper, or even the fanciest of spreadsheets, takes a lot of time and comes with many risks. Choose a solutions provider that can deliver the necessary tools to achieve your goals, while doing so in an efficient manner.

Project management

A project manager, together with implementation advisors or specialists, provides dedicated support during the initial phase of deploying software and solutions into your organization. They assist with configuration, coaching and other setup tasks to get you started on the right foot.

Data integration

A solid labor model requires the right inputs such as sales, items, customers and transactions. Feeding the right information into the program will help to maintain accuracy and enable customized labor plans from one location to the next.

Training and support

Those supporting your initiative must possess the knowledge to do so. Executives may only need foundational knowledge, while other key players may need a more thorough understanding of the tools and software to be used. Consider a partner that can not only provide the up-front training but will be there to provide ongoing support for questions or problems that one might encounter along the way.

Who is in your village? Does everyone share the same vision for where your labor plan will take you? Consider what is best for your organization, and make sure to include all of those people who have the skills and determination to help you to take it there. Building your village may not be easy, but it will most definitely be worth it.

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