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Industry Innovation: Flexible Scheduling – From Vision to Reality
On October 3, Progressive Grocer published an article about a new type of scheduling implemented by Schnucks that it internally branded as “Schnucks Flexforce.” The “Schnucks Flexforce” toolkit was developed in collaboration with Logile and is generally available (GA) as part of Logile’s Flexible Scheduling portfolio.
There has been a fundamental change in the post pandemic workforce. The pandemic created a desire in workers to have more control over their work-life balance. There have also been recent innovations that have influenced the post pandemic worker’s mindset. These include the flexible model of rideshare work and the expectation of perks and incentives we are witnessing today. This, of course, greatly affects retailers during a time when available hourly labor is becoming scarce and more difficult to attract and retain.
This new reality challenges virtually every retailer. They are faced with:
- Labor shortages: Many associates were lost during the pandemic as “The Great Resignation” progressed and the market experienced a greater decline in young adults joining the workforce.
- High inflation: Unprecedented inflation has impacted customer shopping priorities and will continue to do so for some time.
- Growth of online delivery services: The growth of jobs in rideshare and food delivery industries are of great appeal to younger people who otherwise would be looking for jobs in the retail industry. Center store items are commoditized and can be bought through online channels.
- Changing associate expectations around work and work-life balance: The pandemic has shifted associates to favor a work-life balance across all age groups.
- Regulatory policies around predictive scheduling: Policies and legislative mandates are intended to force retailers to address certain issues undermining associate work-life balance.
Bottom line, retailers are operating with a new and more difficult set of challenges. Industry pioneers like Schnucks believe that just because associates are much harder to find and retain does not mean that suitable skilled people are not available. Rather, the prospect of traditional employment is not a good fit for their needs and expectations. For us, the question became how can Logile help in solving this paradigm?
We started looking at rideshare and food delivery services that have, in recent years, created new opportunities allowing people to control both what they do and when they do it. Bringing this same idea to retail is behind our development of Flexible Scheduling. Back in April, Logile announced Flexible Scheduling as a strategic approach to address this change in associate behavior. Working in close collaboration with Schnucks on Flexforce gave us the opportunity to build out all the necessary features to address these challenges for both union and non-union associates and allow configurability across all types of retail environments.
Highlights of Logile Flexible Scheduling
- Promotes work-life balance by allowing associates to pick their own shifts while still meeting workload requirements of the store
- Addresses labor shortages in today’s shift-work landscape
- Supports a new type of “flex” associate, who are neither full-time nor part-time, and are not scheduled, but are available to bid on available shifts
- Allows regular and flex associates to pick up rideshare-style shifts on demand to earn additional pay
- Ensures real-time regulatory, union and organizational compliance
- Integrates with time and attendance and attendance control for real-time pay visibility
- Fully configurable workflow based on business and organizational needs
- Gamify the scheduling and workforce process to allow associates to earn points and badges
- Utilize points in scheduling and rewards
- Integrate with existing award and recognition software
Flexible Scheduling is part of what we will be sharing with all our retailer partners at Ascend 2022, Logile’s upcoming Annual Retail Solutions Summit October 11-13. Closely working with Schnucks has given us a significant edge with flexible scheduling in a mixed union and non-union environment. We will provide highlights and recommendations based on our collaboration with Schnucks and how they built their program, aligned business stakeholders, collaborated with their union, and shared with associates and potential new associates.