For many retailers, store associates are considered valuable commodities that help drive sales and overall success for their brick-and-mortar business.
Crate and Barrel is one retailer that fully embraces this concept. With the goal of providing consumers with the products and expertise they need to successfully entertain friends and family, the furniture and home décor retailer knows that associates are central to helping the business thrive.
“If you do not have employees who care about the product you’re offering to customers, nothing else you do really matters,” said Katherine Haliski, VP of Retail for Crate and Barrel, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. Because of this, the retailer puts a “big emphasis on selecting people who have a lot of passion for making your home beautiful and comfortable, and most importantly, a lot of passion around creativity and building relationships. If you start there, then the tools really let that passion blossom.”
It also is important that retailers provide the tools and resources to help store managers and associates do their jobs effectively. Elements of workforce management, such as employee scheduling, shift changing, vacation request, and more, all play a prominent role in how a store — and its associates — performs.
Turning Passion Into Profitability
As part of a company-wide effort to improve engagement and profitability at the store level, Crate and Barrel implemented the Dayforce HCM solution from Ceridian. With the SaaS application, store managers have access to a suite of intuitive tools to address all staff management needs from a single location.
“Ceridian has helped us look at our associates’ responsibilities and tasks, and remove everything that would interfere with their customer interactions,” Haliski explained. “We have information that tells us when the customer is in the store and what associate-to-customer ratio would be best at a specific time.”
Store managers have access to an assortment of store-level data, including traffic patterns, as well as peak demand times and days. Not only does this information enable managers to determine how many people to schedule at a specific moment, but also craft employee schedules and distribute tasks so they can get the most value and enjoyment out of their positions.
Because managers can make more intelligent, data-supported decisions regarding employee scheduling, “associates can still receive product education, skill training and be available to work with customers when needed,” Haliski noted. Now, store associates’ jobs are more focused on the customer experience, rather than simply multitasking.
Self-Service Options Improve Employee Satisfaction
Using Dayforce HCM, employees are allowed to enter the system, access their schedule, change shift availability and request time off.
In the winter of 2013, Crate and Barrel also implemented a shift-swapping functionality, which enables associates to manage their schedules and exchange hours with associates who are eligible for the position and are available to work that specific shift.
These self-service capabilities “give employees more power over their schedules,” noted Andrew Ford, Lead Business Solution Analyst at Crate and Barrel. “It’s all on record, so they no longer have to write requests on post-it notes or use other manual processes.”
The Web-based scheduling system can be accessed online, which “empowered our workforce and helped with associate adoption,” adds Ford. Dayforce even provides a mobile app for employees, which Crate and Barrel indicated it may offer employees access to in the future.