From cloud-based data management to employee apps, the way retailers use technology to do business is shifting, and that shift starts with employees. When executed thoughtfully, better HR tech leads to better work culture, increased retention rates and improved efficiency — a win-win situation all around.
“Seventy to 90% of retail staff are hourly, and by using the right technologies, you can create an employee experience that makes them feel connected to your company no matter their location,” says Alesandra Gonzalez-Martinez, director of HR at Taylor Gourmet. As a company that prides itself on retention, HR tech is part of that success equation.
Here are four HR tech trends that have gained traction in the retail world and affected how retailers are running their businesses.
In the restaurant world, roughly 50% of employees are native Spanish-speakers. In order to foster transparent and consistent communication between HR departments and all employees, companies have deployed multilingual communication tools.
“These systems can translate anything I write into the employee’s native language, which expedites everything from the hiring and application process to onboarding employees,” says Gonzalez-Martinez. From these systems, HR teams can send messages, documents and notices all in each employee’s native language, eliminating misunderstandings and showing employees that the company cares about their experience at work.
New HR platforms make personal interaction possible at any size company. These systems allow employees to check their schedules and allow HR departments to ask questions to get a pulse on each retail location.
“When an employee clocks in, questions pop up that require an answer before they can log their time. From simply indicating whether they had a good day to verifying their boss completed their performance review, this sends critical information back to the company’s home base,” says, Gonzalez-Martinez. For growing companies with locations around the country or the globe, these systems provide critical feedback about each store, its employees and managers and give employees a voice and connection to HQ.
Paperless HR Departments
Traditional HR departments are filled with filing cabinets for endless amounts of paper. Now, thanks to new technology, HR teams can be completely paperless. Not only does this make workspaces clean and manageable, but it also “allows companies not to worry about where files are, especially when they’re in growth mode,” says Gonzalez-Martinez. Using cloud technology means all documents from offer letters to I-9s are accessible, no matter where someone physically works.
The majority of retail staff is hourly, and retail tends to have a high turnover rate. To mitigate staff fluctuations and retain great employees, performance-management systems have gained popularity. With the help of these systems, retailers can focus on identifying skills gaps and implementing training programs that benefit their staff. These technologies have enabled retailers to become more action-oriented and proactive, since they have real data at their fingertips that speak to what employees need.
Performance-management systems have also encouraged more regular conversations between employees and managers for feedback and praise, which was not the norm a few years ago. These systems are shifting how retailers groom their employees and create opportunities for growth within their companies.
HR technologies are improving how retailers run their HR departments as they promote the business’s mission, no matter the location. Most importantly, they “provide a sense of security and connection for employees,” says Gonzalez-Martinez. “Our work culture lives in these technologies.”