Workforce Transformation Technology Trends 2022

Workforce Transformation Technology Trends 2022

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1. Smart recruitment and retention

From the minute a job advert is published, AI and machine learning can begin to support hiring managers, playing a key role in CV and interview selection.  It can help to optimise complex shift patterns, create consolidated digital platforms for communication between head office and staff, and improve employee experience 

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1. Smart recruitment and retention

(EX) by providing greater access to training and support. It can also play a role in big picture, strategic decisions too, monitoring diversity and inclusion (D&I), helping to facilitate a growing network of freelance workers, and ensuring compliance with what has fast become a minefield of regulation.

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2. Automated workforce scheduling

It may be a critical part of optimising productivity, but workforce scheduling can also be both time-consuming and tedious. Particularly in retail, where shift patterns can be irregular, seasonal and subject to last-minute changes.  Which is why a growing number of businesses are opting to integrate tools and technologies that can automate 

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2. Automated workforce scheduling

the process and improve how they use their most important resource: their people. The benefits can be significant. Not only can this type of technology free up time by automating complex tasks, but it can also support retailers in making smarter scheduling decisions. For example, it can draw on ops and in-store data to strategically improve the 

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2. Automated workforce scheduling

efficiency of schedules, while managing fatigue to boost workplace safety.

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3. Investment in employee communication channels

Though frontline retail staff were one of the few industries largely unaffected by a shift to remote work at the height of the pandemic, the experience has still served to highlight to retail head offices the importance of digital touchpoints that allow them to keep communication channels with their staff open, wherever they might be.

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3. Investment in employee communication channels

The creation of mobile workforce apps is expected to grow as a result.  Acting as next-generation intranets, these apps can serve as a portal through which employees can receive all sorts of information, from company updates to a reminder of health and wellbeing tools available to them. Communication needn’t be one-way either. They can 

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3. Investment in employee communication channels

also provide a platform through which employees can communicate with one another, share feedback with line managers, or even access hotlines. All which helps speed up responses to both internal and external events.

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4.  Focus on employee experience

The post-pandemic era has also brought with it a renewed focus on EX in order to bolster retention.  In fact, more than nine in 10 employers (92%) say that enhancing EX will be a priority over the next three years, compared to just 52% that said the same prior to the pandemic, according to research by Willis Towers Watson.

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4.  Focus on employee experience

Thankfully, tech can be a great enabler when it comes to improving EX quickly.  For example, the trend of ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) is being recognised as a great way to empower staff on the shopfloor, by allowing them to use their own devices to access information in real-time, and more easily address customer queries. 

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4.  Focus on employee experience

The same approach can also be used to serve employees with digital training tools they can access whether at work or at home, helping to challenge perceptions of retail as a stopgap role by creating universal opportunities to upskill.

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5. Diversity & inclusion powered by tech

The business case for prioritising D&I within a workforce has only strengthened over time.  As we’ve explored above, AI and machine learning can both provide both a help and hindrance when it comes to reducing bias in recruitment – providing a tool for ‘blind’ recruiting while also being at risk from ingrained data bias. 

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5. Diversity & inclusion powered by tech

But the role of tech in improving D&I doesn’t stop at the recruitment stage, with a growing array of sentiment management solutions that can also help retailers better monitor the equality of experience across their employees. Though still at a nascent stage, these solutions can scan comments and feedback to 

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5. Diversity & inclusion powered by tech

gauge whether staff feel equally supported across their roles, and comfortable with the workplace environment.  They can be embedded across employee engagement surveys or other channels of communication, ensuring D&I is monitored across all levels of an organisation. But – as with those tools used in recruitment – these 

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5. Diversity & inclusion powered by tech

technologies are only as good as the people designing and implementing them.

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6.  Growth of the gig economy

Fuelled by the promise of flexibility and an end to the typical ‘9-5,’ the gig economy is flourishing. From delivery drivers to virtual assistants, graphic designers to IT specialists, the number of people opting for freelance work over full-time employment is growing at a rapid pace. For retailers looking to take advantage of the services of 

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6.  Growth of the gig economy

gig economy workers, tech can help facilitate freelance hires in all sorts of ways, from full-blown hiring apps that communicate directly with a network of self-employed workers, to automated payroll software that can support retailers in tracking invoices and payments.   Remote management technology can also be used to 

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6.  Growth of the gig economy

oversee and consolidate the detail of freelance contracts, monitor assigned tasks and provide a channel for feedback and communication.  They can also automate onboarding procedures tailored to the needs of a gig economy worker and made available across personal devices.

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7. Tech-enabled compliance

There is now a maze of evolving regulations that retailers are required to keep track of and comply with, from Brexit, to GDPR, contractor classification and the gender pay gap.  Doing so can often require the appointment of costly third-party specialists or take up significant internal resources. The additional paperwork and 

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7. Tech-enabled compliance

tariffs required as of the end of the transition period on 1 January 2021, for instance, saw many retailers hire carriers as custom agents in order to avoid the pitfalls of non-compliance. But technology designed to automate compliance is fast gaining traction as a more cost-effective solution. On the one hand, these tools can remove many of the time-consuming 

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7. Tech-enabled compliance

administrative tasks associated with compliance, by automating document audits, scheduling reviews at key moments or creating alerts to relevant changes in regulation.

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8. Build a workforce (em)powered by the latest technologies

The expectations upon businesses are changing fast. And, as COVID proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, it’s those businesses prepared and poised for this change, and ready to adapt to whatever external events might bring, that will ultimately succeed and secure the loyalty of their customer base.

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8. Build a workforce (em)powered by the latest technologies

That kind of agility is only possible though with a workforce of passionate people empowered to perform at their very best, and committed to delivering the very best in customer service. For far too long that element has often been overlooked. With many parts of retail operating under a ‘just in time’ model, investment in the 

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8. Build a workforce (em)powered by the latest technologies

recruitment and retention of employees has often been pushed to the bottom of the agenda, resulting in eye-wateringly costly levels of turnover at many companies. On this front, retailers need to think again and recognise the huge value of an empowered workforce. Not least given the growing sophistication of transformative technologies 

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8. Build a workforce (em)powered by the latest technologies

that can free up hiring managers from monotonous tasks, optimise scheduling and communication channels, monitor diversity and boost EX substantially.

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