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Staff shortages: how to increase employee commitment and flexibility?

Staff shortage

You hear it everywhere and almost every sector has to deal with it: personnel shortages. Almost every organisation has several vacancies. Many companies are facing major challenges because of this. It looks like this is not going to change for the time being. It is a complex and broad problem and there are no easy solutions. But what can you do to retain and attract employees?

Good terms of employment are a very important, if not the most important, driver for people when choosing their employer. But apart from terms of employment, there are of course many other things that are important for attracting and retaining employees. Therefore, we will not go into the terms of employment, but we would like to describe in this article how you can make the work for employees in (food) retail a lot more fun and pleasant by using a good planning tool. It will not solve the staff shortage, but it will create an extra bond with your employees. And that ultimately has a strong positive effect on your entire organisation.

Availability and retention of staff is a strategic challenge

It is difficult to overestimate the (potential) impact of insufficient staff. After all, without the right employees, work cannot be done (properly) and customers cannot be served properly. Everyone knows the example of Schiphol. But it also puts a brake on the growth and ambitions of organisations. After all, growth almost always means you need extra new people. If demand remains high, this also often leads to a higher workload for existing employees. With all the associated risks.

It is clear that this is a very big challenge for all employers. After all, it is a broad problem that affects (almost) all sectors and the whole of the Netherlands. In this tight labour market, the employees have an increasingly stronger position compared to the employers. Among other things, employees expect more and more flexibility from the employer and this will increase further.

Involve your employees in the planning process

An important trend is that employees increasingly want to make their own choices regarding their working hours. Their own input is the starting point for this. But how can you organise this properly as an employer? Especially in a dynamic environment such as a supermarket, you have to deal with constantly changing situations and various internal and external developments.

With a good planning tool(workforce management) and an integrated app for employees, you can organise this centrally. Via the app, employees can arrange many things directly themselves. This gives your employees the autonomy and flexibility they need, without losing control over the process and the planning.

For example, you can easily involve employees in the planning by having them indicate their availability and then create the schedule on that basis. You then communicate the schedule directly to the employees, who are informed of it by notifications on their phones.

Do you have to deal with sick people or other dropouts? Do people want to swap shifts? In the past, this caused major issues in getting the schedules right. Just try to get the right replacements at the right cost. On top of this, there are often issues concerning clear communication about the changing planning. Is everyone well informed? What is the latest roster? What is expected from whom?

But this and much more can easily be arranged centrally via our R&R Job App. This ensures more involvement and clarity for employees. The autonomy and involvement of employees in planning also has a clear effect on employee satisfaction.

"The most important thing is to make sure that people want to (continue to) work for you. A good WFM tool really helps with that. Especially if you can make the work more fun for employees."

Peter Peels - director retail, Scheepers Retail Groep (Albert Heijn multifranchise)

Commitment, clarity and calm in the organisation

A good workforce management tool is essential for good control of the entire planning process. Without a WFM system, you simply do not have the necessary insights. With a good planning tool, you ensure good staffing at the right times. You assign employees to the right tasks and they know what is expected of them.

If you take the right actions based on the insights and actions generated by the WFM system, you simply have a good planning and you also get clarity and calm in the organisation. In addition, you can respond quickly to changing situations. This is very important, because it really has an impact on the organisation and the shops in general. You also gain confidence in the system when you actually see and experience that calm and regularity in practice. That works much better for everyone.

It also has an impact on the customer experience, that they enter a shop where there is a good staffing level at the right time. Customers can do their shopping comfortably and staff are always ready to help them.

"If you take the right actions based on the information and insights generated by the system, you just have good planning and you also get clarity and calm in the organisation."

Robin Groen - entrepreneur Albert Heijn Groen (multifranchise)

Staff shortage

Almost every organisation has to deal with it or will have to deal with it: the availability and retention of good staff. A planning tool and employee involvement are certainly not the 'golden egg'. But the involvement and flexibility it provides are important components of the complete picture for employees. So it certainly does its bit. And in this tight market, every contribution is important for the bigger picture.

Would you like to involve your employees more in the process with a good planning tool (WFM) and an app specifically for employees? Then get in touch with us. We would be happy to tell you about the possibilities and the good results from enthusiastic customers.

Contact us for more information

Stef van Dijk
About the author Stef van Dijk

Stef van Dijk has extensive experience in supermarkets and knows the food retail industry inside and out. Stef writes blogs on all relevant issues around workforce management and food retail.

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