How to prepare your business for the next normal

With this uncertainty, unpredictability and a huge number of unknowns still in place, how can you make sure your business and hourly workers are ready for the next normal? Here’s four suggestions. 

The first Quinyx Virtual Summit brought together experts from around the world and across industries to explore how businesses can move on and excel post COVID-19.

As seen in the first half of 2020, businesses have scrambled to survive in the face of a global pandemic. Now, the focus is turning to new models and new ways of operating, as well as establishing what the “next normal” looks like for whichever industry you’re in.

Your workforce and the way you choose to manage it is going to determine if your business excels in the short and long term. But that’s not all. With there being a high likelihood of more global lockdowns to come,  you must learn from what’s already happened and apply these lessons to assure that you will be able to take on a similar situation again. 

As Michael Schumann, Vice President at Syrg, said in his webinar as part of our Virtual Summit

“In tomorrow's world, your revenues and customer traffic are going to be unpredictable. Your employees’ willingness and ability to return to work are also changing and they're unpredictable. And, in the short term, companies will rescale based on revenue opportunities, not on how things were.” 

With this uncertainty, unpredictability and a huge number of unknowns still in place, how can you make sure your business and hourly workers are ready for the next normal? Here’s four suggestions. 

1. Improve your communication

This is what CEO at Concrete Platform, Tristan Rogers said in his webinar for the Virtual Summit: 

“Many employers realized very quickly they had a means of communicating with staff when they were at work, but they sure don’t have any means of communicating with their staff now they’re at home.”

Hourly workers rarely have a corporate email address and, more often than not, have incomplete personnel files without a cell phone number or personal email address. This makes it incredibly complicated for businesses to communicate with their employees and to keep them up to date and aware of when shifts might be available. But also, to let them know what tasks (for example, setting retail stores up for curbside collection) need doing once they are back at work.

Tools exist to make communication between employers and employees simple, effective and enjoyable. As Tristan says, handling communication with an app is a game changer as it gives you the ability to respond and react instantly - alongside keeping your employees engaged. Which leads us to our next point…

2. Prioritize employee engagement

Tristan’s point on employee engagement is this: 

“If you can find a way of engaging your employees and making them realize they're on a journey of discovery, empowerment, education, and ultimately earning potential, then I believe what we'll end up with is a higher caliber, smaller pot of better workers who are paid more and do more hours.”

In industries like retail and hospitality - which typically have churn rates topping 70% - employee engagement takes on an even higher priority. Engaged employees are more loyal and data shows the longer they stay with a company, the more productive and better at their jobs they become.

Tristan adds: 

“A lot of hourly workers are Gen Z. They are just starting out in their careers and loyalty isn’t there yet. They don't have a huge amount of life experience so, to be cut loose with no communication, no belonging, and no community, must be pretty disconcerting. To echo back to the point on communication, if there’s a way to keep in touch with these people, no matter how minimal, it could make a big difference.”

3. Embrace digital transformation

One of the few positives to come out of COVID-19 looks to be the fact that many businesses will now accelerate digital transformation and use this as an opportunity to do things differently.

As Tristan says: 

“There's an opportunity here to really reset what can be done. To get rid of all the negative IT talk about employees using their own devices and it being a security risk or not part of the IT policy. All of these things can be overcome, once you actually understand what the business benefits are. It's a chance to re-look at what you need for a business value proposition and get it going now in order to benefit from it in the future.”

Fear of change is often one of the biggest roadblocks that prevents transformation in businesses. The current situation is forcing change on many businesses and that shouldn’t be something you fear.

With advanced WFM tools, you’ll quickly see the benefits, whether that’s reduced costs thanks to advanced forecasting or radically improved schedules powered by automated labor planning.

Use this moment to accelerate the way you use tech and you’ll immediately strengthen your business - both now and into the future.

4. Build workforce resilience  

Traditionally, businesses who rely on hourly workers have built up an optimal level of staff to meet their needs. However, what we’ve seen since COVID-19 is businesses changing their models, having peaks at different times and for an unpredictable number of days and having to pivot to meet different customer needs.

Michael Schumann from Syrg describes this as: 

“Our thesis is this idea of workforce resilience as the pathway forward. And it just simply requires a different approach to workforce management. Instead of having an optimally sized staff for your business's needs, as of six weeks ago, businesses need to have a reserve capacity of trained staff who can fill in, on demand when there's a need. So, in an unpredictable world, it’s resilience, and the ability to instantly adapt and respond as factors change, that will separate those who take advantage of emerging opportunities, versus those who are really fighting for survival.”

 

You can view all the webinars from our Virtual Summit here and download our free guide to attracting, engaging and retaining the best employees below.

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