Ahh, the holidays! The time of year when songs about joy, cheer, celebration, and every other adjective for happiness are in constant rotation but what about holiday stress? Not to sound like a grinch, but for frontline workers, particularly retailers, the holiday season is when orchestrating employees' schedules is most chaotic, demand is even higher, and the pressure to satisfy customers is more intense. Then, throw in a major issue like inflation, and what should be a joyous holiday season can easily turn into a nightmare (not in a cute way like "The Nightmare Before Christmas").
This year, in particular, everyone is feeling the pinch. As warnings of an incoming recession get louder and rising inflation costs create supply chain bottlenecks; retailers are shaking in their boots at the thought that shoppers will choose to opt-out of the holiday season.
And what about frontline workers? How will the rise in costs affect them? Will they be in attendance, or will there be an even more significant staff shortage?
Despite the uncertainty of this holiday season, we have a few tips on what businesses can do to ensure success.
Help frontline workers feel secure.
We already know that 70% of frontline workers are ready to leave their employers, saying they feel undervalued, lack career progression, and have no schedule flexibility, as our State of the Deskless Workforce report found. The challenge for employers is to understand the needs of their workers and create strategies to address them.
The holidays are no different. Employers need to be aware that while they are feeling the strain of inflation, their frontline workers, often considered the working class, are more likely to bear the brunt of price increases. According to The Center for Economic Policy and Research, 23% of frontline workers earn below the poverty line, which means that on top of their everyday stress about work and personal lives, they'll be worried about how the cost of gas will affect their commute to work, or increases to their rent and utilities will affect their livelihood.
Employers will need to become even more competitive in an already fierce battle for talent. To ensure their security, frontline workers will consider jobs they believe they'll have a future that goes beyond pay. What organizations will provide opportunities to grow their skills? Which employers will provide work-life balance? These questions will surely be top of mind as the season looms. Employers who can answer these questions and offer concrete examples of how they care for their frontline will survive the uncertainty and be less likely to suffer staff shortages in the long term.
Reduce overtime with Flexible Schedules
'Tis the season to call out sick… that's right, attrition rears its head again in the holiday season. Whether it's sick days, vacations, emergencies, taking the kids to the doctor—the list goes on and on—when workers call out, someone else needs to pick up the slack. According to Circadian research, an increase in overtime hours or temp workers to fill the scheduling gaps causes payroll to go up by 50%!
With flexible scheduling, workers can have a say in their work availability, dramatically reducing the cost of filling unplanned absences. Additionally, providing frontline employees the flexibility they need allows them to have a work-life balance between taking care of their personal lives and being productive at work. A Gartner study has shown that employees who feel like their employers take care of their mental health are 21% more likely to be high performers.
Implementing an app that allows employees to share their availability and swap shifts is essential to ensuring that flexible schedules stick. If workers feel they can control their schedules without hassles, like having to call numerous colleagues to swap shifts, managers can avoid spending hours looking for coverage. Allowing all frontline workers and managers to focus on work that impacts the bottom line.
To see the actual value of flexible scheduling, read the Total Economic Impact of Quinyx Report to see how Quinyx helped our customers get a 50% reduction in overtime!
To survive inflation during the holiday season and well into 2023, it's up to employers to make sure that the security and well-being of their frontline workers are their primary focus. We've said it in our State of the Deskless Workforce Report, but we're not afraid to repeat it; the frontline workforce is in the driver's seat and the people powering our economy. Their needs cannot be ignored, putting themselves first, they will find the security they need to take care of themselves and their families with whichever employer is willing to recognize their value.
Want to learn more about optimizing how you manage your workforce to survive inflation in 2023? Download the ultimate guide to beating inflation!