What are the best ways to reduce labour costs?

by | 13.06.2018
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There’s nothing revolutionary about businesses looking for new ways to reduce and control labour cost. Failure to control these costs effectively can quickly lead to business feeling the pinch and having to resort to drastic measure to combat them.

Typically, this includes cutting staff, either by making them redundant or reducing their hours, or raising prices and passing this cost over to the consumer. It also makes the business more vulnerable to competitors and eats into the capital that may be set aside to help grow the business in the form of advertising, marketing and sales.

But what if we told you, you could reduce costs while at the same time improving productivity, increasing revenue, engaging your employees and delivering an amazing experience for your customers?

Find out how Papa John’s reduced their labour cost by 15% with a modern workforce management solution

We’re going to show you the best ways to control how much money you spend on labour and lower the percentage it forms for your total cost base.

Whether you’re in retail, hospitality, transport & warehousing, or even healthcare, we think it’s possible for you to increase sales and customer satisfaction while at the same time managing your labour in a much more effective way.

Here are the best ways to manage labour costs (you can watch our ‘on demand’ webinar of how to reduce labour costs without cutting staff here) :

 

1. Use a business optimisation tool

There’s only so much you can do with pen, paper, and an Excel spreadsheet. A good business optimisation tool will automate your schedules based upon your forecasts, allow you to easily and effectively communicate with your staff, and will help power your payroll - exactly like leading global retailer Swarovski have done.

The good news for you is there are plenty of optimisation tools out there that take away this pain and do the hard work for you. In fact, according to industry research (TechNavio), businesses who use a workforce management solution as an optimisation tool save an average of 9 hours per week for each manager.

 

2. Understand your business

While different tools to optimise your business are wonderful, they aren’t a magic wand. To get the most from them and see the best results, you need to understand your business. A great place to start is asking the following questions:

  • When will your customers show up?
  • What are your busiest times?
  • When are your customers eager to buy?
  • When do they need the most hands-on assistance?
  • How the is business evolving?

The better your knowledge of your business, the better your scheduling will be and your labour cost will fall as a result.

 

3. Have the right people in the right place at the right time

Smarter scheduling is simple and by saving time through optimising and automating your scheduling you can save money, boost productivity and increase efficiency.

Making sure you have enough staff working at any one time to meet the demands of your customers is essential for ensuring your business is successful and makes a profit.

By scheduling smarter, you’ll not only make sure your scheduled hours are in line with your budgeted hours, but you’ll also be dramatically reducing the amount of time your managers spend on the administrative side of scheduling and therefore reducing costs even further.

 

4. Engage your employees

And finally, don’t compromise on your employee engagement. According to a study from Gallup, businesses with engaged employees see a 22% increase in profitability. What’s more, research from Watson Wyatt found companies with strong employee engagement deliver a return for their shareholders of 64% across a five year period compared to 21% for those with a low level of engagement.

This is because engaged employees are more productive. They go the extra mile, they work harder and they deliver more for you and your customers.

 

5. Forecast like a superstar

Great forecasting is one of the key ingredients in your recipe for reducing labour costs. It’s a fine art knowing and identifying what your staffing levels should be based upon historic customer demand - but by building up accurate forecasts you know when your peak times of business will be and how to schedule for them accordingly.

When you balance your planned costs against your results, you create the most profitable resource plan. Better forecasting goes hand in hand with smarter scheduling and gives you the data you need to make sure you always have the right people in the right place at the right time.

For the full picture on how to more effectively control your labour costs, download our free guide - How to cut labour costs without cutting staff.

Download it here

Tommy Tonkins

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