Stressed HR professionals in retail should consider automating employee relations (ER) case management to free up their time, according to HR tech start-up, caseflowhr. During the global COVID-19 pandemic, and with Brexit making itself felt, essential retailers have found supply chains tested, while increases in both temporary workforces and sickness absence have complicated people management. Non-essential retail has suffered due to short and long-term closures, with ‘furlough’ the new HR buzz word of 2020 and 2021.
On average, 3,400 retail jobs were lost each week during 2020, and almost 16,000 stores closed during the year. While the sector is adapting to e-commerce and online retailing, experts suggest that for every 10 jobs lost in bricks and mortar, only a couple will be created in the e-retailing space. However, opportunities exist for retail staff with customer contact centre skills, as brands seek to invest in their digital and experiential offers in time for economic recovery. Retail sector HR professionals will need to consider how to support workforces which have been fundamentally changed by the pandemic.
Co-founder and managing director of caseflowhr, Greg Hartigan, comments: “In addition to managing sickness absence, temporary workforces, rapidly changing health and safety legislation, and referrals to occupational health, there are wider workplace culture concerns including presenteeism, a lack of morale and decreased productivity. Failing to fully prepare the HR back-office for these could cause significant long-term damage to employers’ relationships with their employees.
“The retail landscape has changed forever, and the tools which retail sector HR professionals use to manage it inevitably must change too. The HR profession should focus on building a supportive culture of resilience and employee empowerment. This will be how organisations can best support their people moving forward to ensure competitive advantage and strong customer service.”
Launched to market in January 2021, caseflowhr is more than just a case management system. It brings together more than five decades of HR and ER experience with agile bot technology to provide retail sector HR teams with legally compliant, step-by-step ER case automated pathways and training guidance.