How much stock can you put in technology that claims to match labor supply with business demand while saving your company money, increasing productivity and boosting employee morale?
That depends on who you talk to about the sophisticated scheduling software that’s currently out there.
A number of vendors (Infor, CyberShift) offer scheduling software that combines factors like sales data, traffic and openings to help employers utilize the perfect number of workers, the right skill sets and the cheapest possible labor costs when creating a schedule.
Proponents rave that employers benefit directly through increased productivity and even higher worker morale (many programs let people give preferences or pick shifts).
Example: The scheduling program Infor can analyze inputs like wage-and-hour rules, employee certifications and performance. Employers can then give out scores for customer service and schedule the top performers during the peak service times.
So who’s using these programs? A Gartner and Retail Info Systems News study of retail execs this year found:
- 16% of respondents had up-to-date scheduling software in place
- 15% planned to begin implementing the technology this year, and
- 10% were in the process of putting something in place.
But not everyone is drinking the Kool-Aid.
Because these programs can often allow employers to measure profitability in such a narrow view and alter schedules so frequently, critics feel employees’ personal lives will be disrupted. Critics believe this could result in the exact opposite of what the programs are intended to create — low morale, bad service and even turnover.