OPERATIONS

Kronos: Unplanned employee absences impact staff productivity, manager stress

BY Marianne Wilson

Frequent unplanned absences by employees are taking a toll on store operations.

That’s according to a global study by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. in which 78% of retailers said they believe that while employee engagement is important to organizational success, they are challenged by the corrosive impact that rampant unplanned absence has on staff productivity (58%0, manager stress (55%), and team morale (46%). And it’s a vicious cycle: More than half agree that poor employee engagement causes increased absenteeism.

In other findings:

• More than half of retailers worldwide (52%) see a direct correlation between poor employee engagement and increased staff turnover, with retailers in the U.S. (61%) seeing the strongest connection.

• Retailers worldwide believe absenteeism has a big impact on customer satisfaction (47%) and store revenue (42%) – which are the top two metrics retailers say they use to measure productivity.

• Retailers recognize that a greater focus on work-life balance (62%) and workforce scheduling technology (59%) would have a positive impact on productivity.

• Globally, nearly half of all retailers (43%) are not using an automated solution to manage individual work preferences and availability. Lacking an intelligent solution, retail managers in the U.S. (50%), Canada (42%), and the U.K. (40%) struggle most with managing employee preferences, citing this as one of their biggest workforce management challenges.

• One-third of retail managers (34%) say managing shift-swap requests is one of the biggest workforce management challenges they face as an organization.

• Only 23% of retailers worldwide enable self-service shift swapping on a mobile device.

• Retailers remain optimistically open to change: Many expect that an innovative shift-swapping solution would have a positive impact on employee and store productivity (67% and 65%, respectively), work-life balance (64%), staff motivation (58%), morale (55%), turnover (53%), and customer experience (50%).

The findings come from the second installment of the Global Retail Absence survey, “What Came First: Retail Absenteeism or Low Engagement?” issued by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. and conducted with Coleman Parkes Research, which analyzed responses from 800 retail managers across Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S.

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