TECHNOLOGY

Party City banks on ‘science’ to hire most qualified candidates

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Party City isn’t leaving anything to chance when it comes to hiring new employees.

Through its partnership with Infor, the party supplies retailer is adding an analytics-based platform to improve hiring practices. Infor’s Talent Science solution uses analytics and behavioral science to streamline hiring process and select the most qualified candidates.

Called pre-employment assessment software, the cloud-based platform’s predictive models assist hiring managers to better select, retain, and develop the right talent across the entire employee life cycle. The technology allows users to compare and contrast the characteristics of a candidate against the attributes of their strongest performers. This information is stored as a “Performance Profile,” or benchmark for defining success in a given role.

Organizations can also use the gathered data for insight throughout the employee lifecycle. Hiring managers can access behavioral data to uncover employee strengths, deliver high impact coaching, establish short-term and long-term goals, and develop a strategy for career path planning, according to Party City.

“We decided to partner with Infor to identify the key success traits of our top employees, so we could make our workforce more productive,” said Jim Viola, VP, Party City, which operates more than 900 specialty stores in the United States and Canada, operating under the names Party City and Halloween City banners, and e-commerce website. “By bringing modern technology into our hiring practices, we’re able to gain greater insight and develop best practices so our teams can provide a superior customer experience.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Brookstone looks to transform employee engagement

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A new automated solution will help Brookstone better manage its workforce — and empower its associates.

The specialty retailer is adding Kronos’ centralized workforce management (WFM) platform across all store locations across the United States and Puerto Rico. The new platform, called Workforce Dimensions, will enable Brookstone to engage the workforce across all operations, including its e-commerce, retail and wholesale lines of business.

The solution features a fully responsive user interface and personalized experience, and delivers the same user engagement across phones, tablets, and desktops. Since not all Brookstone employees have an email, Workforce Dimensions allows employees and managers to communicate with easy, one-touch access to information within the solution, the retailer said.

The solution also manages a variety of tasks. Machine learning algorithms improves customer demand forecasts by 25% — a factor that will improve accuracy in the scheduling process.

In addition, a digital personal consultant, Workforce Advisor, will automate time-consuming and repetitive requests. This unburdens managers from routine administrative tasks, and allows them to focus on more strategic projects.

It also offers Brookstone the opportunity to focus on the productivity and engagement of its salaried workers. Previously, salaried employee productivity and engagement were not measured. However, Workforce Dimensions allocates time against projects, giving managers a better understanding of the salaried workers’ schedules, workload and productivity. Real-time access to key performance metrics will also help Brookstone understand the effectiveness of WFM processes, and identify areas for improvement.

The solution will also keep Brookstone in compliance with local, state, federal, and other labor laws for its entire workforce spread across different locations.

Looking ahead, Brookstone will deploy the platform’s performance management, compensation management, and affordable care act management modules.

“Workforce Dimensions is a game changer, as it makes routine tasks strategic so we can use it to enhance business outcomes,” said Susan McGrath, VP, human resources, Brookstone.

By managing the workforce intelligently, the retailer expects a “significant return on investment,” she added. “For example, as soon as we implement Workforce Dimensions, we will remove the need for multiple systems to manage the workforce and that is just the beginning. The longer-term cost savings, productivity, and employee benefits will be transformational.”

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Bridal retailer gets ‘smart’ about in-store checkout experience

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

David’s Bridal is making the shopping experience even less stressful for brides-to-be.

Through its omnichannel payment partner, Aurus, the specialty retailer has deployed smart point-of-sale (POS) terminals across its more than 300 retail locations in the United States. Besides offering a more streamlined checkout experience, the new solution delivers more security during the payment process.

David’s Bridal is using Ingenico Group’s iSC Touch 250 smart terminals, which deliver global tokenization support and EMV acceptance. The partnership also allows the bridal retailer to implement a multi-layered security strategy, including the use of point-to-point encryption (P2PE) to better secure customer data and reduce its PCI compliance scope.

The POS system accommodates all forms of payment including EMV chip & PIN, chip & sign, magstripe and NFC/contactless. It also supports newer options such as NFC loyalty, couponing, wallets and QR codes. Equipped with a durable signature capture for electronic payment acceptance, the retailer can verify payments in a safe, streamlined manner.

“Partnering with Ingenico Group and Aurus was an important decision, because their solutions enable us to streamline the entire payment acceptance process, which allows our in-store stylists to focus on what really matters – the customer,” said Michael Toth, senior VP, CIO at David’s Bridal.

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