Retailers Embrace Workforce Management Systems

Walmart and other businesses turn to technology to make connecting with employees easier.

January 22, 2020

CINCINNATI—Employee engagement and retention can be difficult to manage, especially in an environment with a 3.6% unemployment rate, Progressive Grocer reports. Today’s workers want more engagement, more flexibility and more appreciation for their labors, too. Enter technology in the form of workforce management systems.

These new iterations allow employees to swap shifts or pick up extra ones, while providing management with a real-time glimpse at scheduling and other labor needs. All of this happens in an app or online platform that workers can access via smartphone, tablet or computer.

Walmart unveiled its own scheduling system that lets store associates see schedules, change shifts and register for open shifts. The system also works with the company’s “core hours” program that lets associates who want to work the same weekly shifts for at least 13 weeks to provide a consistent schedule. Employees use the system via the My Walmart Schedule app.

“Our goal has always been to exceed customers’ expectations when they shop, and having our associates in the right place at the right time is the cornerstone to enabling that seamless experience every time,” said Rory Graham, senior director of workforce management at Walmart. Walmart managers like the system because it frees up time for them to spend with their teams or customers.

“When you consider that 63% of today’s workers feel they could get a job elsewhere for more money, and 47% are actively looking for another job, you have no choice but to look at how you can use technology to engage your workers,” said Marty Reynolds, vice president of retail solutions for JDA Software, which developed Walmart’s scheduling system. “So the mobile platform is not only for convenience and to drive that engagement, but [also for] managers of today [who] have to be productive and out on the floor coaching employees and interacting with customers.”