What’s Next? Navigating the New Retail Landscape

Webinar Series

What’s Next? Navigating the New Retail Landscape

Webinar Series

What’s Next? Navigating the New Retail Landscape

In this webinar you will learn about…

  • Learn new ways to digitize your business and employee experience to adapt to a world dominated by online-centric models and curbside pick-ups
  • What top retailers have done to create a “new normal” and how they’re approaching the holiday season
  • Understand how a pay experience benefits employers by enhancing employee productivity, lowering employee turnover and reducing cash theft

Consumer behavior during the coronavirus pandemic shifted in ways that cannot be reversed, and retailers and their employees needed to adapt. So they did. From safety windshields and mandated PPE, to contactless everything and QR codes, expectations changed for everyone involved in retail. Even employees have new expectations of their employers around security, safety and trust as they begin to go back to work. So, when businesses started opening up again, how did top retail employers adapt to new employee expectations? Forward-thinking companies found a new source of hope in the unlikeliest of places — pay. 

Pay has played a key role in every retailer’s success strategy. It isn’t just about issuing paychecks anymore. Pay is part of a critical experience that can repair trust and the bond that was shattered between employers and employees because of COVID-19. And as retailers know best, happy employees are essential to providing a great customer experience. 

In light of all these changes in customer and employee behavior and expectations, and with the holidays creeping up, how should retailers approach the future? Join us for the discussion!

View On-Demand

Guest Speakers

Jeanniey Walden

Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer

DailyPay

Amanda Nichols

Sr. Manager Industry Marketing | Retail, Hospitality & Food Service

Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG)

Webinar Transcript

Natalie Wendl (NW):

Good afternoon everyone. I’m Natalie from DailyPay’s event team, and I’d like to welcome you to our webinar, What’s Next? Navigating the Retail Landscape. Before we get started, I’d like to go over a few items so you know how to participate in today’s event.

NW:

You will have the opportunity to submit text questions to today’s presenters, by typing your questions into the question’s pane of the control panel. You may send in your questions at any time during the presentation, and we will collect these and address them during the Q&A at the end of today’s presentation.

NW:

I would now like to introduce Jeanniey Walden, Chief Innovation and marketing officer at DailyPay, and Amanda Nichols, Senior Manager industry marketing retail, hospitality and food service at Ultimate Kronos Group. Jeanniey, take it away.

Jeanniey Walden (JW):

Thanks so much Natalie, and high Amanda, great to see you. Very excited.

Amanda Nichols (AN):

Hi, good to see you too.

JW:

Very excited to present with you today. I think everyone here is in for a big treat, because we’re bringing you some of the latest insights and statistics about what’s going to be happening in the retail landscape, especially over these crazy unprecedented holiday times.

JW:

And you know, Amanda, I’ve heard the word unprecedented about 65 times today, so I’m wondering when that’s going to become too overused. Hopefully we don’t overuse it too much in this conversation.

AN:

Yeah, it’s definitely one of those words. I think one of my team members tried to ban it from our vocabulary a few weeks ago. That didn’t last.

JW:

Yeah, not so much. Well, we’ll try and avoid it today, but I do think we’re excited to share some interesting feedback in statistics with you. Now, when you talk about partnerships and coming together in these crazy times, our two companies have done that in an amazing way. Do you want to talk a little bit about the approach that your company takes towards partnerships?

AN:

Yeah, I’d love to. Yeah. I work for Ultimate Kronos Group. Prior to a week ago, you might have noticed as Ultimate Software and Kronos, but we merged. And we formed a partnership unlike no other. And that is one of the things that’s really integral to who we are as a company and as a technology, is we really value our very large partner network, because we know that all of our clients have different needs.

AN:

Some of them need one technology solution, some of them need another, but we want to make sure that our clients have the ability to bring together the best technologies for their organization, and have the ability to integrate and expand that technology solution to meet their needs, whatever they can be.

AN:

I think DailyPay is one of our most strategic technology partners, because we’re seeing a huge demand in this same day pay space. And DailyPay does a phenomenal job fulfilling that need.

JW:

Well thanks. We are thrilled to hear that, and it has been a great collaboration with you. I think we officially partnered last year before the pandemic in 2019 and we’ve done so much great work together. Since then, we’ve built API integrations with dimensions and workforce ready. And it’s just resulted in such incredible seamless implementations for our joint clients. I know we are making our employer clients very happy, but ultimately the employees who have control and choice over when and how they get paid. So really excited to continue this partnership and have this conversation today.

AN:

Yeah, as well.

JW:

So let’s talk about what we’re going to accomplish today, because as I said, this is a treat. Moving right into the holiday season, we are very focused, both Amanda and I, on helping you make sure you walk away learning new ways that you can digitize your business and your employee experience, because in this new world of retail season during the holiday, we want to make sure that you are as set and successful as you can possibly be from the employee experience, all the way through to the consumer and shopping experience. Maximize the profitability of your business, and really try and get back to that new normal.

JW:

In fact, we’re going to share some examples of what leading retailers are doing to ensure that their new normal works for them, and some of the steps they’re taking in approaching holiday season. One of the things that’s so different this holiday season is it’s even more about employees than it was ever before in the past, as much as it is about customers, taking care of your employees and their safety is top of mind for all of us. One of the things that hasn’t changed during the pandemic is for those of us that have continued to be working, one thing has remained consistent, we’ve gotten a paycheck every single pay period, which has been fantastic. And really, we’ve watched the payday evolved into more of a pay experience, especially with on-demand pay where pay now becomes the opportunity to give employees choice and control over when and how they need their funds to manage through and bridge some of the craziness that’s happening with everything COVID has thrown our way.

JW:

We’re hoping that you walk away with a good understand of what you can do to be best prepared for retail and holiday season, what others are doing as best practices in your space, and really just appreciating how that one basic thing called pay makes a really big difference and impact in the experience for your employees and their entire families.

JW:

So with that said, let’s talk about the new data that we have unlocked in the retail landscape. When the pandemic first started, at DailyPay we realized that we had access to some really intriguing insights across different industries. What we noticed was, we could identify which companies and which industries were hiring or reducing working hours for their employees, we could really see how the pandemic was affecting different industries. What you’re looking at here is a rehire America index, and you can go to the DailyPay website and access it any time you want to for almost every industry, but what it shows here very visually is a snapshot of what happened to the retail workforce from about the middle of May into the beginning of October, especially across all consumer services. We’re starting to see a rebound, and while it flat lined a little bit in August, it is picking back up again and we’re so excited about that.

JW:

So we continue to watch the trends of which industries are hiring employees back again, and not only that, of the employees that are working what’s the average number of hours they’re working, almost as a guide to share with a lot of our clients and our partners at Lake at UKG that can help them prepare for what to expect. What they’re up against from a competitive standpoint, what they can expect in the weeks and months moving forward, and really look at ways that they can then appropriately support their employees. But that’s just one set of findings that we have found. I know Amanda, UKG, you have done a whole analysis on holiday hiring trends, and found some really incredible and fascinating statistics. So it would be great to share those with everybody.

AN:

Yeah, absolutely. One of the things I really love about our partnership with DailyPay is I feel like we’re on the same wavelength with this type of data, but from slightly different perspectives, which makes it compliment each other really, really nicely.

AN:

So when everything with COVID first came down and all of the chaos and everything that was going on, we really wanted to understand what was going to happen during the holiday hiring season. We started running a annual holiday hiring survey last year that we intend to come out every year, but last year was very, very normal obviously. This year is going to be very, very different. So instead of post holiday hiring, we really want to help retailers plan for it. So we ran the survey a couple of weeks ago, and have just launched the survey data last week, and we found some really interesting things. I think on one hand, the data points we have and that sort of are called out in this report are going to help retailers plan better, but I think what it really shows is that retailers need to expect the unexpected. It’s going to be a very different holiday season from one we’ve ever experienced before.

AN:

We’ve seen over the last couple of months the rise of buy online, pickup in store. It’s always been a little bit of an element when it comes to the holiday season, but now this year it’s going to be absolutely critical, and retailers are really looking to hire positions specifically to support that, and they’re changing their entire staffing model to support buy online, pickup in store.

AN:

Another thing that we’re seeing more this year than we have before is that retailers, they’re obviously doing their seasonal hiring, but they’re seeing a lot of opportunity in past employees, in bring back people who have worked at their organization before, and rehiring them. So there’s a lot of tools and technologies that will really help enable that. We have a couple of partners that support that, but retailers are saying, “Hey, if Jim used to work for our store last year, why don’t we just ask Jim if he wants to come back this year? He’s already trained, he’s already familiar with the process. He might need to brush up on his training a little bit, but we already know him and we already trust him. So let’s make an effort to reach out to Jim and encourage him to come back.” I think that’s a new perspective that retailers have that they haven’t necessarily had in the past, but it’s something that’s really gaining a lot of traction within that.

AN:

Another thing we’re seeing is that retailers are cautiously optimistic, but there’s a part of them that’s like, “What if something happens? What if somebody within our store gets infected with COVID? What if the regulations in my state change?” So they’re preparing for that to happen. They’re not expecting it, they’re not hoping for it, but most of them have contingency plans for if something were to happen, and they were to have to shut down their store or limit their hours or take some drastic action to do due to COVID they’re prepared for that.

AN:

All right, should we move on? Okay. Another thing that we really seen with the rise of COVID is a lot of new roles have been developed to support COVID. I mentioned buy online, pickup in store, curbside pickup a minute ago, but a lot of stores are hiring new staff to oversee sanitation procedures and more or less serve as greeters or door monitors, kind of what Walmart has always done, but a lot of new retailers are picking up on this, because in some states and regulations there’s a limit to how many people you can have within a store at one point in time, so they’ve got those little counters at the door to make sure they don’t exceed those limits.

AN:

They’re taking a look at customers and making sure that if they’re in a location where masks are mandated, that the customers are wearing masks. A lot of the times, your retail employees are the ones responsible for enforcing that policy. So they’re rolling out new trainings and have new support tools so that the employees can execute on that, and they’re enabling managers to support their employees in this too.

AN:

There’s a lot of new sanitation methods that have come down and had a renewed focus in the last couple months, and in some organizations there are people who may or may not have this title, but they are the quote unquote sanitation specialists. That’s their job, to go around the store and make sure that surfaces are cleaned and that everything is taken care of to mitigate the spread of COVID as much as possible.

AN:

All right, so as part of this, we really need to rethink the employee experience, and we need to make sure that we’re scheduling the employees and we’re accommodating for this, and putting the employees first, so that we can make sure that they’re staying safe, and they’re staying healthy throughout all of this. So there’s a lot of different ways you can do that. Some of our clients are using things like a contact trace report. That’s available in probably any workforce management system, definitely within the UKG system, where you can pull a report that identifies people who have worked shifts with other employees. So that way if somebody does get diagnosed with COVID, or comes out and says, “I might have been exposed.” The store can quickly pull a report and say, “Okay, David might have been exposed, who has David worked with in the last two weeks.” And then from there they can do the appropriate outreach.

AN:

You can do surveys within your employee base to make sure that they feel comfortable with everything that’s going on, to make sure that they feel supported by management, to make sure they feel safe, and that’s really important for employee engagement. In this day and age, you want to make sure that your employees feel comfortable in order to focus on their health and wellbeing, but also to help retention rates, and reduce turnover.

AN:

And there’s a lot of different scheduling strategies that can be applied in this time as well. Kind of depending on your store and your needs and your abilities. But we have some clients that have gone towards more of a cohort scheduling approach where they schedule, schedule A, schedule B, schedule C, and if you’re on the A shift, you’re on the A shift. You’re on the B shift, you’re on the B shift. And that’s sort of how it is, that way if there is any risk of COVID within any one of those shifts, they can easily shut it down without needing to go through the contact trace report.

AN:

On the other end of the spectrum, we have retailers, mostly essential retailers that are quite large, that are really struggling to have enough labor to staff all their stores, so they’ll go for more of a flexible labor model where if you’ve got stores within a five, 10 mile proximity to each other, you can actually share employees across stores. So just because you work for store A, doesn’t mean you can only work for store A. You could pick up a shift at store B if store B was short staffed. If store C has too many employees that are only available in the evenings, maybe store B can pick up some of those employees.

AN:

So we’re finding retailers starting to think a lot more creatively about how they schedule staff because of everything that’s happened within COVID.

JW:

I love this. I am completely obsessed with all the data that you just shared and the insights, because it’s so fascinating. Some of it is just common sense. Of course your system is going to tell you who you worked with. That just makes common sense, but it doesn’t really underscore the significance until it happens to you. My daughter, who’s 22, works for a retail store, she was not at work on a day that a woman who had COVID came into the store and actually shopped a little bit and during checkout sneezed on the clerk and said, “Oh by the way, I’m COVID positive.” Which put the entire store into a full out panic, and the management literally took everyone that was working on the store that day and put them on two weeks quarantine. Three of the 10 people that came into contact with this woman tested positive for COVID, one went into the hospital within three days, and then told everyone else that wasn’t working that day, it’s your choice, if you want to come back in, come back in, but if you want to take the time off just to be safe, then you can take time off.

JW:

It’s really unbelievable the things that can happen, but it’s so critical that we have these safeguards in place for our employees to know when something does happen, the actions that you can take, and I love this, because having a child that went through that, and seeing what could happen, makes it especially for holiday season so critical. But I do want to say, if you have any questions during this webinar, please send them in. We’re getting some great questions already, and we want to answer them, but if you are as obsessed with these holiday findings as I am. You’ll be glad to know that Amanda is making this report available for everyone attending today, so you can read it, share it with people you know, people in your network and really help spread the word, because these are such incredible insights, and very important, because what we’re seeing on our side at DailyPay is holiday is a big deal for both shoppers and employees, and we just recently conducted some research with the Harris group, and on the next slide you’ll see some of the results of the research that we found.

JW:

COVIDs been tough on everybody. I think the last stat that I saw a few months ago was that over 65% of working Americans have been negatively impacted financially in some way as a result of COVID. They’ve either taken a pay cut, they’ve been furloughed temporarily, they’ve been unemployed and delayed unemployment payments. They’ve just lost their job and can’t find a new one, or someone else in the household has been negatively impacted, and it’s caused an issue for the household expenses.

JW:

So as we go into holiday, we were really curious at DailyPay what is the sentiment, are people still going to be shopping, are they worried about finances for the holiday, what is everybody looking at and we were shocked to find that seven out of 10 of hourly employed working Americans have said that they are struggling to make ends meet, but they are determined to make the holidays still a joyous holiday occasion, because they should and nothing’s going to hold us back. But as a result, almost half of these people are going to be seeking extra hours with their employer.

JW:

So to all the statistics that you just went over, understanding how and when to schedule people, understanding what the additional roles are around keeping the location safe and clean and just looking at the additional jobs that are needed. I think will really help boost the economy. From a safety standpoint, we’re also helping the workers that need that extra financial boost, because 18% of them are going to be looking for seasonal jobs. How perfect that you said a lot of employers are starting to call back prior employees, either that were there last season, or potentially are more high risk and have avoided going to work during the pandemic, because they didn’t want to put themselves at risk. It’s a great way to really accelerate what’s happening in the economy and get people back on their feet and back in a mood where they can celebrate during the holiday season.

JW:

We were really surprised to find out that over half of the people that we asked are really hopeful about the economy. They are expecting that the jobs will be there, they’re expecting that companies will be growing, and that they’ll be able to recoup some of the financial challenges that they’ve come into contact with before the holiday during COVID and 11% are planning to spend more. I kind of feel like I don’t plan to spend more, and always end up spending more somehow anyway. It’s great, it’s great to see that there’s a positive outlook, and a positive approach on this. Although, I do have to underscore what you said. Close to a third said they’re going to be spending more time online. I do have to admit, I was not the biggest Amazon fan before COVID and now Amazon Prime is my best friend and is pretty much how I manage life, I’m not sure that I’m going to give it up. So I think a lot of these online trends that we’re seeing, that where we’re forced to confront during COVID are now going to stick with us permanently. I know you talk about that a little more specifically as it relates to employers and changes their making in a few slides. So I don’t want to steal your thunder, but I love how the insights that we’re seeing really support and underscore everything that you’re seeing in your holiday trends as well.

JW:

So I think as it pertains to holiday shopping, when we talk about giving people the ability to enjoy their holidays more, one of the things that we need to consider is with on-demand pay being just more and more the new way that people get paid, pays kind of evolved to having it when you want it. As much as you want when you need it, as long as you work the hours to earn it. We were psyched to see that almost half the people that we surveyed said getting on-demand pay or getting access to their earned pay when they need it will actually help them better manage financially through the holiday season. In fact, one in five felt that on-demand pay is going to enable them to manage holiday spending better, and certainly makes sense based on when your paydays fall whether it’s biweekly, weekly, semi monthly. Your paycheck, and this always would drive me crazy sometimes comes two days after the holiday, which doesn’t help you getting ready for the holiday. So being able to take that money out earlier, since you earned it and it’s not a loan and it’s yours will definitely be helpful.

JW:

One in six said that they reported that they’re going to be able to make monthly payments on purchases easier. And certainly all the credit card companies and the banks have come out with different types of payment plans, I know with my Chase account on my credit card, I have the option to make payment installments without interest in addition to paying things off, which is amazing. on-demand pay enables you to make that work for you even better and create a personalized payment strategy. And then one in seven said they’re going to require fewer loans for the holidays. So whether that’s borrowing money from a family member or a friend, or whether it’s getting a high interest credit card, or going down to personal loans, understanding that in addition to keeping your employment facility safe and secure for your workers, being able to give them that pay experience where they have choice and control over how they access and use their pay is doing something really good for them, for the economy and enabling them to really start to enjoy and come back as we move back into a thriving economy again.

JW:

So I would love to see us do another webinar in January post the holiday season to report on all the positive impacts that the safeguards have made, that the on-demand pay has enabled employees to do from a consumer standpoint, because I’m really optimistic about what’s going to happen. I think it’s going to be a very exciting time. And we need it. We need it.

AN:

Yeah, I think one of the things, as you were talking, I started to think about one of the real benefits of bringing your scheduling data and your pay data together in one solution is that you can actually communicate to the employee how much they might earn if they were to pick up an extra shift, and that can really inspire employees to pick additional shifts that retailers are struggling to fill. So for example, if they have an employee call out, either due to COVID or another reason, and they’re struggling to find a replacement, if they can tell that employee look, you’re going to earn $95 if you pick up this shift, it’s much easier for the employee to say, “Okay, yes. That’s worth it, I need that additional $95 because I’m trying to buy my son an Xbox or whatever the case may be.” So it really comes full circle and ties together when you can give the employee all of that type of information together, and then they have the ability to access that pay when the shift has been fulfilled.

JW:

Absolutely. It’s kind of fascinating especially in retail where sometimes the hours that you work for a pay period will end on a certain day, like a Tuesday, but you don’t get the pay check until Friday, it’s easy to lose grip on how much you’ve actually earned for that pay period, and even understand what your paycheck is going to be, especially with overtime, holiday, Sunday hours, differentiated rates in pay. So being able to look at the DailyPay app and see here’s how much I have earned so far during this pay period, here’s how many days until I get that paycheck, does give you that exact insight on the employee side to say, “Oh my gosh, I’m only going to get $685 in my paycheck, that Xbox I need 750 to make it happen and take care of my other expenses too, I better pick up that other shift. So it really works in a really nice combined format for both the employer to get what they need and the employee.

JW:

And I know we’ve seen at DailyPay that companies report up to three times increase in productivity from employees that use DailyPay. Not because they’re taking any money out, but because they can start to manage their finances and the hours worked to their financial needs, and it works so much better.

AN:

Yeah, I didn’t know that stat specifically, but that makes sense, because when you have visibility and clarity into your paycheck and you know exactly what you’re going to do, it gives you a lot more motivation to work harder and make sure that you do a good job, so you can continue that. I think it eases a lot of stress, especially on the hourly employee. They carry around a lot of stress in their life, because they got a lot going on, they got a lot to balance. Financial worries are not uncommon to retail employees. When they have that clarity, it really just gives them a sense of ease, which also really drives engagement with that employee, and loyalty to that employer, which at the end of the day will result in lower turnover. It’s not only great for the employee, but it’s great for the entire organization as well.

JW:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean the impact to the bottom line is very positive. One of our clients, not in the retail sector, before COVID was saving 10 million dollars a month in recruiting onboarding, training and final pay fees, because they were able to reduce turnover significantly for a 50,000 employee company. The savings are real to the employers, but the satisfaction is real to the employee, and it’s really just such a nice partnership, but you know that’s what happens when you leverage technology for good, instead of evil, and I think especially with the holidays and especially in the retail sector there’s a lot of technological advances starting with something like DailyPay enabling Kronos on the backend to make it work for you is key, but I know you’ve identified some other great technology accelerators that we couldn’t not talk about during this webinar, so do you want to share some of those?

AN:

Yeah. So I think one of the things that we’re really seeing is that COVID hasn’t necessarily inspired retailers to pick up new technologies, or they haven’t gone back to their technology roadmap or the technology strategy, but they’ve taken a look at it, and they said, okay we are always planning on doing A, B, C, and D, but maybe they were planning on doing over the next 18 months, 24 months, 36 whatever they’re looking at, they’re being like we kind of need this now. So COVID-19 has really inspired retailers to accelerate their existing technology strategies and put a lot more focus and effort behind it, to support everything that you’re seeing on this slide.

AN:

Curbside pickup, online shopping, mobile payments, a lot of that has kind of been kind of on the side. Yes, we need to focus on curbside pickup, it’s the next new thing. It’s been the next new thing for I don’t know 10 years, especially within the grocery industry. All of a sudden, this new thing is now, it’s here. Curbside pickup is now. Online shopping is now. Mobile payments is now. Whenever I go to the grocery store now, I always use Apple Pay on my phone, because I don’t really want to touch the keypad. And a lot of people feel that same way.

AN:

Customers everywhere are looking for ways to mitigate the risks that are all around them, and any time you can offer them any sort of touch-free or touch-less interaction, they’re going to take it. Retailers have had to rethink their entire technology strategy and say maybe we can’t afford to wait 18 months for that, maybe we need to do that now. And we’re seeing a lot of that, because of the last point on the slide. Both consumers and employees need confidence that they’re not putting themselves or their family at risk. And technology has a huge, huge role to play in all of that.

JW:

Yeah, absolutely. If somebody would have told me that there would actually be a viable, consistent purpose for the QR code, I would have never believed them. Imagine everyone’s surprise when all of a sudden the QR code has its big day at restaurants, at retailers, anywhere else. And it’s become just something that everybody supports.

JW:

I remember back in the early day of marketing when QR codes were just out and everyone was trying to force consumers to use them. You had to download a reader, and you had to install it, and it was just such a mess. You just couldn’t get it to work, and now it’s kind of mainstream, but I do think that there’s been this transformation around the user experience based on all of the acceleration in the digital technology, and now you’ve gone, I recently rented a car and instead of standing in a long line of seven or eight people and going through all that process, they were forced to make a touch list to get you into the car as fast as possible, and a previously not amazing experience has now turned into something that was so simple. I got the car and was in the car within about five minutes, and that would have never happened before.

JW:

So in some ways, I think that the digital acceleration is one of the positive outcomes, and the silver lining of what we’ve gone through with COVID. Similar with tele-doc appointments. It was on the roadmap forever and maybe in five years you do tele-doc and maybe companies would support it, maybe insurance companies will and here we are now, it is just tele-doc the whole way through. The efficiencies are fantastic, because to your point about safety, the reality is a lot of companies including retailers have had to reduce their staff to manage to maintain their viability and now, you’re not only working with a staff that’s concerned about safety, but you’re working with a smaller staff than you had before.

JW:

You said it earlier, you’re asking them to do different jobs, door greeter, safety greeter, checking on capacity in the stores. You’re looking at doing things very differently, which historically would require more people and we’re having to do it in a new way with the same amount or less people. Thank goodness for technology it’s really helped us to move forward.

JW:

But to my story of when my daughter came in to the store where she worked, it is also so important to see that technology being put to incredibly good use from the standpoint of concerns around when there is an incident of COVID or something else that would happen, and there’s some great technologies supporting the digital transformation from that standpoint as well, that I think UKG is managing in a phenomenal way.

AN:

Yeah, one of the things that’s been really interesting, kind of to the point of what used to be a nice to have and now it’s a need to have is really task management. We sort of had this task management product for quite a while, and up until now, it’s been the retailers that understand it and see value in it love it, and we talk to a ton of different retailers about how it can be implemented within their organization, but one of the really interesting things that we found within the survey, and I don’t remember the actual stat is I think it was only about a quarter of retailers plan on implementing a task management solution for the holiday. And I think it’s because a lot of retailers don’t fully understand the benefits of it or what it does, because it is a relatively new offering within the space.

AN:

So a really great task management solution, just streamlines and organize all the tasks that store employees are responsible for on any given day. So pre-COVID this meant you needed to fold sweaters in a very particular way, the end cap had to be organized in a particular way. The cash wrap had a specific layout and plan that needed to go to. Employees needed to execute on that. All of that was clearly laid out within the task management tool. You could take a photo, upload that to corporate for validation, and then all of a sudden you’re good to go. And then corporate can make sure that all of the stores have the same experience from store to store.

AN:

A year ago, that was nice. That’s great. You want to make sure that your stores are consistent from organization to organization, you want to make sure that your employees know exactly what’s expected of them with each task, but now that’s essential. Especially when it comes to all the different sanitation methods that store employees need to execute on today. So they’re rolling out different sanitation and cleaning protocols every day in different policies every day, and depending on the regulation in your state, if something changes that policy, or that procedures got to change as well. So if you’ve got a great task management solution in place, you can optimize and streamline that and have it come from some central corporate location, so that all of your employees know exactly what to do, exactly what’s expected of them, it’s outlined within the mobile app, so if something changes you can roll that change out to your frontline employees instantly. And they can validate that things have been done properly.

AN:

So while it’s not folding sweaters anymore, maybe now it’s installing a plexiglass shield. Perfectly folded sweaters are great. The plexiglass shield, that’s got to be right. That’s not something that can be wrong. Same thing with different cleaning and sanitation supplies, making sure that all your PPE is stored properly, so that when an employee comes in and they need to change their PPE they know that it’s safe, and they know that it’s been handled properly.

AN:

So that’s something that has kind of surprised us with COVID actually. And it’s something that we’ve had a lot more conversations about and the technology hasn’t changed, but the way it’s being used has.

JW:

Yeah, I just love all these ideas, and all these examples, are so probably resonating and really hitting home with so many of the listeners of this webinar today, because it’s something that we all are challenged with, we’ve all been thinking about, and we’ve all been dealing with. It’s fantastic for the employers to be thinking about how they can do business better, not just to support their customers, but the employees on the backend. Everything from the contact tracing to the task management and even the choice in control with on-demand pay it just opens up this new appreciation, and I think in the early days of COVID when a lot of companies were furloughing and laying off significant numbers of staff that trust between the employer, employee was shaken a little because employees desperately needed money and the employers were trying everything they could, so many of our employers, I know you at UKG and even us at DailyPay are going above and beyond from a benefits perspective and from a support perspective. When you have to furlough somebody or let them go it really shakes confidence in it, so it’s great to see it all coming back with such a keen focus on making that employee experience better with everything from externally supporting them, financial safety, personal safety all the way down to that pay experience is great.

JW:

And I know the two of us could probably talk all day about things we think should happen and could happen and studies and research and results, but I do think we want to showcase a couple employers who have been really taking some interesting actions, or have had a twist in their line of thinking since COVID that are enabling the industry to move retail forward. So I think the first one we wanted to talk about was Tractor Supply. Do you want to speak to Tractor Supply?

AN:

Yeah, so Tractor Supply is honestly one of my favorite clients. Not only are they a really cool unique brand, but they’ve been in the news a lot around COVID, because they have really embraced their role as protector and keeper of the employee, in a lot of ways, some of which has stuff to do with UKG, a lot of which doesn’t. They rolled out new benefits, they hired tons of people. Earlier I mentioned some new roles coming out because of COVID, and Tractor Supply is a great example of this, because they now do have the role of the greeter, and that’s exactly what that person does. They stand there with a counter in states where that regulation applies, and they also offer masks to any employee who may walk in without one.

AN:

But it’s well above and beyond that. So one of the things that’s really interesting about Tractor Supply is they own their entire distribution chain from the distribution centers to the truck drivers and deliveries to obviously the retail stores. And as part of their roadmap they were planning on rolling out mobile access for scheduling and time keeping purposes for their employees, but they found that’s one of the items that they really needed to accelerate, especially for their truck drivers, because what they didn’t want is a truck pulling up to a distribution center, a driver walking inside to the back room, logging his clock in, clock out, logging his arrival and then walking out.

AN:

And then once he got to the store he, or she, would have to do the same approach. Walk into the store, go back to the Kronos, now the UKG clock, log their entry, then go back to the truck. So they rolled out mobile like that to their delivery drivers so they could do all of that on their mobile device, without having to leave their truck and without having to have unnecessary interaction and contact with other employees.

AN:

Not only that, but Tractor Supply uses a UKG module called out of station. And if you’re not familiar, out of station is basically a question and answer, it can appear on the time clock, it can be in the mobile device, or wherever that says, “I the employee attest that I have x, y, z.” Typically it’s used for compliance purposes. Within a few days of COVID hitting, Tractor Supply was able to pivot their out of station tool and they could ask things like, “I attest that I don’t have a temperature. I attest that I don’t have COVID symptoms. I have not come into contact with anybody who’s been diagnosed. I have not been at large social gatherings.” Whatever questions Tractor Supply felt was appropriate, they were able to tweak and adjust their out of station tool to ask those particular questions of their employees.

AN:

No new technology was necessary. Just a different way to use existing technology. And that’s one of the things that we’ve seen through a lot of our clients, especially essential retailers like Tractor Supply, is they’ve gotten really creative with their existing solutions and how you can apply those to make sure that your workforce is well taken care of and safety. And I think Tractor Supply is a shining example of a retailer that has gone above and beyond for their employees.

JW:

Yeah, and Tractor Supply is one of our clients as well, and they did accelerate offering on-demand pay for the pandemic. And I think it’s paid off in dividends through employee satisfaction, the reduced turnover. Anytime during a pandemic that you can go to your CFO and say that you’re going to implement a benefit that costs zero dollars for the company and has absolutely no change management required because of the API integrations that we’ve already done with you at UKG, that’s good news for the C-suite, it’s great news for the employees to be able to have access to that benefit to manage through this as well. I think that’s awesome. And Tractor Supply really is a shining example of all of the ways that you can look at repurposing what you have, and accelerating what’s been on your roadmap when it makes sense for the right decision.

JW:

I know another company that’s on the forefront of strategic thinking during COVID is Texas Roadhouse. And Texas Roadhouse is a fantastic company. I think you came in contact with them at a conference a little while ago and they probably changed their approach since the last year and the way they do business, right?

AN:

Yeah, so Texas Roadhouse is a company that I’ve been following for quite some time. Full disclosure, they’re not a client, if there’s anyone from Texas Roadhouse out there, call me, we’d love to talk, but they are not currently a client. But what I think is really interesting about Texas Roadhouse, is they take a very thoughtful approach to their entire organization and their entire business. They look at everything through the lens of just because it’s a fad, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Do we want to do this? Does it make sense for us? Does it make sense for our organization? And a year ago, year and a half ago, I was at a restaurant conference, and there was someone from Texas Roadhouse on stage coming out and saying, “Nope, we will never do curbside pickup. We will never do third party delivery. We don’t have control over the experience, we don’t have control over the product once it leave the kitchen, we don’t have control over the presentation, we have no idea what’s going to happen from the time the box of food leaves the restaurant to the time it shows up on somebody’s doorstep. And we’re not willing to take that risk with our brand.”

AN:

People were like, “Mm-hmm (affirmative) okay whatever.” A lot of people met that with a lot of skepticism. Personally, I thought that was pretty brave, because everybody saw third part delivery as what’s next, and what’s coming. But I think to really put your brand and your experience first is pretty admirable.

AN:

But what happened? COVID happened. So at this point, Texas Roadhouse basically had no choice. So they did sort of start to adopt curbside pickup. You can see them on various delivery apps out there, and they are going down that path, but what I thought was interesting about that is the amount of rethinking Texas Roadhouse would have to do to support curbside pickup or third party delivery. First off, they have to look at the wifi within their organization. Did they have the wifi to support all of these new data connections and all this new internet that needs to come down to their point of sale system, and their kitchen display system?

AN:

How does their staff handle it? Their staff is historically not trained for curbside delivery or third party delivery. It’s something they have come out and said they’re not going to do, so they don’t have the staff that’s trained for that. So they’re going to have to very quickly take a fresh look at their staffing model and their training model, and think how can I make sure that we are going to do the best we can to ensure positive experience through third party delivery or online pickup.

AN:

And then how do we rethink the kitchen and the kitchen layout? Because one of the things we’ve seen with a lot of our restaurant clients is not only are they having to rethink their staffing model and they’re having to rethink training of their staff, they’re having to rethink the layout of their entire restaurant as well, so that the kitchen has enough room that they need and all of that food can stay warm until it is picked up. And then what kind of packaging does it go in?

AN:

So there’s a lot that really goes into making the decision to go from an in restaurant sit down model into third party delivery or curbside pickup. I give Texas Roadhouse a lot of credit for making that hard decision and saying, “You know what, the day and age calls for it, so we’re going to try it, we’re going to see what happens.”

JW:

Yeah, I love that. There was something you said in there, they were concerned that they might lose control over the quality of their food, and it’s so interesting because within business, we get so used to predisposed ideas where we could never do that because this terrible thing might happen and it’s not until a need comes along that is bigger than the concern that you have where you have to take that deep breath and try and do it, and clearly for Texas Roadhouse that strategy shift is paying off and I think they’re realizing with the right amount of planning as you went through a great list, and with the right amount of insight that they won’t lose control over the quality of their food, and they’re not losing control over the quality of it, in fact they’re building a better and a more loyal customer base, because now they can meet the need of consumers that they have.

JW:

And I find that very interesting in a parallel light to on-demand pay, because often times we get asked by employers, people say I’m concerned that if we offer on-demand pay that people are going to take out all their money and they’re just going to use it on whatever, and they’re not going to be able to manage it and payday is going to come around, they’re not going to have anything left. We kind of laugh, because there’s this concern, but then there’s this ultimate need, and as we talked about before with 71% of Americans feeling that financial stress over the holidays, that need is overcoming the concern, people are taking a deep breath, and when they do implement on-demand pay they’re realizing that people are responsible with their money. And I don’t know about you, but it is a very rare occurrence if ever that when I open up my Chase app and see how much money is in my checking account that I run to the ATM and take it all out and hurry up and just spend it. Although, I’d love to have enough money to be able to do that and not worry about it, but people are very responsible, and people appreciate when companies are going out of their way to create an experience that meets their needs.

JW:

So I love what Texas Roadhouse is doing to create that delivery experience and the curbside pickup to meet their customers needs during the pandemic. It’s very similar to what we see in on-demand pay with employees being grateful as well. I just love that innovation is pushing us to be aware of what the needs of our end users are, and how we can create the best experiences. And I think this next example of mall of America really highlights that experiential element of it.

JW:

First of all, you’re a mall in the middle of COVID. Second of all, you’re in Minneapolis where during the summer it’s beautiful, but during the winter it’s cold, and they were really challenged with how do they maintain relevancy, how do they maintain customer base throughout the pandemic, and how more importantly can they have all of their clients who are stores inside Mall Of America to still maintain viability as well.

JW:

So I’ve been watching Mall Of America, and they partnered with Popshop Live to create live stream shopping. So now, all the Mall Of America fans, and it’s a great mall, if you haven’t ever been there, you should go there, camp Snoopy is incredible. But any consumer now who is close by the Mall Of America or loves it can shop their favorite Mall Of America store from home. What an incredible way to leverage innovation, to meet the needs of your customer base, and especially to look at that planning piece to help them very carefully get ready for Black Friday, holiday, and other big shopping days when you traditionally would have to have the door greeter with the capacity clicker and the states that have those rules, making sure that you’re not turning people away, but you’re giving them access to shop and access to that experience.

JW:

So I just want to commend Mall Of America for really going above and beyond and thinking outside of the box and realizing that their customers, both their internal customers of the stores and the shoppers at the mall, really have a need to continue to have that community feel and experience, and really found ways to make it happen, even during COVID.

AN:

Yeah, I think that’s definitely super interesting. And sort of to your point earlier, really showcases a lot of the innovations that have come out. It’s not something that I think malls would have thought of. People have been writing about the demise of malls for years now, but never has it occurred to anyone to do what Mall Of America is doing. But sometimes what is it, necessity is the driver of the greatest inventions or something like that. I think Mall Of America is truly embracing that catch phrase that I just totally butchered.

JW:

No, I think it’s necessity is the mother of invention.

AN:

There it is.

JW:

Yeah, taking advantage of how to create the future, the new mall, if we’re in the new normal, we’ve got a new mall, but I love it because otherwise you’d be looking at all that empty mall real estate with nothing happening there, and I think they’ve taken such an innovative approach, but Amazon has as well, and I think you wanted to speak to some of the innovative stuff Amazon is doing as far as space goes too.

AN:

Yeah, that was a perfect segue. Amazon is helping malls fill that need from a totally opposite perspective. As we all know, Amazon has just come out of this COVID with success beyond belief. Everybody shopped at Amazon before COVID. Now everybody, everybody shops, and everybody, everybody shops even more at Amazon. It’s become even more of a go to in my household than it ever has before, and one of the things that Amazon has really been focused on, especially over the last couple years is really that last mile delivery. Making sure that you order your package one day, it’s there the next day. If not the next day, then the day after that. And they’ve been really taking a hard look at some of these malls that have been a little less successful and a little less innovative than Mall Of Americas and they’ve got where Macy’s used to live, where Barneys used to live, where Saks used to live. All of these very large anchor stores have either shut down completely or have started closing stores, and Amazon is like, “Wait a minute, that’s a really big amount of space, and a fantastic location.”

AN:

So Amazon has started taking over some of these really large amounts of square footage available to them, and turned it into a much more localize distribution center. They’ve been in the news for that a couple times over the last couple of months, and I think Amazon is one of those organizations that’s constantly looking around how can we do this a little different? How can we do this a little better? They question everything and come out of this with some really interesting innovations.

JW:

Yeah, I mean they really do. I think they’re always even sometimes two or three steps ahead, because a couple years ago we started to see the Amazon Go stores where you can walk in and shop from a contact-less standpoint with almost no staff, and there’s robots and everybody was just like, “Oh, that’s so crazy, where’s the experience there?” And I think now in our contact-less touch-less world we’re all very grateful and thankful that innovations like that exist. And I think the innovation is so great and so powerful and truly I really do see the silver lining around everything horrible that COVID has brought into our lives for so many companies and businesses, because it’s forcing them to rethink, reinvent and take care of what matter most to them, which are their customers and certainly their employees, and we’re seeing across all employers, we’re seeing everyone starting to use their employees more strategically.

JW:

I just think that’s fantastic, because at DailyPay working with as many companies as we do, we can actually see you may work at store A, and you may also have a second job at store B. We can actually see that. And I know personally I’ve been surprised when I see some of the data of what high percentages of people have two different jobs at two different retailers and it’s really fascinating to me, and it seemed like always there should be a way to capitalize on that or even capitalize on different options when you have enough of staff in one store, but you don’t have enough staff in another store to meet your customer’s needs.

JW:

Your group, you’ve done that brilliantly in looking at how those trends are evolving, and I think you’ve got some really great insights about how companies are using employees more strategically.

AN:

Yeah, I think you just said something really interesting that you can see how David is working at two different retailers, and that’s something that we’ve always inherently known that happens. And a lot of our clients know that happens too, they just don’t really know how to give David enough hours. But when everything with COVID happened went down, I talked to a couple different retailers and restaurant groups, and when they had to make the hard decisions, when they had to say we can’t save everybody, they looked across their staff, and they kept those employees that were the most versatile. Not necessarily the ones that had been there longer, not necessarily the most experienced, or the best at their particular role, but they kept the ones that you can plug and play. And I think that’s a trend we’re going to see continue is just the need for cross training and making sure that you can plug and play your employees and they have the ability to have multiple roles.

AN:

We’re also seeing a drive towards more full-time staff. As much as possible, which is something a lot of retailers have wanted to mitigate that multiple job scenario that you just described, but this is also to minimize the quantity of staff that they have, to minimize the number of people that they have to interact with on a regular basis. So we’re really seeing a push towards giving the employees more hours, and with really great technology solutions, you can enable that on a much easier level.

AN:

I mentioned earlier, if you’re an essential retailer with let’s say you’re a grocery store with three locations within a 10 mild radius. You can share employees across those stores, which will help to give employees all of the hours that they need, as well as making sure that all of your roles are staffed with qualified people who have been cross trained throughout your organization, so they can take multiple roles. There’s a lot of different strategies that retailers are employing to help mitigate a lot of this stuff. We have a whole series on our website, and we’ve got a bunch of strategic advisors that are working with clients every day on their particular needs and their particular clients with solutions and strategies to help optimize their workforce, especially in the light of COVID.

JW:

Yeah, and that consolidated approach is so fascinating to me. Before I worked at DailyPay, I was the global chief marketing officer at Mercer and across all of Mercer’s clients we always used to look at that cross employer hiring scenario to look at even with the gig economy coming up how can you manage health benefits if you’re not working enough hours at each employer to qualify for benefits? Is there something that consortiums of industry organizations can do to come together and do that. I think this is just the beginning, a bigger trend for total rewards and employee benefits that really makes a difference. And I think you hit the nail on the head. You got employees who are taking multiple jobs because they are financially stressed and they are concerned about having enough money when you can overlay on top of that the ability for them to have choice and control over when they get paid based on the hours that they worked.

JW:

It helps to start alleviate stress, and it’s the beginning of something phenomenal around managing through employee satisfaction. And that’s not just something for the holiday. That is something that will stay with us forever.

JW:

I know we’re running close to time, and I see that we’ve gotten a lot of questions, and we’ve been getting more and more and we’ve been talking. So we’re going to try and get to at least a few of them before the end, but we do want to wrap up with some holiday predictions and not necessarily what Amanda and I personally think are going to happen during the holidays, but what the data is saying and it looks like from the data we’ve seen with the Harris poll, it’s going to be an optimistic holiday season. I don’t know if sales are going to be exactly where they have been in past years. I think it’s going to be a very different holiday season. But the confidence level among retailers is almost through the roof. 91% of retailers are confident or extremely confident that their stores are going to be open and fully operational on Black Friday, and that does not mean free for all run in and get in line for the $2 TV sets or anything. I do think every much everything that you said Amanda, is going to be put into place.

JW:

You’re going to have door greeters, you’re going to have capacity, you’re going to have a push to order online and pick up in store, or even order online and have shipped to your house. I also personally think that because of supply chain challenges for a lot of organizations that don’t own the full supply chain, ordering early is going to be a bigger thing, because you want to add that extra two or three days in case there’s a delay in getting the materials to you.

JW:

It’s all good news, or at least it’s all positive approach as we get into it. Four out of five retailers have said that closing the store during a busy holiday season is not unthinkable, and if they are going to manage very carefully to the safety and security of their employees and their shoppers, and I love that. We’ve already seen some stores step up and say they will absolutely not be open on Black Friday or at the very least they will not be open on Thanksgiving Day whereas in the past we were seeing that trend to three day long Black Friday celebrations, and it’s really great, because it gives us more time with our families, but it also gives us that sense of appreciation and concern for the American public.

JW:

So I think that it’s going to be a positive holiday season. Stores are looking to keep employees employed, just doing different jobs. Maybe helping to do the online ordering and the fulfillment and delivery. Not so much the shirt or sweater folding as much as possibly doing customer service and just making sure that everything is managed appropriately. Do you have any thoughts on final holiday predictions before we wrap it up and get into some Q&A?

AN:

Yeah, what I think is really interesting is really that first point there. Almost all retailers are confident that stores will be open and fully operational. I think one of the things that our survey data said to me loud and clear is they’re confident because they’re planning. They’re thinking about it. They’re taking all the steps they need to take today to make sure that they can open up safely. To make sure that they’ve got all of these policies and procedures in place, to make sure that they’re protecting their staff and they’re protecting their employees.

AN:

The best blanket of confidence is really planning. So if they’re ready, if they’ve got the contingency plans, if they thought it all through, then yeah, they’re going to be confident.

AN:

So that stat tells me that not only are they confident, but they’re thoughtful. And they thought about it, and they’re ready. I think it will be a different holiday season, but I think kind of to your comment earlier, let’s continue this conversation in January and see how things went.

JW:

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think unfortunately we’ve been having such a great conversation ourselves, and hopefully everybody that’s attending this webinar has found it very useful, but we are almost out of time. So I am just going to ask one question that we’ve received. And everyone else who has submitted questions, I promise we’re not going to leave you hanging. Amanda or I will get back to you with answers to your questions. As I mentioned earlier, the reports that we shared in this webinar will be made available to you just for attending the webinar. Please read them, enjoy them, share them with your teams, share them with the business. Retailers, rethink holiday season strategy, this report will be made available to you. And I’m psyched. I think this is one of the most powerful reports I’ve seen in a long time.

JW:

To get to the end and wrap it up, I am going to ask one question that came in, because I think it’s super relevant to the conversation that we’ve had, which is how can we implement some of the practices like contact tracing or labor sharing if we don’t have any budget for new technology or for technology enhancements. I want to pop in and say if you’re looking at implementing on demand pay, good news, it is free, you need zero dollar and zero extra staff, so I’m going to make that one really easy for you, but Amanda how about on your side?

AN:

I think it’s going to depend on the technology you already have. If you’ve got a modern best in class workforce management solution, pulling a contact trace report probably shouldn’t be hard. We’ve got one for all of our workforce management products that’s already pre canned, it’s ready to so. If not, reach out to your workforce management provider and see if they’ve already prepared something for that.

AN:

When it comes to labor sharing, I mean the good news is that’s mostly strategy. It’s mostly thinking it through. What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to do it? What are other people doing. So talk to your peers, talk to others in the field, we’ve got a whole team of strategists and workforce management experts that mostly come from industry to help our clients think all of this through.

AN:

And if some changes to the technology need to be made, we’ll work with you to do that. But most times it doesn’t. It’s just a matter of using what you already have in a little more strategic way.

JW:

I love it. Amanda, you’ve been amazing to speak with, and I so wish that we could speak for hours and hours and hours, but I know there are other things people need to do today. Please, really understand, if you had a question that we didn’t answer, which are a lot, I can see on the list, we will get back to you and we will give you some answers and love to followup this conversation. For those of you that are looking to attend another phenomenal webinar, mark your calendars for November 11th from one to two east cost. We will be talking about the 2020 HR tech breakthroughs and the emerging trends for 2021. Don’t miss that one, and Amanda thank you so much for joining us today, this was amazing.

AN:

This was great, thanks for having me, it’s been a lot of fun.

JW:

Great.

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