From Uncertainty to Delight:
How labor management software helps retail and hospitality businesses retain and engage employees amid a difficult labor market
Between January 2019 and March 2022, retail and hospitality businesses using the TimeForge labor management software suite experienced turnover rates much lower than the national average.
These lower rates are due to the effectiveness of the tools for employee engagement and retention, communication, hiring and onboarding, and labor coverage that are built into the TimeForge suite.
From Pandemic to Great Resignation
Retail and hospitality businesses continue to face labor market challenges
In recent years, retail and hospitality businesses have had to work especially hard to maintain adequate staffing levels. COVID-19 was a tipping point that exacerbated the problem, but the arrival of vaccines did not solve it.
Instead, the industry entered what has been termed the Great Resignation.
During this period, employees who delayed changing jobs during the pandemic took advantage of intense competition in the hiring market to pursue jobs in other industries.
The retail and hospitality industries have been among the hardest hit by the Great Resignation.
According to national data, voluntary terminations in March 2022 reached 6.1% for hospitality and 4.5% for retail. The respective rates for total separations were at 6.6% and 5.0%, still 2-3% higher than seen in other industries.
But what about businesses using a full-featured labor management software suite? How have they fared throughout this difficult period?
The Impact of Labor Management Software on Turnover Rates
While national turnover rates have largely returned to pre-pandemic levels, there’s no question that businesses using labor management software have fared better throughout the pandemic – and now the Great Resignation – than those that don’t.
Using data from 2019 as a baseline, we analyzed turnover rates among businesses using the TimeForge labor management software suite. The results, which include data for both the retail and hospitality industries, show that TimeForge users experience much lower rates of turnover across the entire period from January 2019 to March 2022 (Figure 1).
A Closer Look at Hospitality
Looking at a cross-section of data from the hospitality industry only, we see a dip in turnover during April 2020, when many businesses were paralyzed by the pandemic and associated mandates (Figure 2).
Turnover then spiked in the following month as these businesses resumed their operations and began recording terminations in TimeForge.
*Due to the nature of the dataset, it does not reflect temporary layoffs and terminations that resulted in a later rehire. We made a small adjustment (+1% turnover) to our numbers to account for this. Since the cost of rehires is much lower than new hires, however, we believe the data are representative of the overall impacts of turnover.
How Does Labor Management Software Buffer Retail and Hospitality Businesses from Difficult Labor Market Conditions?
First, it is important to note that TimeForge is an all-in-one labor management software suite. As such, the software includes tools to address the full employee lifecycle, from hire to termination.
Because TimeForge integrates with over 60 point-of-sale and payroll providers, this also means that users have access to advanced sales forecasting and budgeting tools not available through many labor management providers.
There are 4 primary ways that TimeForge reduces turnover and buffers businesses against difficult labor market conditions:
Employee Engagement and Retention
Employee retention is the most effective way to prevent turnover and its associated costs.
As an all-in-one labor management software suite, TimeForge provides several tools that empower its users to engage and retain staff. These tools include mobile apps for managing schedules and time sheets, end-of-shift notes, shift ratings, and daily log books.
TimeForge also includes integrated shift swaps and availability requests, which allow employees more flexibility in managing their schedules. This feature is extremely important, as research shows that today’s workforce demands a more flexible work schedule.
45% of people who quit in 2021 said it was due to a lack of flexibility in hours.
Streamlined Communication Between Management and Staff
With built-in communication options, including the ability to send SMS text messages, TimeForge makes it much easier for management and staff to stay on the same page about who is working and when.
Automated alerts for posted schedules, shift confirmations, shift swaps, and employee requests all ensure that employees receive the time off they were promised and show up for work on the days they are scheduled.
All together, this results in less burnout and better job satisfaction among businesses that use TimeForge.
Integrated Applicant Tracking, Hiring, and Onboarding
Because TimeForge includes a fully-integrated applicant tracking and job board system, businesses are able to hire and onboard staff quickly and efficiently. Managers transfer an applicant into a new position with just one click, then assign a set of onboarding forms and documents to the new hire, which helps the new team member get up and running as soon as possible.
Qualified employees who were terminated remain in the system and can be quickly rehired, which allows businesses to react fluidly to changing labor market conditions.
Better Shift Coverage
By maintaining excellent shift coverage, businesses using TimeForge ensure quality customer service while preventing burnout among both management and staff.
There are two main ways that TimeForge improves shift coverage:
- sales forecasting and scheduling tools, and
- the ability to transfer employee shifts between nearby locations.
Sales forecasting through POS integration allows TimeForge users to create much more accurate schedules in a much shorter amount of time than is possible by hand or with a spreadsheet. Management can track sales and labor in real time and adjust to changes as they happen rather than simply report on them after-the-fact.
Shift transfers allow multi-location hospitality businesses to distribute coverage according to locations that have the most need. This is often referred to as an internal gig economy.
From Past to Future
The data show that retail and hospitality businesses using TimeForge, a full-featured labor management software suite, experience lower turnover rates than seen nationally in these industries.
The differences can be attributed to retention tools that delight rather than frustrate employees, streamlined communication, seamless applicant tracking and onboarding, and better shift coverage achieved through precise sales forecasting and shift transfers.
“The industry pivoted so quickly to adopt what experts were calling ‘game changing’ technology – self check out, online ordering, delivery, order entry kiosks – we saw businesses implement solutions in weeks that they wouldn’t have gotten to for years otherwise,” says Audrey Hogan, Chief Operating Officer of TimeForge.
“Overall, we grew and adapted, and we are a smarter industry with what we now know. However, some businesses adapted faster than others – and those early adopters, like the businesses who choose to use TimeForge, did fare better than those who weren’t already accustomed to agile change and cutting-edge technology.”
TimeForge is a labor management software suite designed to meet the challenging demands of the retail and hospitality industries. The feature-rich yet user-friendly suite offers scheduling, communication, time clock, human resources, automated compliance, payroll, and sales forecasting capabilities.
Rated 4.7/5 stars in user reviews, TimeForge is affordable, easy-to-use, and serves both independent and chain operations. For more information, visit us at https://timeforge.com or find us on social media.
- Fontinelle, Amy. “The Great Resignation.” Investopedia. May 5, 2022.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Job Openings and Labor Turnover – March 2022.” https://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/jolts_05032022.pdf
- Parker, Kim and Horowitz, Juliana M. “Majority of workers who quit a job in 2021 cite low pay, no opportunities for advancement, feeling disrespected.” Pew Research Center. March 9, 2022.