Monday, March 3, 2014

4 HCM Trends to Watch in Retail in 2014

4 HCM Trends to Watch in Retail in 2014 image retail clothing from above 200388481 001 47 300x200

We’re well into 2014. What are the Human Capital Management (HCM) technology trends that retail organizations are following? Here are four trends I’m witnessing. While these trends may evolve, their general direction is clear.

Trend: Offline Shopping—The Next Big Thing

Last year, Forrester Research predicted that 10 percent of all retail sales, or $371 billion, will be online by 2017. Though the projected year-over-year growth rate is rapid, the percentage is relatively small. This suggests that consumers shopping inside physical stores will remain the bedrock of retail sales for many years. Furthermore, this month Accenture released survey results suggesting that offline shopping is growing: For 2014, 21 percent of U.S. shoppers said they plan to increase their in-store purchasing, up from 9 percent for 2013.

Even so, the online environment’s impact is indisputable: Earlier this decade, in 2010, just $155 billion worth of consumer goods were bought online, but a far larger portion of offline sales were influenced by online research. Combined, online sales and Web-influenced offline sales accounted for 42 percent of total retail sales that year ($917 billion), when Forrester predicted that the share would grow to 53 percent by 2014. And Forrester now cites the rise in the use of smartphones and tablets, with their immediate access to the Internet, as one of many factors contributing to Web-influenced shopping.

What Does It Mean for Retailers?

Store associates are important and still hold the key to a better shopping experience, which increases sales and repeat customers. Tweaks to technology for core HCM due to the shift in labor and activity types (e.g., for pack-and-ship from store, and from sourcing merchandise within the brand) affect labor spending, budgets, and these hourly employees. As a result, we see the importance of holistic HCM solutions and processing improving store associate engagement and their job satisfaction—which translates to better-engaged and happier customers.

Trend: Investments in Mobile Technology Continuing Apace

Spending on it is up 4.9 percent this year over last and 22. 2 percent over the past five years, reports RIS NEWS‘ “11th Annual Store Systems Study 2014: Retail Technology Spend Trends.” In retail, not all mobile investment is in HCM. The adoption of mobile-enablement of HCM processes across all industries, however, has grown by 67 percent since 2012, finds the “CedarCrestone 2013-2014 HR Systems Survey.”

What Does It Mean for Retailers?

All this affects employee engagement and retention. Can staff use their smartphones, for instance, to log into your employee self-service (ESS) portal? This is where they handle tax withholdings and benefits and how they receive their pay, and it’s where they review schedules and time worked, schedule time-off requests, and request ability to float. Employee turnover will always be high in retail, but when a more flexible and communicative ESS tool is in place, an hourly employee experiences an improved provision of care and flexibility in their work–life balance—which extends their stay and reduces costs in turnover while increasing the chances that associates will embrace becoming brand ambassadors.

Trend: Adoption of Cloud & SaaS Transforming Role of IT

For several years, the enterprise has been moving to cloud technology delivered via software-as-a-service (SaaS). In 2011, one-third of retailer respondents to the 2011 Retail Technology Trends Study, jointly conducted by RIS NEWS and Gartner, were using on-demand or SaaS models as part of their architecture approach to software. Nearly half of them were using cloud computing solutions, the same study found. An array of research has since shown a steady increase in cloud and SaaS adoption across most industries, and the pace is quickening. Gartner projects that the cloud will constitute the bulk of IT spending by 2016, and this year’s projected growth rate is 63 percent for HCM, reports CedarCrestone.

What Does It Mean for Retailers?

Cost savings are apparent, and IT benefits. For example, retailers that plan to increase store counts also tend to up their IT investments, but this type of spending actually declined by 3.4 percent in 2013 because of cloud technology, according to RIS NEWS‘ “11th Annual Store Systems Study 2014: Retail Technology Spend Trends.” SaaS means IT doesn’t have to micromanage selection or upkeep. Freed from this confining role, IT becomes a strategic asset enabling retailers to be high-performers in a manner that keeps pace with the demands of operations.

Trend: Transformation of Document Management, Information & Forms with Workflow

With the advances in HCM solutions, we are seeing a transformation occur in reaching true paperless and consolidated management of documentation for HR, pay and workforce management (WFM). With the ability to manage these documents online and have immediate access across all aspects of the employee’s life-cycle, the consolidation and improvements further reduce business process cycles and eliminate costs related to high-volume, manual administrative processing and forms. Furthermore, new levels of cost control and information are possible as we see HR, payroll, benefits, tax, planning, scheduling, time and attendance, and self-service within a single database. This does away with redundant stores and sources of data.

What Does It Mean for Retailers?

Consider now the ability this gives a retailer to assess information from transactional data that was previously housed in separate silos and difficult to surface: For instance, show me FTEs for the west region—or show me by-store splits by gender and ranked by SPH. Or, show me AHR for the company, by region, and drill into specific stores and departments (while comparing with efficiency to cover, within budget). The point is this: The possibilities are many. With every business, there are processes and approvals. Whether it’s a form, a process or work-flow, more and more solutions are offering the ability not only to create any form, but also to place it in a workflow that automates processing, expedites the timing, and ensures compliance in a manner that is extremely flexible to fit any organizational needs.

Do you work in a retail organization? What HCM tech trends do you see playing out in 2014?

Source: B2C_Business

4 HCM Trends to Watch in Retail in 2014

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