National chain David's Bridal is one of the latest big retailers to join HCM and workforce management system vendor Ceridian's stable of retail customers.
A big reason many large retailers are turning to workforce management system software is to help automate management of their constantly shifting scheduling needs and retail employees' demands for flexibility.
David's Bridal went live with Ceridian's WFM system, which is part of the vendor's cloud-based Dayforce HCM platform, in June 2017.
Going live with WFM system
While some of the 11,000 or so employees at the bridal retailer's field stores have been managed with the Ceridian system, others are working under a workforce management system from Infor.
The bridal retailer's recent rollout of the Ceridian WFM module was specifically for the retailer's corporate center and its 600 employees in Conshohocken, Pa.
The suburban Philadelphia complex, which previously was mostly using paper to track employee scheduling, also includes a contact center and two distribution facilities.
Benefiting from vendor support
A team from Ceridian was on site to help with the June installation, and the vendor also provides continuing support, said Kathryn Lopez, HRIS manager at David's Bridal.
Kathryn LopezHRIS manager, David's Bridal
"The strength that they have in their support department is that they have people who specialize in certain areas," Lopez said. "So beyond implementation, I have somebody that if I need help on time and attendance, I call him. And we have a different person for [data] imports and exports."
Before adopting the Ceridian workforce management system, the bridal retailer in 2016 started using the Dayforce payroll and time and attendance modules.
Integrating WFM with HCM software
So using the WFM software, Lopez and her team built work schedules for the distribution centers that auto populate each week and are integrated with employee data housed in the basic HR record, such as workers' titles and who they report to.
"And then everything flows into the time sheet and payroll as well," Lopez said.
Looking forward, David's Bridal is in the middle of a staged undertaking to build more features into its workforce management system and HCM system.
One of the new things the company is adding to the WFM system, for example, is a function to handle "call-out days" at the distribution centers, which employ about 400. "Call-out days" allow workers to take a certain number of days off without penalty.
"This is a special rule we are building just for that, which will track everything off the time sheet so that it doesn't count against anything, that they can request themselves ... on their phone or computer," Lopez said.
Aligning labor model with software
Employers, particularly in retail, are managing their workforce within a labor model or financial target, as well as labor cost constraints such as wages as a percentage of sales, sales per hour or other metrics.
"What Dayforce allows them to do is to build that model into the system and generate forecasts on key metrics that feed that model," said Andrew Shopsowitz, director of product management at Ceridian.
Typically those metrics include sales, transactions and customer traffic. Managers take historical data to construct a forecast for any given week of how the data works with a certain target such as wage percentage and how it affects their labor "spend" allotment.
In turn, that process translates to how many hours managers have to allocate, five days a week, by department or geographical zone, and helps guide them to how to best deploy workers.
How to manage labor spend
Then, users can take that bucket of hours, say 50 hours to spend on labor, and then spread those hours across the days and hours, in increments as small as 15-minute segments.
"It tells them where they should be putting their people on the schedule to align it with actual customer demand in their stores," Shopsowitz said.
Meanwhile, Ceridian lately has been on a marketing campaign to emphasize its penetration of the retail sector. In a recent release, the vendor touted its "growing family of retail clients" among its users, including big names such as DSW and 99 Cents Only Stores.
Ceridian targets retail
As part of its marketing strategy, Ceridian often gains a foothold with retail customers with its workforce management system and then tries to sell parts of or the whole Dayforce HCM platform to users, Shopsowitz said.
One significant development retailers and WFM software vendors like Ceridian that sell into the market have dealt with in recent years is tighter compliance with federal and state labor laws regarding on-call workers.
The Fair Labor Standards Act, and some states, generally requires employers to pay higher shift differentials to such workers who, while not at work, can be called in with less than a week or two's notice.
The less notice workers get, the higher the pay premium.
The Dayforce workforce management system can lock up a manager's shift plan if he or she overschedules on-call workers, alert managers that they have to pay on-call differentials, how much that premium is and how it would affect their labor spend, Shopsowitz pointed out.
"The compliance environment for retail is getting insanely complex," he said. "We build that functionality into the system to help managers make more guided decisions."