The Labor Shortage and the World’s Reawakening
When the pandemic hit unexpectedly, many businesses were forced to limit their operating hours or close their locations altogether, leaving them with no option but to cut their hourly workforce in an attempt to stem their financial losses.
Over the last year, as the world gained a better understanding of the risks associated with Covid-19, stores were able to slowly reopen with restrictions. However, many furloughed employees were not willing to return and take the newly opened positions. Locations, desperate to reopen, were left with no option but to operate their locations with fewer employees than before, even though returning customers expected pre-pandemic levels of service and the ability to choose new services like BOPIS and curbside pickup. While most didn’t think it would be possible if asked before the pandemic, many learned that they could run their operation with a smaller team if frontline workers were recognized and rewarded for their extra efforts and had the tools to streamline tasks and communication.
If you have been out in the last few weeks, you may have experienced the reemergence across America where people are out in the restaurants, retail stores, and many are going back to the offices they left over a year ago. With vaccines now widely available, consumers are eager to shop, dine out and play. However, many retailers, restaurants and casinos are concerned about handling this surge of increased business activity.
Amid what is a reawakening of the world, there is trouble brewing for employers when it comes to being staffed and ready for a big return of customers and guests. It is due to a nationwide labor shortage. Many enterprises have found it challenging to fill open positions and rebuild to pre-Covid levels as they expand hours of operation, increase service levels, and attempt to meet the growing demand from customers and guests. There are a number of reasons as to what is creating this labor shortage, how significant it is, and when it might end. Still, some businesses are starting to consider increasing wages in an attempt to entice workers to return to the workforce to fill positions.
This situation puts service-oriented businesses in a precarious position. As any good economist knows, increasing wages without an offsetting increase in productivity will likely lead to an increase in the price of goods and services as employers look to maintain margins. In particular, retailers are desperate to keep or gain market share while this disrupted market is up for grabs, but at what impact to their bottom line if they support dramatically increasing their Opex labor costs?
At Theatro, we have always believed in the positive impact that a recognized, encouraged and rewarded frontline team can make. have proved to themselves that this formula works when they downsized in the pandemic and had to roll up their sleeves to work shoulder to shoulder with their frontline team to run locations. At this crossroads, we believe retailers and casinos can choose to invest in more labor hours at a higher rate or invest in purpose-built technology to enable existing labor to be more productive. To us, the choice is obvious — pay your existing team members a higher wage and enable them to be more productive by equipping them with the tools they need to improve their productivity.
So how do retailers, casinos and restaurants do more with less while restoring excellent guest service and keeping frontline workers engaged? Simple — invest in your team members’ ability to succeed, recognize the hard work they do and continue to innovate right alongside them.
- Invest in technology for your team: Communication technology can empower team members by enabling them to find and use the information they need to do their job well. Empower them with easily accessible knowledge they need to deliver exceptional service.
- Recognize their hard work: Reward employees for quickly adapting to new schedules, processes and tools to cover staffing gaps that keep your sites open for business.
- Innovate with your team: Businesses can run operations with less staff if every team member feels supported and empowered to innovate. Once team members can connect to each other and critical business systems, productivity levels increase and service demands can be exceeded.
Theatro’s mobile collaboration platform enables those in the service business to overcome staffing challenges, react with agility and adjust to lower resources without sacrificing productivity or quality of service. With leaner teams connected by technology, organizations have the opportunity to change the game on productivity and win.
Are you interested in experiencing Theatro in your locations? Connect with our team today to schedule a demo.