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Having recently returned from the 2014 National Retail Federation show in New York City, I wanted to share a few takeaways and observations. In the area of workforce management, there were not a lot of new products being launched this year, which says to me that all the promises of the past two to three years have come to fruition. Systems seem to be in place and working. Mobile technologies definitely made a big showing, as did customer-facinganalytics, both of which seemed to be the overriding show themes.Exhibitor attendees who stopped by Sability’s booth seemed interested in the latest advances in workforce management, including automated and cloud-based systems. Not surprisingly, we learned that many retailers still use paper time cards and Excel spread sheets to track employee time and attendance and weren’t very familiar with automated systems.

But they were interested in learning about updated solutions. Some asked how they could enable these new technologies and modernize their business, asking the right questions about how to get started.

Human capital management (HCM) consultancies like Sability help companies open the conversation about human capital management systems and what’s working and what’s not for their individual organization. There are so many different systems on the market today and determining the best system for a company takes expertise and familiarity with the various solutions. It also requires understanding a company’s individual corporate culture and what works best for them, rather than selling the latest system.


Here are some questions to consider when thinking about upgrading or converting to a new HCM system:

  • What are your pain points? What kinds of problems are you having with your current system? What’s working and what isn’t in terms of time and attendance and scheduling?
  • How’s your budget management? Do you feel like you’re overspending? Do you have a system that properly allocates labor to ensure customer demand?
  • Do you have tardiness or buddy-punching issues?
  • Do you feel your system needs to be modernized? Do you feel that manual errors are costing you money, or that you’re spending too much time on payroll?
  • What are your company drivers?  Are you driven by customer service or costs?
  • How engaged is your workforce? Are they overloaded with paperwork? Is their time on the job easier or harder because of your human capital management system?
  • Do you have a system to manage hours to be in compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? Do you know your risks regarding managing employee hours for ACA?

These are just some of the questions Sability experts ask when helping companies decide what type of HCM system they need.  Fear of change and being overwhelmed with the number of systems on the market and their costs can scare away retailers from moving to the right system, whether that means an upgrade or overhaul. A knowledgeable HCM vendor may be one way to sort through all the choices.

Are you seeking to modernize your WFM system? What’s holding you back? Tell us about them and we’ll share some solutions in a future article.