Labor optimization is a very broad, and rather trendy topic these days. Nowhere does it seem more prevalent than in the retail and restaurant industries where new scheduling and minimum wage regulation roll-outs will be making a significant impact. Regardless of the industry, however, every manager and owner is looking for ways to get the most out of their staff. Balancing employee productivity with profitability, and engagement with satisfaction.

There are several components to labor optimization including:

  •   Gathering Baseline Analytics
  •   Implementing Technology
  •   Increasing Employee Engagement

How do you start? By creating a strong team.

Hire smart. Don’t ever hire in desperation. This may seem like an impossible task when you are short staffed and feel like all you do is put out fires. But, hiring smarter will allow you to better retain staff because you’ve hired more quality talent. Check references, conduct background checks and have them demonstrate their skills and personality for the correct fit. There will be nothing to optimize if you don’t have the right team.

Discover individual strengths. Each team member has something to offer the business. No one has lived in a vacuum and their backgrounds can include a diversity of transferrable skills. Find out your employees’ stories – it is good for engagement as well as team development.

Transparency. Do not be secretive – let your team know your goals and action plans and their part in it. Secrecy breeds mistrust and can make them suspicious of your motives. Transparency, on the other hand, creates trust. Labor optimization begins with a strong foundation and honesty makes great cement.

Be consistent. Consistency also builds trust and confidence in your reliability to manage your team and shows that you relate to each individual as an equal member of the team. Consistency creates a fair environment with clear expectations, actions, and consequences, which builds healthy boundaries and increases productivity.

Don’t use gimmicks. Achievement based rewards will always work better than unfair gimmicks. Tie incentives and rewards to the performance goals you desire which are reasonable, valuable, and attainable.

Create an “open” team. Do whatever it takes to create cohesiveness, such as open workspaces and roundtable meetings. A team with members who are isolated from one another is not as productive as one that works together collaboratively. To optimize labor, use collaboration and team input to get buy-in to goals.

Share successes. Some leaders do not want any members of their team to “outshine” them. This is actually a sign of a poor leader. A good leader wants members of their team to do well. Give your team members the chance to achieve and celebrate when they do.

Build future leaders. Try to acquire your leaders from a team member within the company. To do this, allow team members to lead smaller projects and see who handles them well. Create a culture where employees know and understand how to excel and grow within the company.

Innovate. Change is a constant in life and being on the edge of innovation takes creative problem solvers and thinkers. To create an environment where innovation can flourish, you must have an environment where it is safe to be creative. Out of the box thinking and unusual problem solving must not be ridiculed or pushed aside. Listen to what your employees are identifying as problems and work to solve them collaboratively.

Zuus Workforce supports managers by being a worldwide resource for labor compliance and labor optimization for the retail, restaurant, hospitality, security, healthcare, and manufacturing industries. Have questions about how they can support you? Contact them today.