TJX, Guitar Center Optimize Change Management To Maximize ROI

Managing the workplace environment can be stressful for retailers with vast brick-and-mortar presences, especially if they don’t have proper change management policies in place. In fact, 62% of retailers still cite poor change management, planning and execution as the top reason workforce management initiatives often fail to yield optimal ROI, according to data from Workforce Insight.

An #NRF16 BIG Ideas session focused on the necessity of workforce management (WFM) optimization, detailing how strategic imperatives and priorities shape the way modern retailers leverage WFM analytics to boost profitability.

The panel included executives with WFM expertise from three retail organizations, including:


  • Brian Dudley, Manager of Customer Experience and Innovation at TJX;

  • Alex Khamudis, Manager of Store Labor at Guitar Center; and

  • Paul Cox, Director of Store Operations at Ocean State Job Lot.

Jim Malafronte, Retail Principal for Workforce Insight and Debbie Hauss, Editor in Chief of Retail TouchPoints, moderated the panel.

One of the first steps retailers should take to optimize workforce management techniques is to go through the company rules and policies, Cox stated. An internal discussion can identify outdated procedures and allow the retailer to onboard technologies such as in-store mobile devices.

“To dig through those work rules and make sure they apply, follow an old saying,” Cox said during the presentation. “If there is something you’ve always done, it’s probably time to review it to see if it’s part of the go-forward. Work rules can disrupt what should be an easy implementation of a modern system if they’re not all agreed on.”

Khamudis explained that retailers must have an understanding of the store associate tasks  and figure out realistically how much time it takes to perform these tasks before making any strategic decision. He acknowledged that the steps taken to build this understanding largely rely on the retailer’s structure starting from the top. While Guitar Center had created its own efficiency score for each store as part of its WFM solution, the stores didn’t see success until the executive team fully supported the project and kept open communication with regional district managers.

TJX hired a change management consulting firm to address prior behaviors, formulate a communications plan, and carry out a new internal training plan, according to Dudley.

“We worked closely with our field executives to identify key assets out in the field that could help us influence their partners in the regional and district offices,” said Dudley. “Our implementation was successful not from the technical aspects of our configuration, but more from the change management program that we put into place.”

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