The Home Depot is enhancing its associate experience with a new app developed to help them prioritize tasks more effectively, and a new pay policy that rounds clock-ins and clock-outs to the nearest minute rather than the nearest 15 minutes. The new app, dubbed Sidekick, is aimed at improving the customer experience as well.
Sidekick is powered by machine learning and works to guide associates to the highest-demand products, inform them which shelves need restocking and help them locate excess product on overhead shelves. The mobile tool also will let associates know when a given task should be completed and identify where and how to complete a task in a dashboard with both associate and manager views.
The software also will help associates complete these tasks by utilizing machine vision to detect out-of-stocks as well as powering the excess product location capabilities. Sidekick will be integrated with Home Depot’s other platforms to assure that it stays aligned with broader business needs.
“The first step to customer service is being in stock with the right product that’s easy to locate,” said Muzammil Akram, VP for Store Technology at The Home Depot in a statement. “Equipping our associates with innovative technology is one key factor in delivering on that initiative. Sidekick is the perfect addition to hdPhones because it utilizes a data-driven approach to help our associates prioritize which tasks will benefit our customers the most.”
Sidekick will work on Home Depot’s hdPhones, a device developed in collaboration with Zebra Technologies, HPE and Aruba. The retailer already has rolled at more than 99,000 of these devices across all its U.S. stores. Sidekick itself has been installed at more than 600 stores, with plans to expand deployment to all U.S. locations by the end of fiscal 2022.
The new pay practices will be another boon for associates once they take effect on Jan. 16. While rounding to 15 minutes is legal, employees have reportedly accused Home Depot of rounding down their clock-ins in order to reduce their pay, according to Business Insider. The new system will enable more accurate tracking of hours worked.