Nov 27 2023
In the retail world, seasonality is commonplace, and no season highlights it more than the Golden Quarter, the period when most sales are made, particularly during events such as the festive season and sales periods. It’s in this scenario that annualization in retail, which allows employees to work longer hours during peak periods, becomes an asset.
But managing these working hours, which need to be compensated throughout the year, and distributing them fairly and correctly, while coping with the complexities of seasonal fluctuations and complying with strict labor legislation, is a real headache. In this article, we explore the challenges French retailers face when it comes to annualizing working hours, and how Orquest‘s AI-based employee scheduling addresses these challenges.
Annualized working hours in France enable employers in certain sectors, such as retail, to spread their employees’ working hours over the year rather than the week, as is usually the case. This means that, in weeks of high demand, employees can work more than 35 hours (the weekly limit in France as a general rule), while in other weeks, working hours are reduced.
Ready-to-wear, for example, generates up to 20% of its annual sales during sales periods. Annualization in retail enables us to meet this demand by increasing the hours worked by employees at this time of year, and reducing them during the off-peak months.
However, the complexity of annualization represents a major challenge for retailers. Balancing teams according to seasonal demand and ensuring compliance with French labor regulations tailored to each employee add layers of difficulty. This challenge is amplified by the scale of operations: the more stores and employees a retailer has, the greater becomes its process complexity.
This underscores the importance of effective personnel schedule management. Poor management can lead to inefficient scheduling, unnecessary paid extra hours, or staff absence during peak periods, resulting in customer dissatisfaction and lost sales opportunities.
When implementing annualized working hours, French retailers face the dual challenge of complying with strict labor regulations and, at the same time, ensuring that their staff meet store needs. This is where Orquest plays a key role.
Its software leverages Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Advanced Analytics to optimize scheduling, ensuring that the right employees are in the right place at the right time. Orquest integrates seamlessly into the operational set-up, simplifying the complexities of annualization with natural efficiency and guaranteeing optimal workforce management.
Let’s take a look at how Orquest responds to the main scheduling challenges facing French retailers:
Orquest predicts demand using AI and enables retailers to create reliable planning, allocating employees’ working hours week by week, months in advance. This enables them to adapt to seasonality, comply with regulations and satisfy their employees by informing them of their working hours in advance.
Orquest‘s scheduling takes into account the demand, workload and restrictions that apply to each employee, in order to place in-store staff in the right places at the right times, when customers need them. This avoids store over- or under-coverage, and makes the most of annualization in retail.
Last-minute changes to work schedules are common in retail stores, and can have a significant impact on performance. Orquest takes care of the unexpected by automatically updating schedules and ensuring the most efficient shift distribution at all times, based on store, customer and employee needs.
The software enables employees to clock in and out, and integrates easily with other physical or virtual time and attendance systems. This ensures accurate tracking of employees’ working hours, making it easy to manage time changes, including vacations and compensatory time.
Under annualization, hours worked in excess of the annual quota are compensated by rest or, in accordance with collective agreements, by additional payment. Orquest simplifies this process by enabling retailers to keep track of these hours and anticipate any compensation.
Orquest addresses the challenges posed by annualization in retail in France, simplifying what was originally a very complex process, and offering retailers a number of advantages:
French retailers face unique challenges due to working hours annualization, requiring a specific approach to workforce management. Orquest offers them a helping hand, providing a cutting-edge AI-driven solution that not only ensures compliance with labor regulations, but also enables retailers to optimize scheduling, reduce staffing costs and boost employee satisfaction.