2020 was a year like no other, with Covid-19 bringing unprecedented businesses disruption and particular strain for retailers globally. Co-founder of KeyPay Richard McLean shares his tips for maximising retail workforce efficiencies, as we progress into a brighter 2021.
The rise of the digital customer has forced retail businesses to adapt to remain relevant. While the world becomes more and more connected, forward-thinking businesses have been embracing technology to enhance the customer experience.
Alongside driving change to retain customers, retailers must also see the importance of transforming internally, to maximise efficiencies from the inside out.
Could your business be doing with an internal makeover this year? Innovating processes such as payroll, workforce and timesheet management can set your business up for success and add unexpected value in these 3 areas:
1. Achieving compliance best practice
The Holidays Act (2003) is a widespread compliance issue for businesses across New Zealand. With part time and variable hour staff on ever-changing shift schedules, the retail industry is particularly at risk of holiday pay underpayments.
To avoid penalties and expensive remediation processes, it’s vital to source technology sophisticated enough to manage the complexities of the Act. Leading up to the new Tax Year in April, there’s opportunity for a fresh start. Assess whether your current payroll technology is reliable enough to meet compliance needs, by asking yourself these key questions:
Is my software cloud-based?
Cloud software enables access to data from anytime, anywhere, making it easily retrievable for audits and sense-checks. Unlike desktop software, cloud technology allows updates to legislation changes in real time with no need to download or install.
Does my system interpret leave correctly?
Your software should show transparent breakdowns for leave estimates, and methods for calculating both daily based and weekly based leave types. This enables you to justify methods chosen if your business happens to be audited by a Labour Inspectorate.
How flexible is my system?
Ensure your system can cater for varying work patterns that commonly occur in retail. You should be able to configure unique employment arrangements for individual employees to automatically interpret overtime rates, entitlements and deductions, without manual calculations or workarounds. It should also be able to easily accommodate changes in employment status when retail staff go from casual to permanent, or part-time to full-time.
How reliable is the support documentation?
There should be detailed guidance and documentation for leave and holiday pay calculation scenarios to support whoever is running the payroll.
While payroll technology can streamline compliance admin, a skilled payroll professional should always be managing it to make sure that data is configured correctly, and payroll processes are in line with legislation.
2. Refocusing valuable time
How much time do you or your managers spend collecting paper timesheets, chasing employees, calculating hours worked, and processing staff requests? Workforce management and record keeping are particularly frustrating processes in retail, and despite requiring minimal brain power, can take up a lot of unnecessary time.
Eliminate paper timesheets
We do almost everything using our smartphone or digital device, from taking notes, to communicating with friends, to checking the weather. So why are pieces of paper still being used for timesheets in the retail world?
Automating timesheet management can get rid of clunky processes, and prevent mistakes that we naturally make as humans. Sophisticated timesheet or time clocking technology should be able to automatically generate timesheets for employees who clock in/out via a kiosk or their phones, and interpret hours worked based on unique employee work agreements.
By removing all of the manual admin, your team can refocus time on driving sales and optimising business costs.
With the right technology, retailers can put the power in employees’ hands for other admin – such as leave requests, changing bank details, or accepting shifts. Employee self-service apps can replace paper forms or emailing back and forth, and managers can approve everything easily online – one less thing to worry about!
Extra tip: Timesheet and employee self service apps should integrate seamlessly with your payroll system without the need to export or input data. This removes any risk of human error from data transfers, and enables real time data updates for payroll accuracy.
3. Optimising financials
You’ve got a plan for payroll compliance, and you’ve put the tools in place to save time on employee management. All of that extra time on your hands can now be spent on optimising business costs! Seek technology that enables you to do this quickly and easily, with minimal effort:
- Payroll technology that integrates seamlessly with your accounting platform can help you better manage staff costs. For example, KeyPay’s integration with Xero allows you to map your chart of accounts and assign locations to employees to monitor labour costs across different stores.
- Look out for payroll report generators that can do the hard work for you. Being smart with business reporting can ensure you’re on top of potential business outgoings like employee leave liabilities.
- Use a costed rostering system that calculates employee wages upfront. This allows you to schedule the right staff according to store budgets, while remaining in line with contracts.
- A payroll system that encompasses time and attendance and rostering all-in-one can reduce costs on multiple platforms.
Technology can be used to refocus valuable time, ensure business best practice, better manage business costs and boost profitability. By embracing tools to promote best practices internally, you can set up your retail business to thrive in 2021.
KeyPay is New Zealand’s all-on-one payroll solution for retailers. With KeyPay’s rostering, online timesheets and employee self-service/time clocking apps, retail business owners can better manage their staff, remove paper processes, and ensure compliant holiday pay entitlements for their variable hour employees.
As a partner of Retail NZ, KeyPay is extending its members’ offer to readers of The Register. Those using KeyPay for the first time will receive an exclusive 60 day free trial using promo code RETAILNZMEMBERS.