3Sixty Insights #HRTechChat with Michael Spataro, Chief Delivery Officer for Legion

For this, the latest episode of the 3Sixty Insights #HRTechChat video podcast, our guest was Michael Spataro, chief delivery officer for Legion, a provider of advanced technologies for workforce management (WFM). Michael and I enjoyed a wide-ranging, at once practical and philosophical discussion of organizations’ relationship with their hourly workforce in the retail and service industries. Legion’s software excels in helping employers in these industries support a strong, positive employee experience for their hourly staff.

In the summer of 2020, Legion published a report sharing the findings of a survey the vendor conducted. Respondents comprised about 500 wage and hourly employees and approximately the same number of managers, all in retail and the service industries. An top-line breakdown of the many findings is available in this press release.

According to the survey’s results, notably, two out of three top reasons for leaving an organization are essentially the same for employees and their managers. For wage employees, these top three reasons are a lack of scheduling empowerment, poor communication, and an inability to get paid early. For managers, the top three are the lack of tools that would make it easier for them to communicate with their employees, an inability to get paid early, and a desire to reduce the time they spend on administrative tasks such as scheduling.

Note that for the one that is not as similar, it pertains to the same issue nonetheless: scheduling. Notice also that all these concerns leading managers and their staff alike to leave their jobs in these industries all have to do, palpably, with the quality of their experience with the employer. If an employer were to address these, the payoff in their workforce’s relationship with the organization’s customers would probably improve significantly.

How do we know this? Michael and I delved into it a bit. For one, it’s a fundamental respect for the Service-Profit Chain, a well-documented idea detailed in Harvard Business Review. The central tenet of the Service-Profit Chain says floor associates satisfied in their work and its effects on their work-life balance are more apt to treat customers well, which, in turn, leads to better retention of both.

With this in mind, we discussed the past two years’ impact on employee satisfaction in these types of roles. It hasn’t always been the case everywhere, but the majority of hourly staff have long struggled to thrive in these industries. It can be thankless work. It isn’t just the pay, which has tended to be low. The entire employee experience has historically left a lot to be desired in these types of roles.

For hourly jobs in retail and the service industries, as Michael puts it, the pandemic has precipitated a major power shift in the employer-employee relationship. All I will add is that the past two years have brought a festering inverse of a healthy Service-Profit Chain to the surface. Look at it either way, and the ramifications are clear.

“There’s no shortage of workers, but the availability of workers willing to do retail or hospitality jobs, where the employee experience is poor, has dwindled,” Michael says. They’re holding out for better pay and better conditions overall. It’s the reality of the Great Resignation in these sectors among these employee demographics. Call it the Great Resignation or something else, even. The terminology doesn’t matter so much. What does matter, far more, is that the pandemic created a scenario wherein employees in these kinds of roles have been able to exert more influence over the conditions of their employment and its effects on their overall lives.

“It’s more than better pay,” Michael says. “Employees want to interact with their employer” in much the same way they do as customers “with every other company in their life.”

Put differently, it’s about bringing the consumer-grade experience to the employee experience—and this includes technology. Making the employee experience more palatable for a constantly customer-facing hourly workforce isn’t just about having a better, modern performance evaluation process, for example. It can be more mechanical—in simply churning out superior schedules. In fact, the most logical place to begin cultivating a positive employee experience is in WFM.

Scheduling empowerment—it’s a great term that Michael used several times. Ground zero for improving the retail and service industry hourly employee’s on-the-job and work-life experience, better scheduling isn’t just about flexibility. We’re again talking about that shift in power. Machine learning, a forte of Legion’s technology for WFM, is exceptionally useful in helping employers automate the creation of schedules that work best for their employees. Baking push notifications and other consumer-grade functionality into the mix, to empower employees to exert more control over their schedules and communicate with one another and management, is key.

If you think about it, this is the kind of capability in software that also helps a manager be a leader. Nothing screams plain old “manager” than relegating a human being to the tedious weekly task of creating schedules, and consigning that manager to the likelihood that the schedule will leave staff unhappy, wanting to quit.

“There’s a need to build back that employee loyalty,” says Spataro, “and it’s more than just paying employees higher wages. Pay is important, but it’s not the silver bullet.”

I couldn’t agree more. Michael and I spoke for nearly 40 minutes, there wasn’t a single dull moment, and this blog you’re reading captures only a sliver of the breadth of topics we covered. I encourage you to check out the full episode.

Our #HRTechChat Series is also available as a podcast on the following platforms:

See a service missing that you use? Let our team know by emailing research@3SixtyInsights.com.


Brent Skinner 00:00
Well, hello, everyone, and welcome to this episode of the HRTechChat video podcast. And with me today, I have Michael Spataro, who is Chief delivery officer for Legion and Legion is a provider of workforce management solutions, advanced, advanced technologies for it. Thank you for joining us, Michael.

Michael Spataro 00:22
Thanks for having me. You know, I think one of our primary mission, the primary mission at at Legion is to improve the lives of hourly workers and make hourly jobs, great jobs.

Brent Skinner 00:38
I love that I love that tagline. And, you know, and I, you’re seeing it, you’re seeing every hourly workers song right there with that, aren’t you?

Michael Spataro 00:48
Yeah, to new, you know, to new world, if you really think about the dynamic of power, right? It’s, it’s shifted from the employer to the employee, and all of us have to solely focus on really building that loyalty between the employee and the and the employer. And we have to do that in a really meaningful way.

Brent Skinner 01:11
Oh, I love that, you know, and that that shift in power, it’s, and I know, we want to talk about the great resignation, I’m, I’m chomping at the bit right now. But, but in in a bigger sense, you know, that power has shifted in many ways, not just from the worker, to the worker from the employer, but also to the candidate from the hiring organization, it seems to be this, this dispersing of, of the power away from the central area.

Michael Spataro 01:39
Yeah. Now there is, you know, it, it, you know, started with, with certainly, a global pandemic, which, you know, affected the lives of everyone, you know, hourly workers, you know, continued to work and in some cases, you know, work throughout a pandemic. In other cases, were fair, furloughed, or, or laid off, and they didn’t really feel like they were maybe as valued pre pandemic as, as they felt they should have been right. And now they’re demanding that and the, the overall challenge that we have, you know, there’s this perception of this, this shortage of workers. And the reality is, there’s not a shortage of workers, there’s a shortage of people that want to do these types of jobs. So, you know, 9 million people didn’t just disappear, those 9 million people are still in, in the workforce, they’re just not applying for or staying with retail or hospitality customers. And we need them and we need them more today than ever before. Because the experience that you know, every employer is going through is unpredictable, right? There’s this kind of perception of a year of volatility, really, no one has a crystal ball to say, here’s where we are today. And here’s where we’re going to end up. There’s a perception that the pandemic goes over, and now we have Omicron. So now there’s, you know, the pandemic maybe isn’t over, and how is that going to continue to affect our lives, we have, you know, logistics issues with getting products to stores. So there really is a need to build back that employee loyalty. And that’s broader than just paying people higher wages. Yeah.

Brent Skinner 03:29
Yeah, that’s, that’s a huge point. You know, paying them more, obviously, is a piece of the puzzle. But it’s definitely not a silver bullet. It’s not the answer. It’s not the go to thing to do every time. And I guess, I guess my question to you is given this great, this great resignation, this perceived labor shoulder shortage, which is really just a shortage of people who want to do some of these jobs, that have maybe just been thankless or have had poor scheduling options or poor pay, let’s be frank, what are some of the things that organizations can do to attract more employees for these types of jobs and, and retain them?

Michael Spataro 04:12
Yeah, you know, it’s, it’s kind of a, you know, double edged sword, right, it is about how do I retain the people I have, but then it is about how do I attract the people that I need? Retaining the people that you have is broader than just paying them more money, right. So if you think about a living wage, you know, pre pandemic, there was a lot of discussion around, you know, paying employees, a living wage. And, you know, the government was exploring a $15 an hour minimum wage, and many of the people that fought against a $15 hour minimum wage, were employers and those same employers, and now we have paying employees 19 and 20 and $25 an hour, but it’s broader than just paying them enough money they have to have, they want to be able to interact with their employer in the same way they interact with every other individual and company in their life, right. So it’s important to have technology that enables them to interact with their employer in the same way they are close from Amazon or communicate with their friends, right. So it dance technologies are critical. They also want flexibility, right, they want the flexibility in their schedule to ensure that they can create the right work life balance for them. So you look at some employers, which would have previously had a higher full time mix of, you know, lower, sorry, a higher part time mix a lower full time mix, those employers are now looking at having a higher full time mix. So they can give those employees the hours that they want. So they don’t have to work three jobs to, you know, to put food on the table. And also giving them the flexibility in many cases, you know, enabling employees to create their own schedule, shops, swap shifts, when they when they want pick up open shifts that they want, it gives the employee the flexibility they need, but it also gives the employer the ability to meet their resource needs as it relates to, you know, meeting the customer demand, because employee flexibility doesn’t mean every employee won’t, you know, wants to work Monday through Thursday and have you know, nights and weekends off. That might be a bad schedule for me. But it might be a great schedule for you. So giving them that flexibility gives you broader coverage. And then you also look at benefits, right? What benefits are we providing these employees in the past? You know, we tried to keep them below the minimum number of hours, which in which they can get benefits. Now we’re right, we’re engaging them and giving them more hours so that they can get the benefits so that they can feel like they’re valued in a more meaningful way in their in their workplace.

Brent Skinner 07:06
Yeah. What I’m getting from this is his employees getting this sense that, that the employer actually cares about them in any way shape or beyond? What’s your time? What can you give me for your time? And that’s, I think that is a that is very important. You know, there’s, there’s been this sort of, I would say paradigm, I hate the word paradigm shift. But term, but it’s true is happening, where we’re where organizations are just they’re beginning to recognize that, that, you know, this this employee employer relationship or this relationship between us and the people who do the work for us, because sometimes they’re their contractors, too, right? It’s not, it’s not a pure exchange of mental or physical labor. For remuneration, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a lot more than that. Workers are there at their jobs for significant portions of their life and life, and they would prefer for it not to suck that yeah, and take that percentage of their life. I get it. One of the things that’s interesting, also that you brought up, and a lot of people, you know, were you and I were in the HCM industry. So we’re very close to the, to the conversation, and we see, I think, sort of that we hear the bleeding edge of the conversation more than others do. But there’s a lot, you know, in our, our bubble, if you will, there’s, there’s a lot of talk about how, you know, hey, employee engagement, keeping employee sentiment up morale high, it is some it’s more to do with than with just, you know, having a great performance review, it can be as, as, as this might be not be the right word, but as mechanical as, you know, making your scheduling software more accessible, easier to use more, you know, mobile friendly, these sorts of things, but it absolutely is that is workforce management. And in fact, you know, if you think about it, this this whole push to, to to improve employee sentiment or improve how the employee feels about their job, actually, is there is no more logical place than for it to originate in workforce management.

Michael Spataro 09:18
Yeah, I think that, you know, employees, again, employees today need to feel that their employer values them in a multi dimensional way. You know, we conducted a study of both managers and employees, we so we surveyed 500 hourly employees and 500 managers, and we looked at what are the top reasons that these employees were, we’re not interested in staying at their employer would leave their jobs other than other than pay? And there were three interesting facts that it was about the lack of scheduling empowerment. So how am I engaged in that scheduling process? And What flexibility do I have to ensure that I have a schedule that really meets my need? The second aspect was poor communication. So if you think about retailers, historically, no retailer wanted every hourly employee to have an email address so that the employer can communicate with the employee, nor does the employee have the ability to communicate effectively with not only the people in their store, but the management in their store their field management and corporate so that the other reason these employees were would said they would leave their job is poor communication. And the third reason was interesting, but not surprising when you think about hourly workers, their inability to get paid early. So how do I get paid in real time? How do I do a job today and get paid tonight, and a lot of that was about employees wanting to be able to react to you know, emergencies that happen in their life, you know, they have the car broke down, and I need to fix the car, and I have two options, I wait to my next paycheck. And the car stays in the shop into my next paycheck. But I need the car to get back and forth to work. So how do I get access to pay more rapidly. And it is a trend that is you know, that really is taking hold in, in retail? And these are things that retailers really need to be to be mindful of as it relates to? Why are those employees leaving? And then how do we give them what they need in order to feel valued, and feel empowered, and feel like they’re important to that employer? On the flip side of that, right, we spoke to 500 managers, and we asked them the same question. And they came back with an interesting set of responses. They wanted their employee to provide them with tools that made it easier for them to communicate with their employees. They wanted to reduce the amount of time spent on administrative tasks. And they also wanted to get paid earlier. So it was just really interesting that if you really look at the two sides of the coin in that scenario, it’s about giving the employees the flexibility, but it’s also about giving managers tools that enable them to spend less time on administrative tasks, and more times coaching and developing their employees and servicing their customers.

Brent Skinner 12:30
Yeah. You know, what I find interesting about it, too, is that they’re two of the three are common denominators. Yeah, between the two groups? Yeah. I love that term scheduling empowerment, as opposed to flexibility, right, because it is flexibility. But it’s more than that. It’s about it’s going back to that shift in power as well, you know, the tech technology has evolved to the point where it really is inexcusable, I think, at this point for an organization not to have a technology in place that gives their hourly employees that level of control or, or power over their own schedule. I mean, obviously, the organization has its needs, you know, and at the end of the day, there’s there has to be some give and take. Right, but to have to give those employees that that, that much power over their schedules is it’s becoming table stakes. Another thing that’s becoming table stakes, you know, you mentioned getting paid when they need to streaming pay, that that is that is another table stakes item. And then, you know, when you talk about the other time, just kind of analyzing these, you know, for the for the for the managers, less administrative tasks. I mean, that’s about having a modern, modern time and attendance and scheduling system in place, workforce management system in place. So that there, you know, some of that just tedium is automated. Right. And you want to talk about AI assisted scheduling, and you’re talking about higher level automation, right. Even less administrative work, you know, what I would be interested in what do managers consider to be administrative work? I mean, it’s probably higher level than just sort of this rote, repetitive stuff.

Michael Spataro 14:16
Yes, you can talk about a couple of things. So, you know, as it relates to schedule empowerment, or employee engagement, which are, which are, you know, buzzwords today, you have to take that down a level. So there’s a customer of ours, Phil’s coffee, who runs brands, coffee shops in the north, Pacific Northwest. And they market to their employees about what scheduling empowerment means or what employee engagement means. So the ability to create your own schedule, the ability to have the flexibility, the ability to swap shifts, pick up open shifts as you need it are things that they’re marketing to their employees that We’ll make them Employer of Choice. So you have to take the employee empowerment and the employee engagement and bring it down to really what does that mean. And if you if you really bring it down to what does that mean to the employee, it is exciting for them, right, the ability for them to create the schedule that they want, the ability for them to switch swap shifts, when they want with who they want, the ability for them to pick up shifts, when they have the time to pick up shifts, you’ve got to, you’ve got to break it down to that lower level of detail. You can’t just say it’s about employee engagement or employee and you have to take down. The other aspect of that is I agree with you, you know, if you if you think about management, in stores, and in hospitality, and in the past, they did spend hours Creating and Managing Schedules and time. And with advanced technologies, the ability for us to eliminate routine tasks, automate reoccurring tasks such that machine do you leverage machine learning to derive right machine learning in its in its infinite use within forecasting gives us the ability to more accurately predict the store’s future than a store manager or a finance group at corporate. So if we can more accurately predict that labor, we have the right set of labor standards to derive the right amount of labor and distribute that labor to where it needs to be. And then we’re going to create the most optimal schedule, what we really need to help employers recognize is that schedule, you should be able to post that with minimal edits. And if you’re going to make edits, machine learning and artificial intelligence should be able to recognize good edits from bad edits. And when it creates a schedule in the future, right, don’t create the same shift that had been edited in the past, because by now creating a different shift, you’re improving the overall schedule effectiveness, if we can, you know, if you look at that one of the one of the top reasons, employee, employee managers are leaving their jobs, right, they want to reduce the administrative burden. With advanced technologies, you can create the perfect forecast, you can create the right amount of labor and distributed as needed, you can create the most optimal schedule, so a manager can simply post that schedule, then leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning. Somebody calls out the application, right should automatically be seeing that, right, I’m changing that schedules, employees shift to a two out of added location, you know, there, were changing the Pay Code to sick or PTO, and the application does all the rest of the work, right? It identifies who can fill that shift, it sends out communication about filling that shift, the employee says I’ll take that shift, it simply notifies a manager that right, somebody else is coming in instead of the employee that called out sick, that is real. And managers are looking for that capability. So we really have to help employers understand that it no longer takes hours to create manage schedules and time, you can do it almost completely unassisted.

Brent Skinner 18:22
You know, one of the things that strikes me about this is you’re helping the manager be a leader, not a manager, because there’s nothing that’s that screams manager to me more than spending, you know, who knows how many hours in front of the computer, just figuring out the schedule, you know, I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s very, very managerial, if you want to think of managerial as sort of narrow scope, not necessarily leadership, you know, you’re you are sparing them all of that time, so that they can actually be an inspiration or whatever it is they are to, to their workforce. That’s one thing that that really strikes me. No,

Michael Spataro 19:04
it is and right, you can look at it one of two ways. You can look at it one of one way which says okay, that manager is going to be able to spend more time with my employees and my customers, thereby growing the opportunity to me, for me to capitalize on that shopper, which is critically important today, because, you know, e Commerce has grown about 10 years in the last 24 months, as people have become more comfortable with ecommerce. So it’s more important for the for the retailer to have the right focus on the customer to create the right experience for that customer so that they do come back and they do shop longer and in their stores. But you also want to look at it on the flip side. You’re not only developing that employee by giving that manager the ability to spend more time with that employee and your customer. You’re also developing that manager right now you’re gonna have to make sure that that manager has this skills to be training and developing your employees coaching your employees on how they can be better at their job. So we’re actually creating environment that grows, the skills and competence of our leadership within the store, as well as grows, the skills and competence of our hourly employees that are working in the store, which give them your which, given both of those opportunities, gives you the ability to look long term as your business does grow and evolve, these individuals that are working here, so whether the hourly or managers have the capability to grow with your organization. And by giving these types of experiences, these are experiences that administrative time administrative tasks took away from your leadership.

Brent Skinner 20:49
Yeah, one thing I recall, learning about earlier in my career, is this idea of the surface profit chain. And it was a term that came out with Harvard Business Review many years ago. And it’s this idea that it’s funny that they actually had to kind of, you know, lay it out, because it’s so intuitive. But, you know, the idea is that the happier your floor associates are and the retail space in similar environments, the happier or more engaged your customers are going to be, and the more likely they are to return this, you speak about, you know, employee engagement, what does it mean? That’s a question that’s crossed my mind, too, is it became this buzzword and not that it’s meaningless. But what does it actually mean? Well, if you have employees engaging with their schedule, you know, actually engaging with each other there. That’s, that’s literally employee engagement, right. And the more power that you give them over this, the happier they’re going to be with their schedule, that the less likely they are to, to, to, to, to not want to show up for their shift, because it’s during a time that they, they were expecting it, and that they, they’re okay with it. And all these little things add up in aggregate to a better customer experience. And you mentioned, you know, the explosive growth in E commerce, especially over the last two years, it’s grown 10 years worth, I think you said something like that. You’re absolutely right. That means if you’re a retailer, who’s whose business model is particularly reliant upon, you know, the in person experience, you better be sure that your hourly employees, your floor associates are, are very, very happy with the basics of their job. Yeah. And

Michael Spataro 22:37
again, it goes back to, you know, stop thinking that it’s that it’s just paying somebody more money, right, it is about one create a career opportunity for them. Right. Can that career, can that hourly worker actually have a career with you as an employer? One would hope the answer to that is yes. And one would hope that you’re giving though giving them that opportunity. I think what another interesting aspect of all of this is historically, the technology associated with workforce management was an operations driven initiative. Right. So if you were looking at the buyer for workforce management solutions, historically, it was always operations and, and maybe the HR function got involved in the product, but it wasn’t necessarily something that was critically important or mission critical to them. You know, I started this, this talk with talking a little bit about what our vision and mission is here at Legion. And it is about making, right making hourly jobs, great jobs making, improving the lives of hourly workers. And I know that sounds somewhat cliche, but I don’t have this conversation with every retailer. If that’s not your mission, then you’re going to continue to struggle and struggle in it in a meaningful way. And I think you’re now starting to see HR executive become more involved in the WFM process. Because it’s becoming critically important for them to be able to make sure we’re hiring the right people. And we’re retaining the people that are on staff and workforce management has is critical to ensuring that. So you’re now seeing CHRO is taking much more an active role in workforce management, vendor selections and solutions, because people have become so much more so much more critical.

Brent Skinner 24:28
You know, it’s interesting is one of our themes for 2020 to hear 360 insights, HCM themes is the time to bring HCM out of the back office and onto the front lines. Right. And I and I think that’s interesting, but what you’re describing there is the inverse of that, right? Is bringing something bringing his time to bring WFM to the HR office and not necessarily well it would stay in the front and torch this, this analogy a little bit towards but it just made me think it reminded me of one of the themes and how this is a little bit of the inverse of that. You’re talking about scheduling, obviously, it makes sense to be an operations related thing, because it’s right where managers deal interact with their employees on a regular basis. Right. But at the same time, the employee experience is such a concern. And it’s a real aspirational, stretch goal for the HR department to be very much involved in that in ensuring the absolute the caliber of that employee experience. So that makes a lot of sense to me. Yeah, that’s super interesting. You mentioned Yeah, the

Michael Spataro 25:39
other thing I would say is the, the fascination with advanced technologies has never been more critical than it is today, right? From an organizational perspective that that old adage that says, evolve or die, right? We’re in that right now, right? Every retailer needs to think about how are they evolving with the customer? How are they evolving with their employees needs to be recognized and valued in a more meaningful way? How are they evolving in providing the right experience for their customers such that they can begin to build back, build back that that loyalty? When, you know, pre pandemic, when you talked about artificial intelligence and machine learning and robotics, I think most retailers believe that, you know, that that is in their future, but it’s, it’s, you know, five or 10 years away during the pandemic, you know, we saw a very interesting fact, you know, many retailers didn’t have contactless payment before the pandemic started. And when stores closed down. In many states, the only way they can open is if they provided contactless payments. So within a three month period, many retailers had to figure out how they, you know, accepted contactless payment. And they did it. So this this new concept of COVID speed, they did it because they had to, and the bureaucracy associated with projects of scale, wasn’t there because right, they had to accelerate the acceptance and the implementation of this advanced technology. So coming out of the pandemic, it is critically important that you’re looking at technologies that are taking advantage of machine learning and artificial intelligence and robotics. They’re a part of our life, there is no forecasting tool that doesn’t have machine learning that can accurately predict a forecast that’s based on history from the last few years, because we are in a year of volatility. But we also came from two years of volatility and fits and starts and roller coaster revenue opportunities. If you look back and try and create a an actual sales forecast based on that history, it’s never going to be accurate, unless you use machine learning that can really look at all of that volatility, and make sense of it and accurately predict your future. So many retailers are now saying, right, I can’t pursue, you know, solutions that don’t have these types of advanced technologies. Because if it is important for me to reduce the administrative burden on managers, I need these types of technologies to make that happen. And they’re adopting those technologies and more interested in those technologies than they’ve ever been before. Or they need to be because, right, that perception of evolve or die. If you don’t make these types of commitments, your future is uncertain.

Brent Skinner 28:52
It absolutely. I mean, looking back in the past two years, yep. just reiterate what you said. But there’s no way to create a, an accurate, a useful schedule for the for next week based on a media two year, sort of retrospective, right? And then if you go back farther, further, excuse me, well, that’s great. But that’s assuming that the future is going to look a lot like it did two years before. The to your media to your past. You know, it’s also interesting is about you know, just you’ve probably heard this before, but you know, a lot of people hear oh, machine learning artificial intelligence is running the schedule. That sounds scary. That sounds inhuman. That sounds like it’s just not going to be but in practice, I think we’ve all been very, I think a lot of lay people have probably been pleasantly surprised, surprised that it actually makes schedules much more human by taking the humans out of creating it, which is kind of which is kind of interesting,

Michael Spataro 29:52
too. I’ve said this before, you know, machine learning is is not a new concept. Machine learning has been around for eons. The difference is machine learning in the past was, you know, a finance department at a retailer that was using spreadsheets and data to draw some conclusions about, about a forecast. The difference today is the processing power, right? Machines can process billions and billions and billions of lines of data in in milliseconds to draw a conclusion that in the past would have taken us weeks and months and in some cases, years to come to that that same type of conclusion. And the reality is, whether you recognize it or not, you know, machine learning and artificial intelligence has have been part of our lives for a really long time. You know, Amazon doesn’t predict what you want to buy, just by guessing. Right? It’s using advanced technologies to make some of those decisions. When you think about employees and their expectations of their employers, as it relates to technology, those employees expect to have commercially commercial technology solutions like they interact with every day. And a lot of those right solutions that they interact with everyday leverage this, this type of technology today. It’s part of our lives, and it’s going to continue to evolve. Yeah,

Brent Skinner 31:27
yeah, it is. Two things I want to touch on here. We’re closing in on time here, but two things. One, Generation Z, I’ve called them, I’ve heard them called Zoomers, I like the turn, they play into this. And there’s some sort of, you know, I think some particularly important factors to remember when, when, when retailers and other type these types of employers are dealing with them. And then the other is communication, you know, what types of modes of communication that the hourly employees prefer? Or are most amenable to or can even handle? What if we can touch on those two? That would be great. Yeah.

Michael Spataro 32:12
So you know, I think when you look at, you know, Generation Z, like, if we think about the advent of technology and how technology has grown in, in all of our lives, it’s, it’s grown rapidly, nowhere near as rapid is as it is growing today and going to continue to grow, they have an expectation that their work experience is going to be very consistent with their, their day to day experiences. And if they can’t find that in an employer, they will go, they will seek other employment until they, they find that opportunity. They’re, you know, not unlike, you know, millennials to some extent where they want to be challenged in their in their job, and they don’t necessarily want to do the same job forever, right, they want to continue to grow and develop. And again, if we look back at, at what is needed in today’s world, what managers are looking for what employees looking for, if we can take the administrative burden out of the managers answer that they spend more and more times with their employees to grow and develop them and evolve them within their career. And however long that career is with that retailer. That’s what they’re, that’s what they’re looking for. So that is critically important as we as we continue to look at what constitutes the demographic makeup of our employee base. And in some environments, you’re gonna have, you know, baby boomers, millennials, and generation and Gen Z are all in the same environment. And we’re going to have to be able to adapt to how we grow and develop and train them. And it’s not going to be all with the same with the same approach.

Brent Skinner 33:48
Yeah, yeah. As a generation extra myself, it’s, we’re kind of it’s interesting, it’s tough, it’s very difficult to really fathom the Generation Z mindset, because they truly are the first generation that grew up from infancy with, with the entire sort of, you know, what we would call the modern communication, you know, internet setup right there. There was no, even with millennials, they were, you know, they could be as old as 10 years old. And remember, you know, time before there was really email or anything like that, right. So, it’s very interesting as Generation X were, were the first that had, you know, were fully, I guess, fully sentient, you know, like, teenagers without any of this and also young, relatively young in the workforce, when all this stuff really exploded, so it’s, it’s very difficult to fathom what it’s like for Generation Z, but, I think you’re right, it’s, it’s, um, and just to put a fine point on it’s really, I think, very tough to underestimate the, to me to overestimate the impact that that technological landscape has had on the overall, you know, attitude and just mindset of the younger generations? And well,

Michael Spataro 35:05
you know, it’s interesting because I, when I think about the real, like, access to pay sooner than, you know, sooner than my paycheck, unfortunately, there is some generational impact on retailers ability to, to make that investment. And, and, and sort of that the way you see that happening is, you know, when we’re meeting with, with retailers and talking about Instant Pay, there’s a real struggle as to why do I really have to do this? Does this really make sense? Do? Do employees really need access to their money? Yes, those employees like, we have to get out of our own mindset and put ourselves in the mindset of an hourly worker that is living paycheck to paycheck, and they might need that money to buy groceries, they might need that money to fix their car. And we need to have more empathy, and we need to be able to recognize that that’s the diversity of, of our employee base. And I firmly believe that that retailers have going to have to make that investment in Instant Pay. And that is going to become very commonplace in the next 12 to 24 months.

Brent Skinner 36:21
You absolutely right. And we are running out of time, but I just wanted to mention quickly, you heard it here. First, we’ll be blogging about this, this general topic, we’re calling the great reconsideration. And it’s this idea that all sorts of there is all sorts of sort of infrastructure in place right now, that a lot of sunk costs in, in workflow that’s going away, you know, whether it’s, you know, payroll, you know, predicated on the idea that, it’s definitely going to be every two weeks and monthly if you’re talking worldwide, or it’s some other thing, you know, for instance, you know, what was it Amazon, it’s gonna be Buy now pay later, all these types of it, where it’s this immediacy, this real flexibility, and all this, these are just complete, sort of, you know, just workflows that are going away. Because of the, because technology is, is, is enabling sort of this next generation of stuff. And so, if you’re an organization that’s invested in the old thinking, right, you’re definitely going to be left behind. So there’s, at some point, you’re just going to hide it, you’re going to have to kiss those sunk costs goodbye. And just start thinking about the future that that’s sort of hyperbolic

Michael Spataro 37:40
to know you break it very valid point, like the concept of store of the future has never been more important. And, and it needs to be something that you’re investing in now, many retailers thought about store the future again, they thought it was something that was five or 10 years away. You should be thinking about the Store of the Future right now. And you should be executing on that strategy. In short order.

Brent Skinner 38:02
We are so much closer to the future of work than we ever thought we would be two years ago. Yeah. Yeah. This This has been a fantastic conversation, Michael. So thank you so much for joining us. I can’t wait for this one to be live. So folks can hear this story.

Michael Spataro 38:20
Thank you for inviting me and I was a pleasure just dialoguing about the future of work.

Brent Skinner 38:26
Yeah, absolutely. Have a wonderful, happy holidays.

Share your comments: