resources

Client Voice: Raising the Bar for HR Innovation to Support Business Growth

March 10, 2023

Weigel's needed a HCM platform to support its employees across its growing footprint of convenience stores.
Melanie Wilson Disney Headshot

By: Melanie Wilson Disney

Director of Human Resources, Weigel’s

Delivering great products and great service is the name of the game in retail. At Weigel’s, our fresh foods and friendly staff have helped us grow from a single dairy in 1931 into an award-winning network of 73 convenience stores. And we’re still expanding, with seven new locations planned for the next year.

Success doesn’t come easily, though. Employee turnover has always been high in the retail sector, and the promise of greater flexibility and instant payment in the gig economy is tempting talent away from retail roles.

To ensure we continue to prosper, we’re thinking outside the box to support our employees and make sure they want to stay at Weigels for the long term—and that’s where Paylocity comes in. We use the Paylocity platform every day to raise the bar for HR innovation. It’s helping us attract and retain the best people and support ongoing growth.

Lifting Engagement with Company-wide Communications

We have around 1,300 employees. Most work shifts in stores, while the rest work in our plants, dairy, supply chain, and business support. With so many different locations and roles, we used to find it challenging to create a unified culture. But by using Community in Paylocity, we’re building a really fun, positive working environment. This helps to keep everyone engaged, productive, and working towards a shared goal.

For example, we use Community to announce staff birthdays and to congratulate employees when we get great feedback from customers. Other locations can offer high-fives and store managers and district leads can post photos of high achievers. This builds a real sense of collaboration. Plus, we can post valuable training opportunities, marketing bulletins, and other news.

Boosting Retention with an Inventive Pay Model

The current labor market is super-competitive, and we’re acutely aware of the risk of losing people to the likes of Uber and DoorDash in the gig economy. To counter that threat and ensure we hold onto our talent, we’ve designed unique employee perks and benefits. Most notably, hourly workers can elect to receive up to 50 percent of their daily pay whenever they need it, using Paylocity’s On Demand Payment feature.

Our employees have been enthusiastic about the tool, and as the cost of living has risen, we’ve seen a big surge in interest. Some people are using On Demand Payment on a regular basis, while others just appreciate having the option when they really need it.

We highlight On Demand Payment in our recruiting efforts, too, and it’s proving an effective recruitment and retention tool. While other retailers are shutting units due to staffing issues, our applicant rates are consistently high.

Challenging the Gig Economy by Offering Flexible Hours

Another element of our strategy is giving employees greater choice about when they work. The retail sector has traditionally been conservative about shift schedules, and we used to rely on fixed weekly shift patterns. But we were inspired by the hospitality industry and we now offer employees the chance to work a four-day week. That’s almost unheard of in retail, and our employees love it. It helps us compete with the gig economy and reduce the risk of turnover.

Paylocity’s Scheduling tool was crucial here, allowing us to create four-day-week templates for planning our shifts. Without Paylocity, implementing the new model would have been daunting. We’re also working to add a shift swap option—so if an employee’s plans clash with work, they can ask a colleague to step in and make up their hours later, without having to involve their manager or HR in the change.

Putting Intuitive HR Tools in the Palms of Employees

Over half of all retail workers in the United States are aged between 16 and 34. They’ve grown up using smartphone apps to organize their personal lives and commitments. So naturally, they expect the same kind of user-friendly digital experience from their employer’s HR tools.

That’s why we use Paylocity’s Employee Self-Service and the Paylocity Mobile App to give employees anytime, anywhere access to our HR portal. They can log in to download their W-2 forms and timesheets, request PTO or manage their work schedule.

As well as making life easy for employees, the self-service portal helps our HR and payroll team. They’ve seen a big reduction in requests to provide documents and answer employees’ questions—which frees them up to focus on more strategic work.

Using Data-driven Insights to Streamline Operations

We’re always looking to improve our processes to help HR make a positive impact on our wider business. For example, one of our first successes with Paylocity was digitizing manual payroll workflows, which saved our administrators a stack of time. Every day, we log in to the Insights and Recommendations tool in Paylocity to explore the analytics dashboards to identify areas for optimization.

It takes no more than 15 minutes to pull custom reports on staffing levels, overtime, and employee turnover—and we can easily drill down to see turnover by specific location or role, for instance. We can present that information to our executives and finance and operations teams to build a detailed picture of business performance. And that helps us make better decisions about how we plan our shifts and avoid under- and over-staffing.

Life moves fast in retail, and the challenges never stop. Paylocity is such a big help for us—letting us innovate and manage our people while supporting us with top notch service. The future looks bright.

Learn more about how Paylocity can help retail businesses by checking out our latest 5 HR Challenges in the Retail Industry blog.

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