Takeaways From The Store Operations Council Annual Meeting

Cathy Hotka’s Store Operations Council was a productive and intimate setting (50+ attendees across 20+ retailers) to get to the heart of what retailers struggle with today. While we were far from the impacts of Hurricane Ian, the storm was felt in the room from Cathy’s humor around Tampa, FL being the other option for this event to checking weather reports. But more transparently, it was the consistent calls these retail operators took to take care of their stores and associates affected by Ian. It created a great dialogue across these leaders and a chance to discuss the impact of associates on their business, from COVID to hurricanes, and what it takes as they move to the future.

The quote of the day from a council member, “It’s a paradigm shift as we asked associates to distance themselves from customers to stay healthy, to now where we are asking them to get Belly to Belly.” Belly to belly was referenced multiple times across the day not only from associate to customer (B2C), but even more impactful store support group (corporate) to associate standpoint.


  • Engagement of the frontline worker – While most expressed staffing concerns, some retailers are seeing the lowest turnover in years past and no issues with staying staffed. Those retailers are doing one key thing. They listen to their associates. They take great effort into considering diversity and generational differences as a competitive edge by listening to ALL groups and putting processes and tools in place to help them feel valued, fostering an engaged workforce. One retailer specifically mentioned how they are under the going wage rate at the moment. Still, it’s this effort to see value in their 45,000 people, and their differences are keeping their turnover low.


  • Scrappy Operations – In order to accelerate operations, retailers need to be “scrappy.” Many retailers didn’t have OMNI capabilities when COVID hit. To compete, they didn’t wait to stand up a software but found nimble and “scrappy” ways to stay competitive. Using the tools they owned and, more importantly, their engaged workforce to make it happen.


  • Simplify the decision-making process – Many of the software players (new and legacy) are building their applications to take the guessing game out of the decision-making process. We waste a lot of hours in stores looking at reports where only 0.4% of the data is useful. Retail lives in a world of constant fire drills. Software is giving them the tools to find the fires and extinguish them.

The true power of LaborPro comes when it’s integrated with a user’s current Workforce Management and Labor Management Systems, such as Kronos, Reflexis, Manhattan, JDA or Quinyx. Information kept in LaborPro can be sent either by an API or manually loaded into a user’s current scheduling software. If a labor standard is changed and uploaded to Kronos it allows the software to do the math and calculate an updated schedule.

Connors Group has a full team ready to assist you with your labor model needs. Customer service is a top priority for Connors Group. Feedback from customers is always welcomed and is collected right through the LaborPro user interface. When a ticket is submitted the team is ready to assist. In addition to a full customer service team, monthly release notes typically include data updates, quality of life improvements, bug fixes and enhancements.

Book a call with an expert to see how LaborPro can improve labor models, reduce costs, and increase profits.