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09/24/2021

Slashing Retail Turnover and Boosting Associate Engagement Through AI

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Although retailers are transforming business at an alarming rate, workforce management hasn’t kept pace. When it comes to scheduling and even recruiting valuable employees, the disconnect between today’s digital lifestyle and the manual legacy processes many organizations still use is alarming. Learn from Forrester and other industry experts about the technologies and techniques driving both productivity and business performance — all while lowering employee turnover in today’s labor-challenged landscape.

Tim Denman: Welcome everyone to “The Total Economic Impact of AI-Powered Workforce Management” webinar, hosted by RIS and presented in collaboration with Legion. I am Tim Denman, the editor in chief of RIS and CGT. Thank you for joining us today.

Next-gen AI-powered workforce management delivers transformative results to business operations and the employee experience, while generating tangible business outcomes. When effectively used, workforce management solutions keep employees engaged, which yields higher productivity and business performance and lower employee turnover.

In today's webinar, we'll discuss the benefits that automated scheduling provides, the workforce turnover reduction associated with AI, the effect a cutting-edge workforce management solution can have on management, the potential cost savings, and a lot more.

With me today to discover how an AI-powered workforce management solution can help simplify and enhance business operations are Julia Fadzeyeva from Forrester and Kristin Brennan from Legion. Julia and Kristin, thanks for joining us. Why don't you both take a moment to introduce yourselves and discuss your current roles? Julia, let’s start with you.

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Julia Fadzeyeva: I'm a senior consultant with the Forrester total economic impact practice. It's a pleasure to be here today to talk about the outcomes that we've seen from talking to the Legion customers about the effect they see on products and organizations.

Denman: Thank you. Kristin, the same.

Kristin Brennan: I'm the VP of marketing at Legion. I'm excited to speak about how AI-powered workforce management can optimize labor efficiency and empower employees at a much better experience.

Denman: Excited to have you both. For now, I'm going to turn this over to Kristin who's going to get us started. Kristin, why don't you take us away?

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Brennan: Thanks, Tim. Before we dive in, I want to give folks a bit of background about Legion, the kind of the problems we're trying to solve, and things we see in the industry in general. Today, there are about 75 million hourly workers in the United States. Legion's mission is to turn the hourly jobs into good jobs for both these employees and their employers. Traditionally, some of these jobs wouldn't be considered good jobs because they've been plagued with things like outdated tools, a lack of flexibility, poor communication, etc.

What’s unique about these hourly workers is that millennials and Gen Z comprise about 60% of the hourly workforce in the United States, including industries such as retail, hospitality, manufacturing, distribution, etc. These workers are digital native – they grew up with the internet and all the modern tools at their fingertips, they're used to calling an Uber, ordering DoorDash, whatever it may be. Then, when they enter the hourly workforce, they’re plagued with outdated communication tools, and a lack of schedule flexibility. For these workers it's important that their work lives fit with their personal lives.

What we're seeing across a wide range of industries today is that organizations employing hourly workers are struggling to attract and retain those workers. There have been some industry studies that place the cost of recruiting an hourly worker at about $3,000 per worker — it's really high. Then, attrition has historically been an issue in these environments where there are a lot of hourly workers. With the pandemic and so forth, that’s much higher. This past summer there were signs everywhere for companies that were desperate to find workers to help them.

It’s a real problem. That's the problem that we're trying to solve with AI-powered workforce management. A couple of months back we did a survey to understand what the top issues are that hourly employees face, other than pay. There's a lot of discussion about hourly workers getting a living wage, and we absolutely believe that's true at Legion. However, we believe there's more that companies need to consider. So, we surveyed 1,000 hourly workers and managers in North America to determine the top reasons why hourly workers quit their jobs other than pay. The number one reason was lack of schedule empowerment — we'll dig into that a little bit more.

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The second reason was poor communication with their employer, according to 39%, and 2% noted the inability to get paid early. With this workforce it's not uncommon to have some sort of financial emergency. Providing additional financial stability allows them to focus on their jobs and not worry about the kind of financial issues that are going on in the background.

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First, let's dig into the top scheduling issues. When we looked into what a lack of schedule empowerment means, we heard four key things:

  1. Lack of schedule flexibility.
  2. Input into when they work, where they work, and the frequency in which they work.
  3. Lack of control over their schedules.
  4. Feelings of favoritism. Managers scheduling certain individuals first, the inability to pick up extra shifts, or how shifts are made available to hourly workers. 
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Organizations have to think beyond delivering a living wage. They have to think about how to deliver value to employees and how to empower hourly employees to attract and retain them. 82% of the people in the survey said they would be likely or very likely to work for a company that offered schedule empowerment, modern communication tools, and access to pay. Another 13% said they would only work for companies that offered those kinds of values.

What we're seeing in the industry is that the companies that think about offering those things as perks, like Phill’s is a great example. On their "We're hiring," recruitment page, they market flexible scheduling and schedule empowerment as the perk to attract potential employees. They put it between benefits and time off to leverage these value drivers as perks to attract and retain hourly workers, which is critical right now.

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Next, from a manager's perspective, we wanted to gain a better understanding of what the hardest part of managing these hourly workers is. They highlighted things such as: getting people to come to work, working hard when they're paid little with poor benefits, making sure employees are happy and engaged, making everyone happy with the schedule — we heard that on the employee side as well, ensuring schedules are fair and fit with their lives, etc. — motivating employees to stay longer going back to those perks, making employees feel good, and communication of flexibility, reliability. It’s interesting to see that a lot of what employees find important, managers are also struggling with. Which is an interesting perspective.

We also wanted to understand what managers value, other than pay, what’s most important to them? What we discovered in the survey was that they want tools that make it easier to communicate with the team. If you think about these hourly workers, many of them don't have company emails, so there's no great way for managers to communicate other than email, text, or call. However, when they do that there's a concern about compliance. There are restrictions in terms of how to communicate with hourly employees when they're technically off the clock, which is an important piece.

Managers also reported a desire to reduce the time they spend on administrative tasks such as creating schedules, managing schedules, and the ability to get paid early. Realistically, managers aren't immune to having financial issues as well, so the ability to get paid when they complete a shift, or not having to wait two weeks for the next pay period was something that was of value to everyone.

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One thing that's challenging for businesses, and the reason managers ask for more automation or better tools, is the amount of time spent each week on scheduling. The number one method used to create schedules is a manual process or Google docs.

On average, they spend 3-10 hours per week managing the schedule, updating it, managing the call outs, etc. It becomes a real-time burden, consuming time that is better spent with customers, interacting with the team, or training employees.

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When it comes to scheduling, managers are using manual tools which makes it hard and cumbersome, but what's more difficult is to then match individual employee preferences with the needs of the business. They don't want to under staff because then they could miss out on revenue opportunities, but if they over staffing then they could exceed the labor budget, which is the second challenge that organizations and managers cited.

Then, compliance and labor laws can be tricky. Depending on where a business operates — different states, different counties, etc. — there are different regulations, predictive scheduling requirements, and so forth.

For instance, minors. If someone is under 17, there are different regulations than individuals who are over 17. It can be hard to keep track of that through manual processes, almost impossible, not only manual, but cumbersome processes and tools. Many managers don't have tools to communicate effectively with team members. What the business wants is labor costs that are within budget and stay compliant with labor standards, in order to find reliable, motivated employees, and deliver happy customers.

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Next comes schedule empowerment — the schedules that match preferences. Employees want flexibility, allowing them input into when they work, where they work, what hours they work, and they want self-service, modern tools. They're accustomed to doing things on a mobile device, they’re not used to calling a manager, or even going to work to look at the schedule on a break room wall only to see that they're not scheduled that day — that's really frustrating for employees.

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The problem that Legion is designed to help solve is optimizing labor efficiency, maximizing employee engagement, and empowering employees with modern, digital tools. We fundamentally believe it doesn't need to be an either/or. It can’t be all about labor cost and optimization, but at the expense of the employee experience.

And it’s not simply employee experience platforms without a thought of the labor cost. Legion believes that labor optimization and the employee experience are two sides of the same coin. Instead of either/or, it’s and. You can optimize labor efficiency and you can maximize employee engagement – simultaneously.

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This is a snapshot of the Legion platform, which is optimized to deliver business value and optimize the employee experience. From a business value standpoint, we handle demand forecasting and creating the optimal labor plan. From that optimal labor plan, with the click of a button, it will generate an automated schedule that matches employee preferences with business needs in a way that's fully compliant. Now, if you need efficient time and attendance, we have that as well.

On the employee side, we have schedule empowerment. Think about the Legion platform as the perfect platform to deliver employee value versus a separate platform. 95% of our customers' employees are using the Legion mobile app every single week to view their schedules, swap shifts, update preferences in terms of when they want to work, update locations preferences for where they want to work because we can let employees work across different locations. It's an app that's being used weekly by active users – that’s 95% of our customers' employees that are getting schedule empowerment. They don't have to go through a manager to get a shift swap approved.

A customer shared with us that prior to using Legion, the process for swapping shifts was cumbersome. There were so many papers, required signatures, etc., that the employees didn't even try to get the shift filled. They just wouldn’t show up for work because it was too difficult. Now, they’re excited about the empowerment they gain to easily see what shifts are available, swap shifts, pick up extra shifts, all with a few taps on their mobile screen. That’s important.

Digital communications: That is the second reason, other than pay, that an employee might leave a position. Providing digital communications through the mobile app they're already using to view schedules is the right thing to do. There's no additional app to install, it's clock aware which is really important. That’s been holding some companies back from extending communications to hourly workers because they want to make sure it's compliant, to know when a person is on the clock, when they can receive what types of messages, and it's a way to recognize other employees and build culture.

A quick-service restaurant customer started using Legion for compliance purposes because there were many predictive scheduling laws to contend with. They quickly recognized the power of digital communication as a way to reinforce culture, to share what the companies are about, what their values are, and there was no way to do that before. When they wanted to communicate with hourly employees in the past, it was a game of telephone. This drove corporate to communicate with district managers, who communicated with managers, who then maybe texted employees and that runs into e compliance risk because you don't know if they're on the clock during that time. With that cascade of messages, there's room at each step for messages to get altered and meanings to be misconstrued. This became a powerful solution to build culture, help hourly employees feel more engaged, and drive value for the business.

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Then lastly, Legion is different because it’s a cloud-native solution built for the cloud from the beginning, mature data science. We believe AI-powered workforce management and true automation across a lot of different tasks from forecasting demand to labor, scheduling, etc., is critical. We've been in production for more than four years, fully automated, fully productized. That's an important differentiator. We already covered the high employee participation rate. We've got 95% of our customers' employees using the mobile app on a regular basis, even though it's a voluntary app.

That offers so much visibility and control at their fingertips. It's a true cloud platform, automatically scales, no upgrade cost, no need to have servers dedicated to some sort of on prem solution, no IT burden. Just simple. Fast time to value, so you can go-live with our cloud-based solution in about three months. It's designed in a modular way that can augment the existing workforce management solution or replace it. Really, we give people a choice on how they want to take that forward.

And then one of the things that we were really excited about is working with Julia and the Forrester team to quantify the economic impact of the Legion platform. So now I'd like to turn it over to Julia to talk a bit more about the Forrester total economic impact study that was recently completed.

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Fadzeyeva: Thank you, Kristin. At this point you may be wondering what the total economic impact is. We built the TEI methodology – TEI is the Total Economic Impact – about 20 years ago because Forrester found that over 90% of IT decision makers in North America see value in a business case. The question became, "What is the effect of a business case study?" So early on, key studies focused primarily on the total cost of ownership and that included IT costs and IT savings.

Going one step further, the ROI analysis took into account tangible business benefits such as efficiency or incremental revenue. Today when we talk about the TEI case study, we look at the ROI as well as the risk and uncertainty around the investment. We also evaluate long-term outcomes such as scalability of the solution and flexibility. The TEI framework provides a fair, realistic, and conservative technology.

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Within the TEI framework, we look at the benefits such as improvements to productivity or efficiency, cost avoidance, or incremental revenue. We also look at the costs, including implementation or training, ongoing support for a product, and flexibility. Now that the technology is in place, what new long-term paths are opening up and what impact can that bring to your business?

As a final step, we look at the risk and account for certain variations in benefits and costs, then factor that into the total economic impact framework and analysis.

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Here is a high-level visualization of the process. It begins with the due diligence talking to subject matter experts and then conducting interviews with organizations on the Legion platform. Then, based on those interviews, we are able to create a composite with the accompanying financial analysis. This is rolled into a written study, then goes through a rigorous review cycle before it can be shared with the world.

Now, let's get to the good stuff. Workforce management technologies are vital for enterprise business continuity for any customer-facing organization. It helps ensure that organizations are well-staffed and can serve customers as needed, but that's also important internally for hourly workers and managers.

As Kristin mentioned, their role is to make sure employees feel empowered to manage their schedule and manage their work life. With an investment in the Legion platform, customers gain an intuitive, automated workforce management solution that provides visibility into the workforce, its needs, and empowers employees to take control of scheduling. Organizations have been able to reduce manual scheduling and shift management efforts for managers, and hourly employees improved performance, ensuring they are proactive and prepared when faced with the unexpected.

The financial model covers three years of benefits and costs. Legion does the math to make sure that those benefits and costs are measured in today's dollars or the present value. The takeaway from the document is that the composite organization, which is an anonymous representation of the customers that we interviewed for the study, receives a return on investment of 1300%. The benefits of more than 14.3 million, then if we remove the costs of the solution and roll it out, we find the net present value (NPV) of $13.4 million.

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While these numbers are very impressive, the stories and sentiment of those interviewed is equally important. I strongly encourage you to find them in the study and find the ones that speak to you because every story's a little bit different.

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How did we arrive at all of the findings? For this study we interviewed four large retail organizations. All are Legion platform customers and shared their stories, providing a unique perspective on how Legion provided value. Of course, stories differed from each other, but there were many similarities in terms of concerns and challenges that the customers experience. Most importantly, organizations struggled to accurately forecast labor demand.

Of course, there were legacy workforce management solutions, but these tools didn’t deliver accurate forecasting. They required employee data to be manually imported, exported, or edited each week. Those who did not have the forecasting solution previously relied primarily on management’s understanding of the business to meet labor decisions. That's not an efficient way. There were discrepancies between planned labor and actual labor, which led to lost revenue and higher payroll, and contributed to the manager and employee stress levels.

The second challenge was managers struggling with scheduling. It was a very manual process where managers spent hours each week reviewing and finalizing spreadsheets. If an employee suddenly had to change a shift, it usually fell on the manager to find a replacement. For managers, this was time consuming, inefficient, and contributed to their burnout. It also negatively affected hourly employees.

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The organizations we spoke to have a high volume of hourly employees. They did not have a self-service tool to manage availability, pick up extra shifts, or swap shifts. Previously, there was no mobile application and both the organization and employees saw it as a major gap — we live in a technology-driven world.

Organizations also struggled with the ever-changing, complex legislation around the workplace. Managers found it difficult to balance employee availability and work preferences with business needs and the compliance requirements. The primary reason for that was the legacy solutions could not keep up with the continuously evolving legislation. This led to penalties and lawsuits that no organization wants to be involved in.

Finally, even though organizations were not happy with former tools, they had to pay for the technologies and the high costs on top of the license fees, so they needed to provision the infrastructure. Dedicated resources were needed to maintain these on premise tools, which is not ideal. Kristin, anything you would like to add here?

Brennan: All of it resonates. In the set of customers interviewed, the feedback was very reflective of the wider challenges people are facing. In particular, the piece on forecasting whether labor can demand an optimization. In the past, many organizations relied on year-over-year models, then COVID changed everything.

A lot of organizations’ demand patterns changed forever and the way they were doing things before couldn't keep up – it's not one size fits all. If a retailer has lots of different locations, they're going to have different patterns of demand at those locations. It’s one of the challenges that we see because it has to start with planning. They have to plan what the labor needs are, then quickly move into execution to get those schedules created – the manual processes just make it difficult.

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Fadzeyeva: Based on what we just heard, it's not surprising that the organizations wanted a new approach to managing their workforce. A solution that could improve forecasting accuracy — that’s a big one — decrease manual work and manual processes; provide visibility, flexibility, and accessibility for employees; and increase operational efficiency for managers so that managers can focus on more value-added tasks such as on the floor, teaching associates, etc.

Additionally, they wanted to ensure compliance and be proactive. Finally, they wanted a modern, cloud-native environment for workforce management. I’ll quickly summarize the ideal vision and the outcome that the client had, and that may coincide with your vision for your organization.

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“Now employees can swap shifts, take open shifts, and put in their availability all from their mobile phone. They just have a better experience with their schedule and have a more predictive schedule as well,” said one director of workforce planning we spoke with. This would resonate with a lot of organizations, but also employees.

We looked at the commonalities and the differences between the interviewed organizations, then created a composite that was representative of the stories we heard. The case study and the rest of what I'll share today are focusing on the benefits accrued by this composite organization.

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This is a global company with about $10 billion in annual revenue and 10,000 employees. Of these employees, 9,000 are hourly and 500 are unit managers. The organization operates across 500 locations, for a sense of what this company is. Now that we've set the stage, what are the benefits that the composite organization saw as a result of using Legion? The highest benefits come from optimizing schedules for hourly employees and improving manager productivity.

The composite also reduced turnover and overtime pay for hourly employees. As a part of replacing the legacy solution, with Legion the composite transitioned the workforce management tool to the cloud and retired the on-prem infrastructure. This is a brief overview, but if you read through the study you’ll find out more about each of the benefits. The leaders in workforce management told us quite a bit. With the former tools, managers struggled to ensure the optimal level of labor in order to meet customer demand in stores, at any given time.

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Most interviewees did not have a forecasting system and those who did couldn't trust the output because forecasting was based on very limited data, which frequently proved to be inaccurate. With Legion, the organizations can guarantee the optimal labor volume at stores and ensure that the type of labor needed is scheduled at the right time it’s needed. Legion pulls in data from a number of external sources — including things they couldn’t before, such as local events, conferences, weather forecasts, etc. This helps ensure that a more accurate forecast for the labor demand is on hand. 

The customers speak for themselves, "Because of Legion's AI machine learning functionality, it forecasts an ideal headcount for hours per day on the operating hours and the traffic that's anticipated using all the historical data. Additionally, the tool continues to learn over time as we add more data," said the director of human resources for one of the companies that we spoke with. That’s an ideal situation.

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Based on the conversations with industry professionals within the interviewed companies, we modeled the composite organization's increased forecasting accuracy from 87% to 95%, which amounted to about $6.1 million in eliminated cost of overstaffing in the course of three years. Beyond overstaffing, the leaders noted high store associate turnover as a pain point for the retail organizations. Everyone on this call probably knows how expensive high turnover can be.

We also know that enhancing a store associate's experience can proactively ensure that front line workers feel taken care of and feel equipped to succeed. Prior to Legion, schedules were posted to different times of a week, employees needed to proactively check on when those are posted — that could be a paper on a wall in a break room, some organizations had employees physically come into the store to check on the schedule or someone needed to take a picture and send it to them.

If there was a change, employees were not always notified, which is not only inconvenient, but frustrating to hourly employees. With the Legion app, employees have access to the schedule right at their fingertips. Schedules are posted at a set time and if there is any change, all the affected employees are notified. Legion also serves as a communication tool because employees can use it to swap shifts or pick up a new shift very easily from their mobile device.

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This improved flexibility, helped employees own their schedules, and contributed significantly to satisfaction, which in turn influenced retention. Based on the interviews, in the study we modeled a 5% reduction in employee turnover rate. That is attributed to Legion, which resulted in $3.6 million in savings and costs of replacing employees over the course of three years.

Brennan: Employee value and schedule empowerment, modern digital communication tools, then taking those capabilities and marketing them to prospective and existing employees is something that we've seen have a dramatic impact in terms of attracting and retaining hourly workers. It’s very important to think holistically beyond just the living wage.

Fadzeyeva: Another cost concern that was heard repeatedly was overtime pay. Previously, there was no system in place around predictive scheduling or scaling up the workforce when extra hands were needed. That resulted in overtime pay. Organizations want better control over that.

The Legion platform has enabled organizations to optimize labor and avoid overtime hours. There are features in Legion such as built-in compliance flags, accurate forecasting, and optimal workload computation that help with the task.

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We spoke with the director of HR and they saw a 10% reduction in overtime pay from the proactive visibility and to staffing needs. Together with the set of compliance rules they put in the Legion platform, the organization saw a reduction in overtime, as well. Because the compliance flags are built into the scheduling tool in Legion, a manager can also see if someone is scheduled for more than eight hours, for example, and that allows them to reduce that shift and easily add  a half hour to somebody else in order to avoid that overtime.

Managers and payroll have more control and oversight into managing the overtime. For the composite, Forrester modeled that overtime pay was reduced by 7-10% over the course of three years and the outcomes amounted to $287.7 thousand over the course of three years.

The benefits that we shared primarily focused on the hourly employees and labor, but it's not just that. They're not the only group that's affected. The customers we spoke to wanted to empower managers to be more efficient in scheduling tasks and in the day-to-day. Legion removed a substantial manual scheduling burden and reduced the time spent on creating and maintaining schedules. The manager's time savings was reallocated toward more strategic value.

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One retail organization we spoke to noted a 50% reduction in time that managers spent on scheduling because of Legion. I'll quote here, "Managers have now reinvested seven hours a month, which is almost two hours per week." Whether that's spent in talent development or training, it's significant. Another interviewee that we spoke to saw a 4-6 hour reduction per week in the time spent on scheduling because of the improved forecasting and better efficiencies that were introduced with Legion.

Again, that time can be used productively by managers in store development, with associates, and on the floor. For the composite, Forrester modeled that with Legion each manager saves five hours per week from automation and better scheduling capabilities, and the outcomes are very noticeable in about $4.2 million in three years.

Last, but not least, interviewees described one of the key benefits as cost savings from replacing the on-prem workforce management solutions with the cloud-native Legion platform. The on-premise tools require the infrastructure to host them, so the organizations incurred the cost of servers, software maintenance, physical facilities, and keeping that hardware. IT staff were then charged with maintaining the legacy workforce management solutions and the associated infrastructure. Typically, on-premise solutions also required upgrades every three years, or so.

As a cloud-based platform, Legion introduced organizations to the benefits of a true cloud application. Organizations no longer have to provision and manage the infrastructure. When it comes to updating the platform, organizations saw pure bugs in critical areas on the platform as compared to upgrades that were done on previous technologies and there were also no update costs.

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We've also heard stories from clients regarding the speed of disaster recovery if anything ever happened. Being on-premise is a huge detriment. With the cloud platform, none of these consequences happen. As a result of the transition to the Legion cloud platform, organizations are able to shut down the servers used for legacy solutions and reassign the IT staff that were dedicated to the infrastructure management. For the composite organization this resulted in nearly $200K in savings over the course of three years.

This summarizes the list of the benefits that organizations could put a number to, but there are other benefits you can’t necessarily quantify that are still very important. Employees openly adopted the tool, which speaks about engagement and is critical because it was easy to use and allowed employees to get instant access to the workweek and have more control over schedules.

Those who want to work more hours can take open shifts or work in multiple locations. Those who are not able to make their shift could easily find coverage via the app as we mentioned earlier.

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We already discussed freeing manager’s time for scheduling, but this is where more of the results shine through. Managers now have more time to reinvest into strategizing and serving customers on the floor, or helping train new employees. One director of human resources said they saw a 22% increase in manager contributions to sales once they implemented Legion.

Legion also helped unlock some of the untapped revenue that the organizations previously missed. Because of Legion’s forecasting abilities, the manager can now see that hours were allocated to the time and day where there is high demand. With better visibility into peak days or hours, managers have the control to stop top performance during those periods. 

The ability to avoid understaffing had huge top line ramifications for some of these companies. The frequent complaint among interviewees was that rolling out new software could be a very complex process. Previously, there were mixed experiences with rolling out new tools, but with Legion the transition was quick and smooth. The employees needed little training because the UI is intuitive and the feedback was positive there.

The platform became a recruitment asset because customers tell us they've highlighted the advantages of working for the organization in job interviews. They positioned Legion as a different advantage or it pushed interviewees to accept a job because this is the tool that they could use for managing their life.

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Finally, strong compliance. Again, Legion manages the complexities of state and local labor laws for the companies, helping to minimize risk and avoid potential finds that could concern rest and meal breaks, schedule changes, closing and opening, premium pay, and so on. There are costs associated with the investment in Legion. The companies we spoke to paid the annual fees for the platform and assigned resources internally to implement the solution and train the team to use the platform.

Forrester accounted for this cost as we built a financial model , which amounted to approximately $2 million dollars during the three years that the model takes into account. One last look at the financial outcome here. The ROI for the Legion platform amounts to 1,345% with the benefits of $14.3 million in the net present value of $13.4 million, which is exceptional. This accounts for the risk, making this a pretty conservative estimate.

The full version of the TEI study offers more real-life examples of how customers are using the platform.

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Denman: Thanks Julia, great presentation. Thank you, Kristin, as well. Kristin, how does Legion handle seniority and CBA employees?

Brennan: Legion has a robust platform for handling union requirements. There are a number of customers that have those and seniority requirements, as well. We'd be happy to follow-up in a direct conversation and understand exactly what the needs are. I'd like to point out that we have some badging capability. People use badges to indicate particular skills, we've used that for seniority as well and for certain skills such as forklift operators, or people that need to do certain duties. It's all built into the platform.

Denman: This next question is for Julia. How could someone on this webinar use the case study you laid out to determine their particular cost, benefits, and the ROI they might see if they invested in the Legion portal or technology?

Fadzeyeva: Great question. The study is developed in a way that each organization should be able to pick up the framework that's laid out and evaluate what applies to them, what they need to adjust when thinking about their own benefits, or their own ROI. The best approach would be to look at the financial model in the document and see how your organization is similar or different to the composite, then you’ll be able to determine what you need to adjust to evaluate your own outcomes. Some numbers should be fairly easy to scale.

For example, you could plug in the number of managers and the time that they spend on average per week building out schedules manually, but you may think a little harder if you're trying to adjust the forecasting accuracy or the infrastructure cost savings. Either way, the framework is there for you to use and plug in your own numbers to see what the outcomes are for your company.

Denman: Thanks. Kristin, how does Legion's AI handle the different sales patterns that we've experienced with COVID in the demand forecasting?

Brennan: Absolutely. That goes back to what Julia mentioned with our AI forecasting engine. It looks at historical information, but then it's constantly learning and evolving. It understands what's happened the previous week and all that information gets fed back into the models – the models get tuned, they learn, they continue to evolve, and sometimes we might even pick a different model based on how conditions have changed for that particular organization. The other thing that's key is like as I mentioned before, it's not a one size all model.

We actually model what we call the demand driver per location. It's a very specific, accurate forecast for each and every location in the umbrella organization. Self-learning models are the key.

Denman: Julia, can you explain again why Forrester makes risk adjustments to benefits?

Fadzeyeva: Sure. We can probably all agree that there is risk that's inherent in any technology project. When we provide our estimates, we want to be very reasonable, to make sure that what we cite in the ROI is achievable, and it's very credible benefits. So, Forrester risk adjusts the benefits downward and the cost upward. We try to account for any variation that may happen when an organization tries to implement the same solution.

The benefits may be a bit lower and the cost may be a bit higher. Using this conservative approach and seeing the positive ROI helps us to be confident that the investment is likely to succeed. The risk adjusted numbers should be taken as realistic expectations for the investment because they are, again, adjusted down for the benefits and up higher for the costs.

Denman: In addition to ROI, which we talked a lot about, what are some other good ways to convince leadership that we need a solution like this? Maybe Julia, would you like to go first?

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Fadzeyeva: When we look at the numbers like this, it should just convince your leadership that this is a good decision. In all seriousness here, there are a lot of neat details in the full TEI study that will help you find that approval for leadership. If optimizing scheduling and producing churn are less of interest to the leadership, then  you can highlight the other aspects.

It could be improving employee engagement and you can use the study to show how Legion creates that more flexible employee experience, or other aspects that we covered like removing the constraints on manager times and making them more present on the floor. Again, up to you and definitely look at the customer stories in the study and the real-time examples to see what could be achieved beyond the ROI.

Denman: Kristin, same question and final thoughts?

Brennan: One of the things that people need to think about is that a lot of businesses have made tremendous investments in digital transformation, but sometimes they've stopped short of including their employees in that digital transformation. They really need to think about how they transform the experience for their employees, their operations, etc. There are pieces in the study that are going to speak to different members of an organization.

You've got the hard numbers around labor optimization, etc. They might really appeal to finance or it might appeal to the VP of operations, but there are also HR considerations, like attracting and retaining employees. The numbers speak for themselves, but it's about thinking about both sides of the equation: optimizing labor efficiency while at the same time empowering employees into a great experience to attract and retain these workers. They're critical.

Denman: Well, unfortunately we are out of time. Thank you Julia and Kristin for joining us and for sharing your expertise, your great insight and of course, thank you Legion for sponsoring this webinar. But until next time, thank you.