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Michael Spataro, Chief Customer Officer at Legion Technologies, discussed the challenges faced by organizations in 2023, especially those hiring hourly workers due to inflation affecting consumer spending and resulting in labor shortages. Many companies had to rethink their strategies, leading to store closures and staff reductions. However, there is hope on the horizon with a predicted 3-4% increase in holiday spending and a mostly restored labor force in the restaurant industry.

Spataro emphasized the importance of flexibility and agility in industries reliant on hourly workers, with a large percentage of them planning to leave their current industry in 2024. To prevent this potential mass exodus, leaders must invest in employee engagement. Legion Technologies has identified some early trends and strategies to help employers engage with and retain employees. Prioritizing the human touch and finding the AI advantage are key strategies in creating a better employee experience.

The human touch is crucial in creating an engaging work environment as technology can streamline the consumer experience but does not replace the importance of human interaction. AI can make the hourly employee experience more human by automating tasks like scheduling, allowing employees more time for personal aspects of their jobs. AI-powered scheduling systems can optimize schedules based on various factors, improving transparency and efficiency. Generative AI virtual assistants can provide workers with critical information and automated coaching to enhance productivity.

Focusing on well-being is essential as labor strikes and unionization efforts among hourly employees have increased. Companies must invest in their employees’ well-being as they are the driving force behind productivity and sales. Well-being can look different for each individual, but some successful strategies, like schedule flexibility, earned wage access, and rewards and recognition, have been implemented at Legion Technologies. By exceeding the basics and investing in the job experience, companies can create environments where employees can learn and grow, ultimately leading to greater productivity.

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