The White House’s upcoming change to overtime legislation will make millions of American hourly workers eligible for overtime pay.

The White House’s upcoming overtime pay rule change will make millions of American hourly workers eligible for overtime pay by increasing the salary threshold from $23,660 (£15,620) to $50,440 (£33,300).

Middle managers, who often work more than 40 hours per week, tend to fall within this salary range.

Though many retailers proactively mitigate against overtime expenses for hourly workers, few have scheduling policies in place to control managers’ overtime obligations, giving retailers reason to stress about how they’re going to accommodate the costs and hour constraints brought on by the new rule.

To keep up with rising overtime expenses, retailers must seek out new ways to maintain manageable labour costs and achieve regulatory compliance, while still keeping prices at bay for customers.

This challenge will call on retailers to lighten managerial workloads, update technology and ensure labour efficiencies.

Though managers’ skills are best put to use when interacting with customers, much of their time is devoted to sorting out back-end complications.

Between worker disagreements, scheduling conflicts and payroll issues, managers are often forced to serve as moderators between hourly workers and head office management.

Until retailers implement a channel for employees to report and communicate requests without so much managerial intervention taking, the majority of managers’ customer-facing and strategic skills will be put to waste.         

Fortunately, advances in technology are finally combating this age-old issue once and for all.

Tech solutions

Adopting an integrated employee-employer relationship management platform allows retailers to lighten managers’ loads by giving employees more control in the workplace.

Implementing such a platform gives employees the freedom to trade shifts, engage in training sessions and provide feedback without the need for managers to interfere.

Taking advantage of these solutions not only allows managers to focus on more strategic, customer-oriented tasks, but also gives retailers the opportunity to benefit from a more engaged and happier workforce.

Retail managers often devote hours each week to perfecting hourly workers’ schedules in an attempt to meet employee and organisational needs.

With many managers still manually constructing schedules – using spreadsheets or pen and paper – this tedious process takes away precious time from pertinent businesses tasks.

On top of this, managers must juggle a plethora of inputs in order to receive employee availability, including in-person requests, emails, texts and even handwritten notes.

Without one centralised communication platform, creating employee schedules becomes an unnecessarily drawn-out nuisance.  

Streamlining processes

As President Obama’s new ruling goes into effect, managers’ schedules will become even more limited.

To combat this, retailers must make reducing manual processes a priority.

By implementing a tech-driven solution that eradicates third-party communication channels, managers can speed up the scheduling process, communicate schedules and facilitate shift changes in one central hub that everyone in the organisation can access.

With overtime regulations putting time constraints on managers, retailers need to crack down on how they’re going to optimise operations.

Labour typically accounts for a high proportion of retailer’s expenses, so it’s vital they get serious about optimising it.

Using data on employee availability, historic demand trends and sales can help managers ensure employee schedules align with personal and organisational needs, as well as prevent extraneous staffing costs.

The new overtime proposal may bring forth new obstacles for the retail industry, but it also grants retailers the opportunity to innovate and get creative about how to cut costs.

  • Steven Kramer is chief executive of WorkJam