Ep. 535 w/ Traci Chernoff Director of Employee Engagement at Legion Technologies

Kevin Horek: Welcome back to the show.

Today we have Tracy Turnoff.

She's the director of Employee
Engagement at Legion Technologies

and she's also a podcast host.

Tracy, welcome to the show.

Traci Chernoff: Thank you
so much for having me.

Kevin Horek: Yeah, I'm excited
to have you on the show.

I, I, What Legion is doing is
actually really innovative and cool.

But maybe before we get into all that,
let's get to know you a little bit better

and start off with where you grew up.

Traci Chernoff: Sure I
grew up in New Jersey.


Uh, right near Rucker, so North Brunswick,
New Jersey, which is pretty central.

If you ask anyone from the
area, central Jersey does exist.

If you ask anyone from north
or South Jersey, they will say

Central Jersey does not exist.

But I can tell you it

Kevin Horek: does.

. That's awesome.

No, and I actually just got to go to
New York for the first time in the

end of September, so it was great.

Oh, awesome, awesome.

One like a bucket lid
place I wanted to go.

So yeah, it was awesome.

Love it.

You went to university,
what did you take And.

Traci Chernoff: Yes, I went to Binghamton
University in upstate New York and

I actually studied English rhetoric.

I thought I was going
to go into journalism.

Um, okay.

But instead of writing for a living, I
guess I am kind of talking for a living

and also, um, you know, hopefully helping
people with their own communication and,

uh, The HR stuff kind of folds in there.

And after college I started working
and then I pursued a master's in public

administration from Rutgers University.

Kevin Horek: Okay.

Very cool.

So walk us through your career
up until kind of coming on

Legion, and then let's dive into

Traci Chernoff: that.


So after college, like I said,
I thought I was gonna go into

journalism, but you know, your
student loans don't pay themselves.

Like I took the first job that I
was offered and it was a great one.

I was offered a job, um, from
Target, which, you know, everyone

knows Target, even those who
don't have a target locally.

And uh, it was an amazing.


So in college I was involved
in leadership activities.

I was a resident assistant.

I was uh, you know, doing
different leadership, uh, in

different leadership roles.

And that was when I was kind of
found by Target at one of the job,

um, career fairs, I should say.

And they were like, Hey, you have
all this leadership experience,

what about a career in leadership?

And I was like, I honestly
never thought of it, and.

I had always worked in retail
through college, through high

school, and I thought that I
would never go back to retail.

But then I was like, you know what?

I'm good at it.

I like it.

Why don't I just do the interviews?

Got the job.

From Target, I was a guest experience
executive team leader, which basically

means I was a salaried manager managing.

The operations around like what
customers first experienced.

Everything from the upkeep of
the store to the cashiers to the

Starbucks that you go to in a store.

And, and being from New Jersey, I was
placed in, um, a pretty large store.

Um, As far as the company goes, you
know, the, the stores that are the

largest are between New York and
New Jersey, um, most of the time.

And so it was almost a
hundred million store.

I had like eight employees reporting
into me and I was like, why did

anyone take a college graduate and
put them into this experience?

But I walked away from that experience,
like so humbled and really grateful

for that opportunity and to the
effect that, um, it really shaped.

Now HR career.

So after that first six months in
role as a guest experience executive,

I was promoted into an HR manager
or HR executive team leader role.

And that's, it's kind of the same thing.

You're in store, you're managing
a team, but now with the

specialty and the focus in hr.

So that was really what
kicked everything off for me.

And I was an HR manager in store
for Target for about three years.

So I was with Target.

Three and a half, four years, let's say.

And um, I decided, you know, I
was ready to kind of see what was

beyond the target horizon, but
I have to say kudos to target.

It was the single most
important experience of my life.

Um, and it gave me all of
the chops that I have today.

So I really appreciated that experience.

I moved on to an HR business partner role
after Target, um, working for a luxury.

Fashion company, Sandra Maj, Claudia
Pilo, they're French luxury brands.

And after the HR business
partner role, I was promoted to

HR manager and then promoted to
director of HR for North America.

And after that was really about
four to five years spent there that

I then decided to move to Legion.

It's not a coincidence.

I will say it's a really important
part of my story that back in 2018

when I was at Sandra Maj, Claudia
Pilo, which is also S M C P, is the

acronym, so you'll probably hear me
reference it in that way after, you know,

already a year to a year and a half.

At S M C P, we were looking for
workforce management solutions.

Something that would
really help us to bring.

You know, our employees technology
that they really needed.

And I found Legion and I
brought Legion to S M C P.

I was the project manager helping
with the rollout, kind of, you

know, managing that whole process.

And we rolled out Legion in 2020, and then
after a short stint at a different company

between S M P and Legion, I was like, you.

It's just not the same.

Without it, I gotta go to Legion.

And so here I am as the director
of employee engagement after all

of that experience in retail and
I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Kevin Horek: Very cool.

Okay, so let's dive into Legion.

What exactly is it and how
did you actually find it

Traci Chernoff: originally?


So Legion Technologies is
truly in HR technology.

It's a workforce management company
powered by intelligent automation.

Intelligent automation
enables us to do what we do.

So when you think about, you know,
you go to your local Starbucks or

you go to your local grocery store,
those employees are working hourly

most of the time, 99% of the time.

Most likely excluding the manager.

And that hourly employee is tasked
with managing their schedule and their

hours and what they're earning and
everything in and outside of work.

And so at Legion, we leverage, um,
intelligent automation and enable

intelligent automation, I should say,
to provide, um, Time and attendance,

um, communication, earned wage
access, and everything in between.

So through, um, intelligent
automation, we're able to provide

employees a much better experience.

And, you know, to kind of break that
down even further, when you think about

these hourly employees, which 58% of
American employees are earning an income

on an hourly basis, so you think about
the majority of Americans, um, needing.

A tool that that provides them, you know,
better recognition, better pay, better

access to rewards and things like that.

It's something that if you were
to go into, again, like your local

store and you ask them how they get
their schedule, they're most likely

telling you that, that they're
getting their schedules on Excel and.

For an employee, there's not really
much of a benefit there because

you can't control your schedule.

You don't have ownership and
accountability and empowerment over it.

And for the business, there's no insight.

There's no forecasting demand, there's
no, um, data to help create a better

experience and a better schedule, which
therein also impacts your customers.

Kevin Horek: Interesting.

No, totally.

So I want to dive into, like.

I like you just kind of outlined
it, but what other industries could

benefit from legion's software?

Because you guys cover a broad spectrum,

Traci Chernoff: correct?


, we do, and actually I realize I, I
meant to share also, I found Legion

by really doing a Google search.


I was just kind of looking for, because
I, of my target experience, I knew

what, you know, Better system could
look like for managing a workforce.

And at the time, we didn't have that
at S M C P, so I was just kind of

searching with buzzwords, right?

Like machine learning, artificial
intelligence, demand forecasting.

And I eventually found Legion
among other companies and

Legion just like outshine them.

So it was very easy to make
that presentation and, and we

had a huge r o I in the first
month, let alone the first year.

So that's how I found Legion.

But, In terms of other industries, I mean,
really any industry that has an hourly

workforce is going to be an industry
that really needs support to motivate,

retain, and encourage that workforce.

The, the hourly employees, the frontline
workers, as we, um, always refer to them

as, you know, they have a really tough
experience coming from being an in-store.

not only employee but manager, I
can tell you, I mean there, there

is not one day that goes by that
is the same as the previous day.

And there are so many things
that come into play that can

throw off your experience.

Like you have to learn how to adapt
to those, you know, immediate changes.

And for an employee, the last
thing that they need is for.

A lack of predictability in their lives
because they already have that, right?

They, that's already ingrained in their
experience on the job because you can't

really predict what you know, someone
coming into your retail environment

or your restaurant environment.

You just can't predict those things.

So when you provide resources like
schedule, predictability and empowerment,

that employee has like another set of.

Resources that make them
feel more secure, right?

So, um, it's really any industry and we
primarily focus on retail and hospitality

because those are the businesses
that really see the most, um, hourly

employees as far as like a workforce

Kevin Horek: goes.


Do you guys also support like gig
economy type companies as well, or not

Traci Chernoff: really?

So this is a really interesting question.

We are truly, uh, advocates for providing.

The type of flexibility that you
find in a gig economy, in a gig.



So while we, you know, are not necessarily
working today with, uh, a company that

is specifically hiring gig workers, the
idea is that we are enabling businesses.

To therefore enable their employees to
have that type of gig, like flexibility.

And to, to give an example of this, you
know, if you, if one of our customers

is a retailer and they have, uh, you
know, a part-time hourly employee and

they're working between 15 and 25 hours a
week, that employee should have and will

have, thanks to Legion, the flexibility.

Move around their shifts, swap shifts
without needing to even involve

their manager, with the exception
of approvals and things that are

naturally built into our systems.

Um, but that type of, you know, when you
think of like an Instacart employee, they

can choose when they want to work, right?

If they can't work on a Tuesday because
they have a bridal shower, then they

don't have to work on a Tuesday.

And that type of flexibility
is the flexibility.

All employees, including probably you
and me, the type of flexibility that we

all want, especially coming out of the
pandemic and or thanks to the pandemic.

And that is what we really empower
through our solutions is that, you know,

Finding and enabling businesses to, to
meet their employees where they are and

to bridge that gap so that employees
are, are having the needs and the demands

that they have and their needs met while
the business needs are also being met.

Kevin Horek: Okay, so just so
I'm clear, What you, or like

basically companies start using
Legion once a new person is hired.



There's nothing to do with the
recruitment and hiring process, correct?




. Okay.

So if I'm a retailer, for
example, How do I go about

actually starting on the platform?

Like walk me through my first few days
and then maybe give us kind of an overview

of, you know, 3, 6, 12 months, whatever.

Like how do I keep ongoing

Traci Chernoff: using it?

For sure.

So we, you know, I said this before,
it's all about meeting employees

where they are, and that is primarily
on the cell phone, so, right.


Your first day is going to, An
invitation to check out your

schedule and onboard Inter Legion.

And so you'll get a, you know, an
email, you'll be able to set up

your password and you get onto the
system or into the system right away.

And from there, what you see is not only
your schedule, let's say you're a manager,

you can see your team schedule if you're
an employee, you see, depending on the.

Way that the company sets it up.

You can either see the full team schedule
or um, you know, your manager or your,

your coworkers, um, but definitely
yourself and you can request time off.

You can, you know, it's a very
intuitive platform, so when you go in

it's, it's kind of like how you just
automatically know what to do when you

have a new social media app, right?

It's that it's that type of intuitiveness
where you can figure out, like the

menu is going to have options for you.

When you click into the schedule,
you're gonna be able to see that.

A schedule or a shift
doesn't work for you.

You have the opportunity to swap it.

When, um, our customers who are using
communications, they can have go right

to their newsfeed and see the latest
communication that was sent by their

HQ or by their district manager.

So there's a lot of self-guided
opportunity when first clicking into the.

System and then, uh, you know, when
you're in the environment too, you're

kind of encouraged to interact with it.

You know, that's the thing that, uh, that
comes with technology is that it has to

be, and we really believe this at Legion,
that technology has to, has to actually

solve the problem for the employees.

And I can tell you from my experience at
S M C P when we rolled out Legion, we had

100% adoption of the mobile app, and we
did not have 100% adoption of anything.


At all, ever.

So this was a huge accomplishment
that here we found a, a

tool, a system like leg.

That actually solved the problems
for our employees at a rate that

said, Hey, a hundred percent of
our employees are actually using

Legion on the mobile app day to day.

And so that it, hopefully, it
goes to show the experience

that you have when you log on.

And then beyond that, you know,
when we think about that, First

30 days, 60 days, 90 days.

You're, if you're a manager, you're
getting more experienced in scheduling,

you're getting to know your team for
the manager on that side, you know, a,

a manager in retail, hospitality, any
of those industries comes back to this

like unpredictability of the day today.

So what we do is we leverage
demand forecasting and intelligent

automation is enabled so that all
of the data points of a business.

Integrated into the system so that
a manager can go ahead see what the

ideal schedule is based on this.

You know, what intelligent
automation shows us.

And then beyond that, the manager
absolutely can make changes.

They see availability of their employees,
they see time off requests, and.

Then they are able to publish a
schedule and manage it thereafter.

And one other anecdote on this, um,
is that when I was at S M C P, we

kind of ran a study before Legion,
before we launched Legion, and we

found that managers on average were
spending 10 hours managing the schedule,

writing the schedule, publishing
it, and really workforce management

end-to-end, which is an incredible
amount of time when you think about.

What you could do with 10 hours back in
your in your month exactly mean that's

like I, the things I could do, right?

So we were like, wow, let's see how much
time is saved by implementing Legion

into our environment, into our workplace.

And we saw in the first month,
so this was just after 30 days of

use, that managers reduce their
time spent on workforce manage.

Scheduling everything end-to-end
managing the schedule, call outs,

et cetera, by more than 70%.

So Wow.

It was incredible to see them go
from 10 to three hours a month.

I mean, that's, those saved seven hours
was actually reinvested into the business

and we saw a lift in the business.

So, um, there's definitely, I
know I could, I could go on and

on if you can't already tell.

Uh, but I could go on and on about
this and there's, there are so many.

Not only for the employee,
but also for the manager.

When you do, uh, see the empowerment
behind intelligent automation and

technology, that actually again does
solve the problem for the employee.

Kevin Horek: Got you.

And then what's the cost?

Or roughly what's the
cost of lesion a month?



Traci Chernoff: So it's, yeah,
it's hard to say exactly because

it kind of depends, right?

Like if you have a certain
number of employees and you do it

based on headcount, that's okay.

One, you know, one cost.

Um, uh, Result, I should say,
in terms of cost or build out.

And then if, you know, sometimes
people also do it based on stores.

So because I'm not on that side of the
business, I can't really say specifically.

But what I can tell you is that when
I was sourcing a workforce management

solution, I looked at probably
three to six, you know, People in

this space and technologies in this
space and Legion was by far the

most affordable with the most value.

So I say that in that
there were certainly cheap.

You know, companies out there that
did very basic things that did not

provide demand forecasting, that did
not provide automated scheduling and

things like that, or communications.

But then there were companies that
had all of those things, but were.


Um, but didn't have, again, didn't
have the demand forecasting, which

is something that Legion is really,
really unique, um, in having.

So this is where, you know, in terms
of value and cost ratio, Legion

was the best of the best for me.

Kevin Horek: That makes sense.

Well, it sounds like you just custom
build kind of a plan to client need,

Traci Chernoff: right?


And the best part, actually, I'm glad you
mentioned custom because the best part

about it is that, you know, the, the thing
that was so unique about Legion was that

there wasn't this like, okay, you, you pay
for this and then anything else you want,

you're gonna have to pay for, which we saw
with so many of the technologies that we.

Had looked at or we had
implemented over the years.

So there's just a, you know, what you
get when you even speak with someone

from Legion is that sense of like,
we want to make your experience and

your employees experience better,
so how can we do that together?

And like, let's, let's just make
it happen for all of our customers,

regardless of how much money and
revenue they're earning a year.

Regardless of how many employees they
have, what one person gets at Legion, if

they have 50 employees is the same thing
that someone will get if they have 50,000.

It's just a matter of scaling
it based on the size of

Kevin Horek: business.

Got you.

All right, so I, I'm curious.

You also host a, a podcast?

What's it called and what's it

Traci Chernoff: about?

Yes, so I technically have
two podcasts actually.


My, my fir my podcast.

When I say my podcast, it's
like my personal podcast

that I started before Legion.

That's called Bringing the
Human Back to Human Resources.

I started that back in October, 2020.

So much like every.

I had a lot of time on my hands
and I wanted to invest that time

into something and I'm so glad
that I started that podcast.

And then upon joining Legion, I actually
started a podcast that we, you know, is

really like a, a podcast presented by
Legion and it's called The Frontline.

So again, really focused on the
challenges and the opportunities

for the frontline workers and their.

Kevin Horek: That's actually perfect
because I was gonna ask you about that.

So you, you always, you know, I follow the
news and you always read that, you know,

the state of the industry is everybody's
looking for people they can't find people.


. And as somebody that I is in tech, I
like, it's all doom gloom right now.

And, uh, I, we don't need to go there.

It doesn't matter.

I'm curious, what is your thoughts
on the actual state of the industries

that Legion provides software?

Traci Chernoff: So first of all, I
think it's important for me to add that

I am an eternal optimist and I will
always see things on the bright side.

All right.

Although I am realistic for sure.

But on top of that, I also
come from a retail background,

and everyone was like, retail.

Uh oh, retail.

It's, you know, it's going out.


Retail's in a bad spot, right?


You hear that your whole career in retail.

And I started working in store again,
like as a sales associate in high

school when I was like 15 or 16.

And I always heard that,
but who cared, right?

I was an hourly employee trying
to pay for my books in college.

So, um, or like have
some summer money and.

Then you make a career of it
and you hear it tenfold, right?

It's like, oh, are you sure
you want a career in retail?

Because you know,
retail's not looking good.

So I share that anecdote because
all I have to say is, , everything

will have an up and a down, right?

It's like the stock market.

Things will go up and things will
go down, and it's only a loss

when you cash in on that loss.

So when I think about, you know, those
who have been affected by the downsides

of things, I hope that they walk
away from those experiences learning

something and taking something with them.

It's certainly not always sunshine and
rainbows, but my point here is that the,

my outlook on the state of the workforce,
Yes, there are challenges today.

There were challenges in our, you
know, in 2009 when we had a recession

and I was, I was graduating high
school at that time and I was worried

for even my own career, right?

Beyond college.

And when you think about.

The history and the
trajectory of economies.

We are, you know, this is
just kind of part of the plan.

And so businesses have to really
think about, okay, what can I do

today that's going to help me be more
elastic in those moments in the future?

What's going to allow my business and
my employees to feel and be more secure?


Again, my, my perspective is that
yes, there are challenges, but it's

all about what you do with those
challenges that can determine what

the true state of the environment is.

Now, beyond that, the.

Experience for retail and hospitality
in terms of hiring and staffing

is exceptionally challenging
since Covid exceptionally right.

I was working still for S M C P during
Covid, and it was exceptional then.

And it's exceptional now because
you have a smaller talent pool

because there are people who did
leave those industries who wanted.

To have a more gig like experience.

Who wanted more flexibility, who
wanted more predictability, right?

So these are all things that we know,
and it doesn't matter whether you earn

your income on an hourly or salary basis.

You still, we all want that.

We want flexibility, self-determination.

We want to work, you know, we
want a good work-life balance.

So retail and hospitality have never
been, Than any corporate experience,

but for so long I think industry
experts and thought leaders have

separated those groups of people.

Which is really not an ideal way of
looking at things because again, when

we think about where Legion kind of
steps in to support those businesses

in being more stable, in providing
more stability to their employees and

retaining the team that they do have so
that they're not as pressured by these,

you know, Microeconomic challenges and
sometimes macroeconomic challenges.

We say, Hey, we know.

We know that people want
predictability and flexibility

and better work-life balance.

In fact, more than half of hourly workers
that we surveyed recently in our workplace

survey said that they're holding one more
than one job because they need more money.


So if this is the case, if we
know that people are working.

they're out there.

In fact, 57% of them are
working more than one job.

How can we make their experiences
when they are in the business, how

can we make those experiences better?

Um, and then the same
goes for the managers too.

I mean, managing employees who are
engaged is a much better experience

than managing employees who are not so.

That and are affected by these
micro and macroeconomic situations.

So there's so much that I can share
and I, I think, you know, the, the

greatest advice that I can give to
any person listening that has an

opportunity to influence their employee's
experience is to really listen.

If we're asking for feedback,
we have to listen and we have to

solve the problem that is coming
through as a trend when we know.

That employees are looking for
predictability and flexibility

and more ownership and
empowerment over their schedules.

We have to give that to them.


Or they're, you're

Kevin Horek: just not
gonna find any employees.



Like, yeah, like I, I obviously, like, I
haven't worked, uh, customer service type

job in a very, very long time, but I, I
think like, and it's easy as somebody in

tech to be like, You know, like I, I'm
kind of lucky that you could be a bit

more demanding, I think sometimes, right?

To say like, no, I don't
want to go into the office.

But I also think too that, uh, it's
also kind of wrong for, for a lot of

businesses to be like, everybody needs
to be in the ba, the office like nine

to five, Monday to Friday, right?

From a tech perspective, obviously
if you work like a retail job where

you're helping physical customers in
a store, You can't work from home and

you can't expect to work from home.

And I find sometimes there's a
disconnect with people I talk to.

It's like, how?

How are you gonna do that?


like your job and the
job you're applying for.

Does not allow that.

Like there's no possible way to do that.

Do you find there's kind
of a disconnect sometimes?

Or am I just kind of out to lunch or,
or what are your thoughts on that?


Traci Chernoff: not out to lunch.

I think there is a disconnect,
but I think, I think there's a

disconnect on so many levels.

Like, okay, the first is that, When
for sure, like a retail employee is not

going to start working remotely unless
they're in like a luxury environment

where they can clientele from home.

And that does happen.

Um, but most of the
time it's not happening.

But when I hear that,
because I've heard that.

I, I heard that through Covid, like, oh,
I wish that we could just sell from home.

That's just not the experience
for an in-store employee.


Um, but when I hear that, I'm not hearing
necessarily that there's like this,

all of a sudden there's this desire to
work from home because very specific

people succeed at working from home.

Not everyone actually enjoys that.

A lot of people go to places outside of
their home to feel more connected, right?

So, That, that tells me that someone
is looking to have self-determination

over their schedule over their lives.



You know?


I, when I think about that, and I think
about the customers that we have that, you

know, are providing, um, jobs to workers
in stores or on site, let's say, you know,

they have to, they have to do something.

To make that employee and help
that employee feel like they are

in a flexible work environment.

And that honestly, it
starts with providing the

technology that supports that.

So coming back to what we do at Legion,
I mean one of the things that we surveyed

too was like what was most valuable
to employees and managers and what.

56% of hourly employees said that
the most valuable thing to them

was to be able to choose the number
of hours or where they could work.

So that flexibility, coming back
to that 56% said flexibility was

the most valuable thing to them.

If you ask, you know, someone sitting in
a C-suite of a retailer, they're probably

gonna say, oh, money and benefits, right?

Pay and benefit.

Because that's what they always say.

And yes, that is important.

And there are so many things to
talk about as far as PAM benefits

goes for hourly employees.

Um, but the reality is, is that we are
seeing that these hourly employees there

is a disconnect because they're not heard.

They say, Hey, we want flexibility too.

We want to be able to.

Where and when we want to work too.

So businesses should be investing in
workforce sharing, and this is where

Legion, again, can really support.

It's something that we did at S M C P.

You think about how so many retailers have
numbers of locations, multiple locations

within let's say a 20 mile radius.


You could ha, you know what you,
instead of pulling from a very small

talent pool, you could provide that
part-time hourly employee who's working

15 hours a week but wants to work
35, so they don't need a second job.

You can give them the opportunity to work
in that other store that's understaffed.

But so many, I talk to retailers all the
time, so many of them are like, oh, that's

like really progressive, or, you know,
I don't even know how we'd manage that.

I'm like, you don't have to.

Let us manage it for you.

Like we'll give you those resources,
but that it's not even about being

like the next frontier in technology
and like, you know, the workforce.

It's about understanding how we can
leverage technology to solve the

problem of staffing, solve it, the
problem of wanting more hours, but

one store, not necessarily having them
solving the problem of an employee

wanting to have their demands met.


And we're, you know, there's,
there's a reckoning for.

Businesses within these industries
that employ hourly employees.

We're seeing it with union activity too.

People just want to have the
option and the opportunity to, to

create the life that they want and.

Many retailers when I say this
to them will say, well, we have

needs too and we, we need the
store covered at certain times.

There is no reason why you can't meet
an employee's needs and provide them the

experience that they want and need while.

You know, without fo
meeting the needs yourself.

Like I always say, good employee
experience is good customer experience.

So if you really want to drive
revenue and you really want to

have great customer experience, you
have to start with the employees.



Kevin Horek: I, I totally get that.

But then we, we kind of talked
about the employee that wants more

hours and is willing to maybe travel
to go to a different location.


, but obviously.

Swing the pendulum, the
complete the other way.

How does Legion or a company or in
your experience, deal with the employee

that one week they wanna work that 20
hours the next week they wanna work

five hours and then like they want, cuz
obviously it, it's challenging, right?

Like if there's an shortage, like
how do you manage the employee that.

Wants a job, but only when
it's convenient for them.

I, I don't know how to put it.

Traci Chernoff: Yeah, I hear you.

Like the employee that doesn't wanna
work nights, weekends, or holidays Sure.

But wants to work in a retail environment.

I think, you know, if you asked
me this question five years ago, I

would say to you, this is retail.

This is the way it goes.

You have to work nights,
weekends, and holidays.


But the reality is, You, you might,
that's not gonna really be, be the, the

key to success for retailers anymore.


People again, you know, they, they
might work for a little bit, but

then they're gonna get frustrated
that they are not having their,

you know, the, the fundamentals of
what they value those needs met.

So when we think about like how
to manage that, I think a company

has to just kind of allow it.

And at the end of the.

If you have employees, there's always
gonna be a give and a take, right?

The manager doesn't have to always
approve like a five hour, you

know, an employee saying, I only
wanna work one day for five hours.

It's not necessarily always going
to happen, but if you have employees

who are a part of a workforce sharing
network where you can share talent

across your stores and you have
employees who wanna work, . And again,

you have some of these employees
sprinkled in who wanna work less.

It, it can work.

I can tell you from my experience
again with S M C P, I mean we saw

this, we rolled out in the beginning
of 2020, we all remember what

happened in the beginning of 2020.

Everything shut down and uh, we had
employees who did not want to come back

when we reopened our stores because
of everything, you know, with covid.

, all you have to do is manage it.

You give people the space that they need.

You, you flex where possible.

And I think the, the key here is
that you have to, you have to place

the accountability on the employee.

They own their schedules when
they are within our environment.

Because, you know, if they want to
take a shift or they wanna swap a

shift, that that is on them to manage.

So if they're scheduled 20 hours a
week and all of a sudden they don't

want to work 15 of those hours, They're
responsible for finding that coverage.

Now, of course, people are going to
say, well, what happens if they just

call out or they just No call, no show.

The same goes as it did before.

You have to hold that
person accountable, right?

So at the end of the day, there's
always going to be that small percentage

of people who might not really want
to work, but a business always, like

before Covid always figured it out
and they'll continue to figure it out.

Through Legion and our our solutions, we
are actually empowering the employee to do

more with their schedules, to access more.

and hopefully to work more and,
and to really work when they,

when they feel it's best for them.

And I've, I've done a few, um, or I've
written a few things on, you know,

the value of expanding the talent
pool to college students and retirees.

And this, I think, is one
of the best ways to expand.

The, the pool again, for where we
are finding staffing in places where

retailers potentially are not looking.

There's always, you know, this
conversation around like a, needing

a nu a certain number of hours a
day or, you know, certain, certain

nights, weekends, holidays covered
or a minimum number of days.

But if you have someone that can work
two days, and those two days are the

days that you actually need more.

then who it, it serves
your purpose, right?

It's meeting your needs as a business
and you're also ensuring that that

person's happy because they don't
wanna work more than two days.

Kevin Horek: Right.


That the kind of power shifted a bit.


. But I think it's always
gonna kind of change.


And I think Sure.

I don't know.

Like I was at the mall, the big lady
lived by a big mall, but, um, the other

couple weekends ago it was packed.

I've never seen them mall so packed.


. So like, I think obviously retail's
adapted and changed over time.

And as somebody that orders a ton online,
I still go to the store sometimes.


So it's like a weird dynamic.

Do you want to talk about your
experience with kind of the state of

physical stores compared to, you know,
Amazon was gonna crush everybody years

Traci Chernoff: ago?

. Totally.

I think the physical store, the brick
and mortar, the omnichannel approach,

especially where you have like ship to
store or ship from store where you're

bringing this e-commerce approach into
the brick and mortar environment that is.

Everything to me.

I remember being at Target when
they started rolling out ship from

store, and I was obsessed because
that is where the magic happens.

You bring people in, you enable
them to have faster delivery.

It's more environmentally friendly because
you're not getting it from this major

warehouse across the country or the world.

Everything is kind of more localized
and actually deleted Amazon off

of my phone, which was a major.

Major accomplishment because I really
believe in the physical store experience.

When I go to a Target or a Trader Joe's
and I get to connect with the person

stocking the shelves, like that matters
to me because I know how much energy.

goes into that one product, right?

Being on the floor and you know,
there are, listen, there are days

where I'm like, I don't wanna talk to
anyone, and I, it would be better for

me to just place a delivery order.

But you're also still supporting
the hourly employee in that way too.

So I, I have always believed this,
and I said this kind of before that.

When it comes to the retail
industry, people will always say

it's going, it's not stable, it's,
you know, but it is a great career.

Everything, our entire economy is based
on goods and services and consumerism.

So retail's here to say, and I
think the omnichannel will continue

to just see it advance and.


Kevin Horek: I a hundred
percent agree with you.

Uh, I'm curious, uh, outside of giving
employees control of kind of their

schedule, anything else that maybe,
maybe for the hourly worker or the salary

employer, kind of anybody, how, how
does a company actually keep employees?

Because I think every industry's kind
of going through this, like people

are always kind of looking to upgrade
and, and are happy to jump ship.

Like after a few months or a few years,
it doesn't seem to matter anymore.

Like nobody's really
a lifer at any company

Traci Chernoff: anymore.

Yeah, and you know, I kind of think
that's okay because I, I do think, you

know, society changes and history is
cyclical and we're in, in 30 years,

you and I could connect again and
potentially say, who are we kidding?


Everyone's a lifer at their company.

They pensions are back.


Like, so I, I do.

It's, it's all relative to where we are.

If companies offered pensions, I guarantee
you people would be lifers again.

But companies aren't doing that.

They're offering 401K
match most of the time.

But you can, you know, most of the
time you can get that anywhere, right?

So what, what companies need
to do is really get the.

Out of the employees when they're there.

And that's not to take advantage of
productivity or to take advantage of

their knowledge, but to make their
experience the best it possibly can be.

I always say, even to my Legion
colleagues, that we have to

return people into the workforce
better than we found them.

We have to make their experience so great.

It's hard to leave, but also when
they do leave for one reason or

another, because people to your
point, are always moving to shaken.

That they go out into the world and they
say, like what I said about Target and S

M C P, that they were amazing experiences
and that's the best that a company can

do, whether it's a year of 10 year from
someone, or five years or 10 years.

Um, and on top of that, you
know, something that I definitely

wanna mention is that Legion.

Offers earned wage access.

So when we think of an hourly
employee, what retains them?

Continued growth and development.

We already know the predictability
and flexibility, communications,

transparency, right?

Those things that people wanna
feel connected to what they do.

Earned wage access is something that over
the last year especially, we've heard a

ton more about, and Legion has been one
of the pioneers for this, um, technology,

which is that if an hourly employee,
let's say, worked 20 hours this week, and

they have two shifts left for the week
and they've already earned $400, they.

The ability to cash in on a
certain percentage of the wages

that they've already earned.

That is something no.

Interesting that, right, like I am,
I'm really kind of like very passionate

and obsessed, I guess, with this
concept and this functionality because

hourly employees are often working.

Paycheck to paycheck and they, I
mean, I already shared that the

majority of hourly employees have a
second job or a side hustle or doing

something to earn additional income
outside of their, their, their present

or more, you know, consistent job.

So if we can understand that that
is coming from a need for more

pay or pay in the moment, which.

Gig like and and gig economies
offer, then we are now opening up

the door for a ton more retention.

If an employee knows that they can get
paid or have access to their pay that

they've already earned before needing
to wait for their future pay date,

then the likelihood of them wanting
to take on more hours is greater

and the likelihood of them calling.

For a shift that they, they can,
they know what it's going to cost

them is much less so, or much less
likely with earned wage access.

So I think when we think about
retention, we also have to think, okay,

how are we incentivizing a person to
continue to work and how are we making

that experience the best it can be?

Kevin Horek: No, I, I think that's,
that's actually really good advice.

But sadly, we're come
to the end of the show.

So is there any other.

Advice that you would like to give people
that we haven't covered, uh, here today.

Traci Chernoff: I think let's let us
stop pretending that we, you know,

we know the answers and we know
what an employee is challenged with.

Let we have to start asking questions
and really responding to that.

Every company is asking, you
know, what do you want more of?

How is your experience?

And then so often it trails off, right?

And so at Legion, our
biggest focus is to really.

You know, drive our mission to make
hourly employees or hourly jobs.


And to do that, we have to again,
meet employees where they are and

answer and solve for the questions
and the problems that they have.

So the only way for us to turn hourly
jobs into good jobs is to really

understand what we can do differently.

And on top of, To stop dissecting
and separating, you know, an hourly

employee from a salary employee.

At the end of the day,
everyone wants flexibility,

predictability, and stability.

And every business can offer that
regardless of whether someone's working

10 hours a week or 40 hours a week.

Kevin Horek: Oh, I think that's,
that's really good advice.

So how about we close the show with
mentioning where people can get

more information about Legion, both
podcasts, and any other links you wanna.

Traci Chernoff: Absolutely.

So you can connect with Legion or
learn more about legion@legion.co.

That's l e g i O n.co.

You can also feel free to
connect with me on LinkedIn.

I think you would just type in my
name, Tracy Turnoff and you'll find me.

Um, and then beyond that, if you
want to listen to my podcast.

Or learn more about me, you can
go to my website, hr tracy.com and

also feel free to connect with me
directly, like I said on LinkedIn.

And I'm happy to set up a call to
tell you more about Legion even.

Um, I'm not on the sales team, but I'm
really passionate about what we do and how

we are turning hourly jobs into good jobs.

Kevin Horek: Perfect.

Tracy, well, I really appreciate
you taking the time outta your

day to be on the show, and I look
forward to keep in touch with you

and have a good rest of your day.

Traci Chernoff: Likewise.

Thank you so much.

Kevin Horek: Thank you.


Ep. 535 w/ Traci Chernoff Director of Employee Engagement at Legion Technologies
Broadcast by