Caleres puts its best foot forward
The global footwear company uses Dayforce to bring the future of the employee experience to life in a changing world of work.
Have you ever owned the perfect pair of shoes? Shoes that fit just right, make you feel like you’re walking on a cloud, and go with just about any outfit? They’re hard to find, but when you find them, you never want to let go of them. As Cinderella famously said, “One shoe can change your life.”
Caleres is in the business of helping its customers find their perfect pair of shoes. The global footwear company operates in over 1,000 locations globally in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Italy, Asia, and the Dominican Republic. Its brands include Famous Footwear, Allen Edmonds, Vince, Sam Edelman, Zodiac, Life Stride, Blowfish, Naturalizer, Dr Scholl’s, Circus NY, Veronica Beard, Franco Sarto, Vionic, Rykä, and Bzees.
Like many of its peers in the retail sector, Caleres strives to recruit and retain qualified talent in a highly competitive labour market. Changes in employee expectations have raised the stakes for employers when it comes to providing flexibility and self-service options. This has added new pressures to the everyday challenges of payroll management, recruiting, employee engagement, and employee advancement.
Caleres’s legacy HR systems made it difficult to respond to workforce changes and evolving employee expectations. Without a trusted human capital management (HCM) partner and unified solution, the company sometimes struggled to maintain compliance in all jurisdictions where it operates and pursue innovation. Caleres began looking for an integrated system that could meet its complex and evolving needs.
Finding the right fit
Caleres undertook a search for a customizable HCM solution that could support workforce management, provide managed payroll support, help with recruiting and retention, offer on-demand expertise, and support continued innovation. The company had an existing relationship with Ceridian through one of its retail brands, and after extensive research, chose to roll out Ceridian as its single HCM solution across the organization.
Caleres began implementing Dayforce in early 2020 and went live for the first payroll in January 2021. The company is using Dayforce to help manage the life cycle of its approximately 8,000 retail associates. It leverages Dayforce for managed payroll and benefits in the U.S. and Canada, and onboarding, time and attendance, and workforce management globally. Caleres is also in the process of implementing the compensation and performance management capabilities.
Moving to a single source of truth has been a game changer for Caleres and its team. Employees can now access their information when they need it, wherever they are, with just a click of a button – an important benefit to staff with competing demands for their time and attention. Using advanced workforce management, Caleres is enabling associates to trade shifts without having to involve management.
“I think employees expect to be able to get the information they want and need when they need it, and this platform allows that to happen. If you can order pizza or watch a show with a couple clicks, you should be able to access work details the same way,” says Steve Mauricio, Director of HRIS for Caleres.
Dayforce allows real-time workforce insights at the click of a button, helping Caleres’ management team maximize employee potential and ensure the company is supporting its culture and values through its people. Dayforce dashboards help give the company a snapshot of its workforce to plan appropriate staffing models and ensure hiring practices are inclusive and reflective of its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) priorities.
“With our previous systems, we could build DEI dashboards, but it was time consuming. By the time we were able to see the data, it had already changed. With Dayforce, we have much quicker access to our payroll data allowing agile decisions to be made with timely information,” says Mauricio.
Having greater visibility into its workforce is also helping Caleres identify opportunities for staff upskilling and advancement.
“It is becoming more apparent – especially with the pandemic – that work-life balance expectation has changed, priorities have changed and there's less patience for not feeling fulfilled at work,” says Mauricio. “Dayforce gives our employees more opportunities by identifying what their strengths are, what they want to do to direct their career path, which in turn helps Caleres grow its teams from within and reduce turnover.”
Tightening the laces on compliance
As a multi-jurisdictional company with stores in every U.S. state and Canadian province, Caleres’s payroll is quite complex. Managed Payroll through Dayforce helps the company accurately process payroll for thousands of employees on time. With payroll running smoothly, Caleres’s HR and Finance teams can shift their focus to compliance management and strategic initiatives.
Managed Payroll also helps Caleres proactively monitor changes and stay on top of shifting compliance requirements like new minimum wage standards and new entitlement rules.
Now, Caleres’s legal team monitors for legal changes, but can count on additional compliance and technical support from the Ceridian team. “I'd give Ceridian a great rating for helping customers manage through compliance. There are new laws that are coming up and new entitlement requirements on an ongoing basis. The Ceridian team doesn’t just help support us while working through changing requirements, they help us work through the testing as well,” adds Mauricio.
Stepping up to Dayforce Wallet
With compliance support taken care of, Caleres’s HR team can focus on building the future of employee experience. Seeing its workforce’s expectations for on-demand services growing, Mauricio and his team began to investigate offering Dayforce Wallet as an additional benefit for employees.
Dayforce Wallet is a flexible pay solution that gives employees earned wage access on-demand. The solution continuously calculates net pay, including remittances, so employees who use it can receive a payout of net earnings. Employers, meanwhile, can maintain their existing payroll and payroll funding schedule. The solution is entirely needs-based: If employees need to access funds before payday, they can use Dayforce Wallet instead of relying on high-interest credit cards or payday loans. The rest of the time, their process for getting paid stays the same.
Caleres recognized that its employees face increasing financial pressures in a changing economic climate and wanted to do everything it could to provide support. But the company had questions.
“When we first heard about Wallet a couple years ago, it was intriguing and we wanted to understand more,” remembers Mauricio. “It took us some time to realize this is a very nice benefit to our employees – it made sense for our associates to be able to access their cash when they need it to meet their needs.”
Caleres went live with Dayforce Wallet in 2022 with a small pilot group, then expanded to all associates in the U.S. and Canada. In its first year, the company’s adoption rate hit 28%. It is now aiming to reach 40%.
Mauricio says Dayforce Wallet brings a variety of benefits to Caleres’s workforce. In addition to having earned wage access, associates who don't have a current bank account can load their earnings onto their Dayforce Prepaid Mastercard® instead of using expensive check-cashing services. Some associates are also able to access cash back rewards at participating restaurants near store locations. When Hurricane Ian ravaged the Florida coast in fall 2022, Caleres worked with the Ceridian team to make the emergency closure pay code available in Dayforce Wallet. When the company was forced to close some of its locations, it was still able to give its associates access to their earnings from this closure without having to wait for payday.
For Caleres, the biggest upside of Dayforce Wallet has been employee satisfaction that comes with offering a benefit that was quickly adopted by a large segment of the workforce. “On-demand pay is the future of payroll. Giving associates access to the money they’ve earned when they need it is really important. It's going to be the expectation going forward. It's been a great benefit for our team, and it's been embraced by our company.”
An inseparable pair
As Caleres continues to pursue success, the world of work continues to change. Mauricio says the partnership with Ceridian not only gives Caleres the confidence it needs to keep moving forward, but it also provides the push to innovate.
“One of the great benefits of working with Ceridian is that the company is so focused on innovation. Whenever we have a problem, we reach out to our success manager, and they give us insight into what other customers are doing and share some of the best practices,” says Mauricio. “We appreciate that they are always looking for what's next in the world and what's going to change the way that we work. It's great having a partner like Ceridian to work with as we make valuable changes for our employees and company.”
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