An important and often time-consuming task of retail managers is scheduling their employees efficiently. Creating a work schedule that meets all the demands of the store and the needs of the workers is extremely challenging.
Here are seven ways to improve the retail management shift process:
Number 1: Make Shift Management Easier With a Labor Budget
Most chain store retailers are provided with a labor budget. This is typically handed down by the corporate office or by the district or regional manager. The payroll dollar amount the store has varies from one week to the next. This is to accommodate “busy” and “slow” periods. Retail scheduling managers have no control over what this labor budget is.
As a result, many scheduling managers find it difficult to staff the store accordingly and still maintain the payroll budget. One way to help this is by using an employee planner tool. This allows the manager to see employees and their pay rate. As a result, they can easily determine who needs to work and when to maintain the payroll budget.
Number 2: Handle Personal Issues for Employees
Even if the retail manager has determined what the store needs and how much staffing is necessary, they may notice other issues that come up. These are human factors that can affect the scheduling.
Personal issues among retail employees are standard. Some of the most common problems including child care issues, illnesses, reliable transportation, etc. As new staff is brought on board, the responsibility and ability of each worker are reconsidered. This can make the scheduling process more complicated.
In a perfect retail world, the shift management team would have flexible workers who don’t need constant supervision. They would also have unlimited money and plenty of hours in the day to handle every task. However, this is not the case. As a result, the entire scheduling process is often frustrating and extremely time-consuming.
Number 3: Avoid Scheduling Abuse
Due to the constraints on the individuals who are responsible for making the schedules, they are often guilty of scheduling abuse. In some cases this is intentional. In other situations, the scheduling managers have no way around it. However, scheduling abuse can lead to seriously disgruntled employees. Some examples of this include:
- Canceling shifts for employees at the last minute
- Making the schedule only hours or days ahead of time
- Updating the schedule only hours or days in advance
- Making employees work past the time they were originally scheduled to
In most cases, scheduling abuse occurs due to the strict payroll budget that managers have to abide by. This tight budget is usually at battle with whether or not you have enough people on the floor. Unfortunately, as a whole, the retail industry has a turnover rate of almost 70 percent. This is directly related to scheduling abuse.
Number 4: Implement Standards for Time Off Requests
A pain point for many retailers is working around employee’s requested time off. Reduce this by creating standards for requesting time. This can include having the request in by a certain date and time and not being able to request more than two to three days off a month. While there are always special circumstances, having general rules in place can reduce scheduling conflict.
Number 5: Ask for Employee Input
You can’t make everyone happy, but you need to make employee input a priority when making a schedule. Don’t treat it as a dictatorship. When employees feel like they don’t have any say, they are going to get resentful. Some tips to help include:
- Give priority days off to those with legitimate issues working specific hours
- Find out new employee’s availability immediately
- Let your employees see that their needs matter
When you work with employees, they are more willing to work with you when you are in a scheduling bind.
Number 6: Keep Worker’s Roles and Skills in Mind
Not all employees have the same role in a retail business. If one is great at chatting with customers, they need to work in this area. Other, more detail oriented employees can work on inventory jobs. Find employees that fit the job. This results in more employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction.
Number 7: Learn How to Improve the Retail Scheduling Process
An easy way to improve the retail scheduling process is by introducing scheduling software. There are several reasons that employee planner tools and other features make this process better.
- It makes scheduling easier for the workers
- You can produce schedules that are more accurate
- You can minimize the potential for scheduling abuse
The Bottom Line
Scheduling problems are a factor for any business, especially when dealing with shift management. However, with the right tools and methods in place, this doesn’t have to remain an issue. Take some time to think about implementing scheduling software and tools. This can help ensure all negative issues are eliminated.