Best Practices for Scheduling Retail Staff

Scheduling retail staff is much more difficult than it might seem on the surface due mostly to the fluid nature of the retail industry.

As employees request an off day at the last minute or swap shifts with one another, it can be difficult to keep track of who can and can't work. That's not even to mention other issues such as managing overtime.

Problems like these contribute to a number of major issues in the retail industry, including high employee turnover, high labor expenses, and more.

Fortunately, though, these problems are avoidable for managers and business owners that take the time to learn the best practices for creating retail schedules.

That being said, let's take a look at how you can improve your retail scheduling practices to avoid the pitfalls that come with disorganized, manual scheduling procedures.

Scheduling Retail Staff- Best Practices

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Whether it be trying to manage overtime, dealing with shift-swapping employees, or trying to keep costs low, managers face a variety of challenges when creating retail schedules.

However, in spite of these challenges, it's important to be able to create fair, consistent schedules as this help maintain employee satisfaction, reduce turnover, and lower overall labor costs.

To help avoid these obstacles, make sure to keep these best practices in mind when creating your next retail schedule.

How to Handle Overtime

Unavoidable schedule changes are an unfortunate reality of the retail industry.

Whether an employee is sick, has an emergency, or even quits without notice, this can present a number of challenges. One of these challenges is managing overtime.

What do you do when one of your employees doesn't show up but the only available replacements are already nearing 40 hours for the week?

In a situation like this, you're often stuck with two options- raising labor costs by paying your employees for overtime or struggling through an entire shift shorthanded.

By using an automated retail scheduling platform, you can avoid this dilemma by always knowing who is available to work without reaching overtime. Scheduling software tracks hours in real-time so that you can quickly and easily find suitable replacements when needed.

What About Shift Swapping?

Shift swapping is an incredibly common practice in the retail industry. To be clear, shift swapping is simply when two employees decide to switch shifts to accommodate their personal schedules.

Of course, this can present some challenges for the person making the schedule. Once again, you're stuck trying to find someone who isn't currently scheduled, isn't approaching overtime, and is qualified to fill the position not always the easiest task in the world.

Automated retail scheduling software solves this issue by providing a platform that employees can use to handle shift swaps on their own.

Instead of adding something else to the manager's plate, employees can access the scheduling platform, see who is available to work without going into overtime, seek approval, and complete the shift swap without needing any extra help.

Scheduling software can even be set up to send notifications out to employees who may want to fill the shift and can send another notification once the shift has been covered.

Keep Costs Low

We already discussed how well-planned retail schedules can cut costs by managing overtime more effectively, but that isn't the only way smart scheduling can save retailers money.

First, it's important to consider the cost savings that come with improved productivity. Scheduling software allows managers to spend less time creating schedules and more time tending to more productive tasks.

Automated retail scheduling software can also help identify times of day during which hours may be cut to lower labor costs without overburdening employees.

By using scheduling software and keeping these best practices in mind, you can create more efficient retail schedules and easily adapt to last-minute changes.

How Automation Can Help

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Many retailers still use outdated manual methods, like spreadsheets, to create retail schedules; however, manual scheduling has many pitfalls that can be avoided via automation.

Let's take a look at how the advantages of automation combat the issues presented by manual scheduling.

Advantages of Automated Scheduling Software
Automated scheduling software makes creating balanced, flexible, and consistent retail schedules much easier.

Advantages of automated scheduling software include-

  • Track Hours- By tracking employee hours in real-time, you can always know who is approaching overtime, who is available to cover shifts and more.
  • Decrease Employee Turnover- By being able to adapt to your employees' needs on a fluid basis and create consistent schedules, you can improve productivity, employee morale, and reduce employee turnover.
  • Comply With Laws & Regulations- Modern scheduling software accounts for employment laws and regulations so that retailers are legally protected.
  • Save Time- Automated scheduling software can save hours every week by making it easy to adapt to schedule changes on an ongoing basis.
Ultimately, automated scheduling software can help create a more satisfied and productive workforce while simultaneously cutting costs and improving productivity.

Final Thoughts

Making and changing retail schedules every week isn't easy at least, not when you're doing it on your own.

However, by learning scheduling best practices and using automated retail scheduling software, you can save time, adapt to last-minute changes, and cut costs.