Running a retail store means providing the best customer service, lowering the turnover rate, keeping employees engaged, running inventory, and more. But let’s not forget that pesky employee schedule, complete with employee time off requests, timetables, and availability calendars.
The problem most retail managers face when creating an employee schedule is all the variations that come into play – store size, average sales volume, and the number of employees. All of this affects the store’s payroll budget and the hours needed to cover. The retail manager has to create a schedule that satisfies all employees while meeting the needs of the store. A retail scheduling app can simplify this process, but more on that later.
Before we fully dive in, here are five trends that retail managers need to be aware of to fully prepare their team and to create a schedule that reflects the needs of their customers. Right now, customers want more and more from retailers, and most brands taking on new technology to attempt to create a great experience across the board.
Importance Of An Effective Employee Schedule
Structure and procedure for all processes:
Create order and flow to your retail store with an employee schedule. This way, all employees know when they’re supposed to work, which allows them to focus on their job. With proper scheduling, you now know all important tasks are covered at appropriate times.
When the shifts are published, employees immediately have access and easily answer: What should I do if I can’t do the shift this week? What should I do if on same day of the shift, I got sick? What should I do if I want more shifts?
Everything should be clear to avoid confusion!
Top employees are on the clock:
You already know who your best employees are so be sure to use that to your advantage! Make sure that your top employees are working the shifts that are best suited to them, for example efficient employees should work during rush hour while chatty employees are better fit for when customers tend to linger more.
In addition, experienced employees improve the quality of the shift as they are prepared to handle any situation. And if you have new hires, teaming them up with an experienced, top employee will effortlessly show them how it’s done.
Make sure you create the employee schedule in advance, at least two weeks. This ensures that employees will have adequate time to schedule their personal life around their job. And if something comes up that prevents from being able to fulfill their shift, they still have time to find someone to cover their shift or can even swap shifts with co-workers to accommodate their needs. When your employees have a healthy balance between their work life and their personal life, they are much happier.
Avoid taking on more an employee can handle:
Your employees have the ability to manage themselves, they can find a co-worker to replace them on a shift and can send the manager an update on the shift change. This saves you and the employee the time and hassle of calling YOU for every little thing.
Now that you understand just how important an effective employee schedule is, you need to know to apply that in your day-to-day operations.
How To Schedule Retail Staff
1. Consistency is key.
Scholars found in a study that, “Three-quarters of employees at large retail service firms get less than two-weeks’ notice of assigned hours that vary daily and weekly.” Now, this is often the case with most retail stores and with so much instability in an employee’s schedule, you’ll only experience higher employee dissatisfaction, low productivity, and higher turnover.
So what’s the solution to this issue when pondering how to schedule retail staff? One, be sure to create the schedule in advance, two weeks or more if possible. This will make it easier for employees to map out their personal life from family vacations to family dinners. Two, don’t just make assume or guess when you’ll experience more foot traffic. Instead, refer to the predictive capabilities of your POS in order to forecast sales and customer as this is based on past transactions. And finally, Once you develop a workable shift calendar, stick to it, giving employees plenty of notice if you plan to change what an average shift looks like. Once you create a workable shift calendar that works for everyone, be sure to stick to it and give employees plenty of notice if any changes are necessary.
2. Avoid on-call scheduling.
There are situations when customer demand is unpredictable and that’s why some retail stores have their employees “on-call”. Basically, employees call in before their shift starts so they can find out if they need to come in or not. So if business is low, the employee may be asked not to come in.
However, this is becoming a hassle for employees as it is hard to plan their personal life around this on-call practice. Some of the larger retail chains have begun to put a stop to this practice, Aeropostale, Carter’s, Disney, and PacSun to name a few.
It’s best to avoid this all-together by creating your schedule in advance. Plus, you should make your scheduling decisions based on various input, such as shift needs, shift data, and employee preference.
Avoid shift change and vacation requests by using a retail schedule app so that employees can communicate with one another. Communication between retail workers is crucial because it is sometimes an industry where employees don’t really know one another but they depend on one another to get the job done.
With the right retail schedule app, employees can see who is available and can reach out via the app to see if that employee can cover their shift. Also, use the retail schedule app as a tool to boost engagement by sharing birthday wishes, the employee of the month, positive customer reviews and so. Allow for employees to join in with comments and likes so they can build comradery.
4. Be transparent.
With a retail schedule app, transparency is far easier to achieve! Say goodbye to bulletin boards displaying the employee schedule and wondering if everyone saw changes made. If the retail schedule app can send automated push notifications to all relevant employees then that’s an added bonus.
Now you understand how to schedule retail staff, but which is the best retail schedule app to help you achieve this and more? See below…hint, hint.
Why Connecteam’s Retail Scheduling App is the Best Choice for your Retail Store:
As a big retail company, Connecteam’s solution is ideal for us. The app and its management system help us to be in constant contact with all the employees of the company, which are located across the country. – Barak Alfital, FOX Group
Easy to use: Connecteam’s retail schedule app is user-friendly and requires no training so even if your employees aren’t tech savvy, it’s not an issue. Just have everyone download the app, enter the company code and GO. That’s how simple it is to run your retail store on auto-pilot.
Communication tools: Whether it’s a one-on-one chat or a group message, Connecteam makes it easy to keep everyone on the same page and to reach any employee at any time, from any location. On top of that, you can send instant updates, social posts to boost engagement, surveys for internal feedback, an in-app employee directory, a suggestion box and more. Through the dashboard, managers can immediately see who received, read or complied with actions performed on the app.
Reporting ease with digital checklists & forms: In the click of a button, employees can fill in and access all checklists and forms. From on-boarding forms, vacation requests, retail store opening and closing checklist, and more. All your papers and binders are now available on the employee’s phone so you can be sure compliance is almost at 100%. Employees can add signatures, photos, GPS location, can scan documents and more. Start from scratch or choose a template to get started.
All in one: All the things that your employees need to do their job is now in one place. You don’t need to integrate multiple solutions, instead you have all the tools that you need in order to effectively and efficiently manage your employees with our retail scheduling app.
Price: Think Connecteam sounds expensive? Nope! Connecteam is easily the most affordable retail scheduling app. Pricing starts at just $29 a month for up to 200 users. This means you don’t have to pay per user so you’re saving a lot of dough in the long run. Or you can start with the free plan and watch the results pour in from the second you sign up.
Retail shift scheduling made easy
Connecteam’s retail employee scheduling software is a brilliant solution to schedule employee shifts. With an intuitive and easy to use interface, you’ll be able to create highly customized schedules for multiple employees and manage it all from one place.