Running a retail store means providing the best customer service, lowering the employee turnover rate, keeping employees engaged, running inventory, staying ahead of the competition, and more. So much more. But, let’s not forget that pesky employee schedule, complete with employee time off requests, timetables, and availability calendars.
Creating a schedule for retail workers is a beast of its own.
The problem most retail managers face when creating an employee schedule is all the variations that come into play:
- store size
- average sales volume
- the number of employees available
- peak sales periods
- managing full-time and part-time employees
- sticking to a budget
- creating shifts around your top workers
- handling changes, time off, overtime, etc.
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.
Importance Of An Effective Employee Schedule
We cannot stress enough the importance of an effective schedule, especially one that meets the store’s needs and the needs of the employee. Below, we highlight some of the most important factors that an effective schedule brings to the table.
1. Structure and Procedure In Place
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.
Consider all scenarios and have a procedure in place when shifts are published so employees can easily answer: What should I do if I can’t work the shift I was assigned? What should I do if I want more shifts? What if I want to swap shifts? I am near overtime, what do I do? What if I get sick when I’m scheduled to work?
Everything should be clear for the employee to avoid confusion!
If you’re looking into learning more about how to create a schedule from start to finish, we created a blog that dives into every aspect of a perfect work schedule, read all about it here to get started.
2. Best Employees Are Evenly Scheduled
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.
3. Establish Work-Life Balance
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 them 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.
Or maybe you offer more of a flexible schedule if it suits your retail business so that maintaining a work-life balance that still delivers on profit and customer satisfaction is possible.
4. Avoid Taking On More a Single 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 Critical
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. Do we really need to point out how inefficient that is? Didn’t think so!
Now, what’s the solution to this issue when looking at 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. A predictive schedule is becoming law in many states, read more about that here to learn if it applies to your and your retail store.
- 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 customers 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.
Consistency is critical when writing up a retail work schedule.
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 altogether 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.
Connecteam Retail Scheduling App is the Best Digital Choice
The Connecteam retail scheduling app is designed to help your retail business – and YOU – save hours upon hours. Especially when it comes to creating retail schedules, organizing information for all planned shifts, reduces labor costs, and provides with the confidence that your retail crew showed up on time.
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
It’s so easy to create a schedule in minutes with templates that allow you to copy daily, weekly, or monthly templates. Or use the drag and drop option, set single or team shifts, create repeating shifts, or allow for open shifts for anyone to grab.
- add all necessary information to a shift for better efficiency like tasks to perform, notes, attachments, etc.
- automatically notify retail team members when new shifts are available, about any schedule changes, and send a notification automatically before their shift starts so they show up on time
- employees must approve the shift in advance for better accountability
- make it easy for your team to view their schedules from their own mobile phone, set their own availability preferences, request time off, and pick up open shifts – all of which you can manage while on the go with admin capabilities on your mobile phone as well
- stay informed on where things stand with the planning table so you can see immediately when employees are unavailable and if you’re close to exceeding predefined daily or weekly limitations
Easily Schedule Retail Staff Going Forward
We have said it before, and we’ll say it again! An employee schedule that is fair, done in advance, and accommodates for last-minute changes is key in managing a successful retail business. Besides, a schedule that keeps employees happy, keeps customers happy which in turn keeps the store’s profits happy.
Retail Scheduling Made Easy
Save time and effort creating and distributing schedules with the Connecteam retail scheduling app!