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Retail Scheduling for Staff and Employers
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Talent Acquisition

Retail Scheduling for Staff and Employers

Does this sound familiar? John emails a request asking to be off Friday; Elizabeth calls requesting Saturday night off, but can work Friday, which she previously had asked off. Then there’s Tom, who didn’t show up last night for his shift, but he texted to say he’s coming back from the beach to make his shift.

Confused yet? We thought so. That’s why we’re sharing these tips to help you unravel the process of retail scheduling so it’s easier on you and your employees.

If you’re scheduling retail staff with an Excel spreadsheet, you’re very experienced with how quickly changes happen.

It is possible to have effective, hassle-free retail employee scheduling. The key is to follow these best practices and leverage the right tools and software to make your retail scheduling run like clockwork.

Labor Costs: Manage Overtime Automatically

Retail employee scheduling changes can wreak havoc in your overtime budget. Using paper and spreadsheets to track hours makes it challenging to make quick adjustments when there are last-minute changes.

For example, if Jonathan calls in sick, you’ll need a replacement. After a series of phone calls and messages, you find Emma to fill in. But, Emma has already worked nearly 40 hours this week, so there is a chance that she would need to be paid overtime.

When managing a large roster of retail employees, it’s impossible to manually track hours and monitor for overtime issues. You need a tool to automate the process.

A workforce scheduling software can notify your team which employees are available and not at risk for overtime, when you have last-minute scheduling pivots. The right time tracking tool can also tell hiring managers which employees are qualified to fill vacancies –helping managers fill an open position quicker. Which leads to better scheduling decisions, filling shifts with the most experienced staff and maintaining the payroll budget.

Make Shift Swapping Standard

Life happens and daily schedules change on a dime. It’s a guarantee that your retail staff will need to swap shifts several times within a month. Swapping shifts among retail employees is a major headache for managers. Availability, capability and experience all have to be taken into consideration for an employee to cover an open shift.

Again, using a manual process to manage schedule changes is totally unrealistic in today’s fast-paced culture. If your managers rely on spreadsheets to plot out schedules and schedule swaps, things will fall through the cracks. Not only could this lead to understaffed shifts (and irritated cu, but it will also cause anxiety for both the employer and the employee.

The best way to make schedule modifications fluid is to build it into your process.

From the outset, assume that schedule swaps are a staple part of retail scheduling, and equip yourself with a tool to support it.

From the outset, assume that schedule swaps are a staple part of retail scheduling, and equip yourself with a tool to support it.

Seamless Retail Shift Management Starts During Training

When training new hires, show them the standard scheduling practices like how to set their availability, how to access and print their schedule, and how to request days off.

But what many employers leave out is how to effectively handle shift swapping. Emphasize from the start that shift swaps are an acceptable, predicted part of retail scheduling. Help employees to feel comfortable and confident in shift swapping. Walk them through the process and best practices.

This proactive approach will help employees feel that their job is flexible, which will boost morale and impact positive loyalty. Furthermore, this will improve the flow of schedule swapping when it does happen, so that employers have to do less heavy lifting to make schedule modifications occur.

To make this seamless shift swapping happen, of course, you will need a tool. But in today’s tech-driven world, there are hundreds of solutions that empower employees and employers to make shift changes almost effortless.

Embrace Self Service Scheduling

The digital revolution has put the concept of self service front and center. When you’re shopping at Target, the ability to scan your items and pay for them yourself is a welcome change for most people. Being able to accomplish necessary tasks all on your own is just plain convenient and this self serve theme also applies to retail scheduling.

In the pre-digital era, retail employees were at the mercy of their managers, submitting their availability and a week later receiving their schedule, seemingly set in stone. Today, the process of retail scheduling is much more collaborative thanks to scheduling software.

Scheduling software now allows employees to input their availability Retail scheduling software has employee self-service functionality, which allows employees to handle shift swaps on their own. This dramatically frees up the scheduler’s time by removing a step in the process, allowing employees to find out quickly whether their shift can be covered.

An automated scheduling system helps you make sure the open shift is only made available to those qualified to work it. When a shift opens up, an email notification is sent to those on your team who are qualified and currently available to take it. Then, when someone accepts the shift, another message is distributed to let everyone it has been filled.

Refresh Your Retail Scheduling and Results Will Follow

Avoiding overtime with a HR software solution will, in addition to saving money on payroll, boost productivity. Schedulers are spending less time updating the schedule.

Scheduling software helps you plan for the week regarding what staff will be working and it forecasts the cost of their hourly wage totals. The software will compare the budgeted time and cost to the actuals.

Keeping an eye on the fluctuations in time and wages can help determine overtime risk and who is best qualified to fill any vacant positions. Because retail scheduling is typically in a state of flux, this capability helps to anticipate staffing issues.

An automated time and attendance and advance-scheduling solution can make it simple to adapt to shift changes. This takes the complication out of understanding how those changes affect your week’s schedule and bottom line – who is working when and the hourly wage costs.

This understanding allows for proactive business decisions about scheduling, which can drastically reduce overtime, improve your human resources strategy and make the employee scheduling process easier to manage.

Ready to take the next step?

If you’re looking to streamline your retail employee scheduling and time tracking, find out how our industry leading platform flexibly manages constantly changing schedules.