5 Employee Scheduling Tips for Retail Businesses

5 employee scheduling tips for retail businessesRetail businesses face their own challenges when it comes to scheduling. Between juggling worker needs with business needs, managers can easily cater to one over the other, creating tension in the workplace. To create a balanced and fair schedule, use these four tips to ensure better staffing at your retail business. 

Be Respectful

A little respect can go a long way in retail. Working with employees to formulate a schedule is essential for keeping morale high and employees' engaged. Sit down with each employee to discuss what their preferred schedule is and try to maintain a stable schedule when possible. While managers may not always be able to meet employee schedule requests, making the effort can make a huge difference for the employee. 

Track Productivity

There are few things more annoying than spending an extra half-hour on the clock or being let go early. Retail employees often aren't working 9 to 5 but they do expect some stability in their job hours. To provide this, managers need to schedule not only based on their employees' availability but also on their foot traffic and productivity. Use your workforce management system to find out when the business sees the biggest spikes in customer traffic and employee need. Create a schedule that places the most employees during those peak times and switch shifts during slow times. 

Keep PRN Employees

Healthcare systems regularly post PRN positions, or situational employees. These employees are hired with the understanding that they are on-call, as-needed employees with no set schedule. Mothers or retirees often prefer these schedules because they can accept or decline shifts as needed and full-time employees like the extra help, understanding that they need to claim PRN employee hours in advance. Take a page from the healthcare system and start your own PRN pool. Hire employees who are your back-up workforce when full-time employees are out due to sickness or vacation time. 

Ensure Competency 

Retail is a career built for those jack-of-all-trades. Employees need to be able to stock shelves, help customers, process returns, and cash out customers. When employees become pigeon holed into a single role, the entire business suffers. Keeping employees competent by ensuring each worker is scheduled for every department is crucial. Don't stop at scheduling which employees come to work, ensure that every employee is rotating through their job duties and staying competent in the process. 

Minimize Overtime

Scheduling overtime is like throwing money away. You end up with tired, frazzled employees, a destroyed personnel budget, and discontent among everyone. The number one priority of any retail manager is scheduling the right people at the right time with the right schedule which doesn't include overtime. Take a look at your last year of scheduling and find out where your workforce slipped into overtime. Was it during the holiday season? An unexpected absence? Or just a couple of hours every pay period? Once you understand where overtime is coming from, you can start addressing the underlying causes. If staffing is an issue during peak times, it may be time to enhance your PRN or seasonal worker pool. If a few employees are consistently staying late, find out why that's occurring and rearrange shifts to minimize that need. 

While retail scheduling can be a headache, it doesn't need to hold your business back. Using these tips can help managers address employee concerns, decrease unnecessary overtime, and create a workforce capable of adjusting to time off. Next time you sit down to review your timekeeping software, use these five tips to streamline your scheduling process.