Running a retail business can be tricky, especially when dealing with things like staffing, providing the best customer service, running inventory, and much more.
However, one of these factors may even be more delicate: employee scheduling. Absence requests, timetables, and availability calendars all have to be considered when trying to organize shifts.
Nowadays, scheduling software exists and helps simplify these processes, and in the following, we will have an in-depth look at how retail scheduling works and the problems most retail managers face.
Employees are able to choose the shift according to their needs and what works best for their schedules, increasing their freedom in both time and finances.
This allows an increase in functionality since being able to take control over your work schedule to a certain degree will enable you to plan social commitments, childcare, a second job, and even pre-plan a time out or a "mental health day."
On top of that, it offers flexibility for part-time employees. Since if you need to request time off for an appointment, you can make up the time by swapping shifts or changing them, thus cutting costs and time for the employer.
Furthermore, shift work enhances effectiveness because business owners know which workers are best suited for different times and situations.
First off, new hires are often confronted with the abnormal routine shift work requires. This may prove challenging to schedule time with family and friends who aren't working the same hours.
The work-life balance can also be impeded by health issues, such as insomnia and high blood pressure, that arise when trying to establish habits that are required for alternate shift work.
Additionally, when shift scheduling, many organizations will often assign the best shifts based on seniority, resulting in shift inequality.
Finally, shift work can become very repetitive and boring since most employees tend to work on their own without access to outside resources.
Shift work is a practice designed for businesses' to use all 24 hours of each day of the week to maximize profits by allocating hours for employees in a particular time period.
This can be a day or night shift, and the standard time assigned is 9 hours.
However, each industry and business require different types of work shifts, which we'll take a closer look at now.
Employees who work the first or day shift work during the daytime and have evenings and nights off.
They typically work during regular business hours, starting at around 7:00 a.m. and leaving around 5:00 p.m.
Second shift hours may overlap with both first and third shifts, and they have mornings and nights off from work.
These positions can vary, but they typically end before midnight. Common hours include 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Employees working the third shift start at night and leave in the morning.
An employee working the third shift might start work around midnight and work until seven or eight in the morning.
Examples For People Who Work In A 3-Shift Model:
A fixed shift schedule means that a crew always works the same shift throughout the week. With 8-hour shifts, one set of employees does the day shift while another does the night shift.
Rotational shiftwork implies that an employee works irregular hours throughout the week. One day he may be doing first shift, another day second shift.
This allows employees to switch up their work hours and not work the same shift every day.
Under a split shift schedule, employees work two shorter shifts during the day, taking a significant break in between.
For example, a waitress might work four hours in the morning and later on in the afternoon.
On-call shifts mean that an employee must be available to work whenever you need them. They are popular in emergency rooms and among IT technicians.
These are several examples of the current shift models used all over the world by various businesses and industries.
Ensuring that your company has coverage around the clock becomes a lot easier with a shift planner.
With that said, creating a dedicated schedule that clearly outlines which employee does what at a given time depends on several aspects:
Obviously, you can only take into account the employees you've got. However, watch out for a too limited workforce because this results in limitations scheduling-wise.
Once again, people can fall sick, thus plan enough employees to fill in for last-minute changes.
Additionally, during peak times in customer demand, support your workforce with extra help.
When organizing your shift planner, the different types of shifts your employees work result in additional costs.
Especially employees who work for a less desirable shift, i.e., second and third shift, are often compensated with shift differentials.
Know your business. This means that labor forecasting is a must when scheduling your retail workforce.
The goal is to have just enough employees, proportional to customer demand. Often businesses overstaff and allow employees to accrue too much overtime, leaving them to end up paying.
It also depends on your priorities, such as satisfying customers or keeping labor costs low.
Knowing the exact number of positions and roles within your organization, the skills and qualifications required for each part, and the resulting costs, are essential when scheduling shifts.
Especially in retail, creating a functioning work schedule is tricky.
For example, it's very rare for retail employees to stay long-time because inexperienced workers such as students often take up these part-time jobs as a side hustle.
Also, short shifts are the norm, which may lead to less employee loyalty and poor retention.
Furthermore, the constant influx of new employees requires a lot of time-intensive onboarding and training.
Seasonal fluctuations refer to more demand at a particular season and substantially lower demand in a different season and are a common occurrence in retail.
For instance, during the winter holiday season, people tend to buy a lot of presents, which are not in demand during summer.
These fluctuations make it challenging for retail managers to adjust new hires and keep a clear overview of staffing needs.
If not addressed, this results in lost profit, chaos at the workplace, and poor employee morale.
Generally, several reports reveal that employees work around 30 hours a week in the retail industry, while approximately 30% of these track overtime.
Depending on the position of the employee, the hours should look as follows:
Employee scheduling software is new on the market and a massive advantage for any business.
It's designed to simplify the scheduling process by managing appointments, creating planners, and finding a fitting employee for each task.
Accordingly, employees can access their scheduling apps with their mobile devices, set their own availability preferences, request absences, swap shifts, and much more.
Notifications permit a real-time overview of upcoming changes, allowing workers to plan in advance.
The bottom line is, integrating a mobile app with shift planners like these help drastically decrease the amount of time spent on tedious procedures and permit businesses to focus on the more important matters at hand.
Flair's shift planner is the ideal tool and designed to save you hours upon hours. Especially, when it comes to creating scheduling templates and making them visible for every employee. Improved flexibility and time-effective planning is guaranteed!
With the instability of the retail industry, effective scheduling does not come easily.
If you do it poorly, you lose revenue, have dissatisfied employees, and have bad customer service. Done well, it'll reduce turnover, maximize profits and boost employee morale.
Here are some of the best five practices that'll help you cleverly meet scheduling needs.
Excel spreadsheets have long become obsolete and are not the perfect method for effective scheduling.
Predefined templates will significantly reduce the amount of time managers spend on creating schedules for employees.
Consistency is vital when scheduling shifts. So be sure to create schedules at least two weeks in advance.
This will allow employees to balance their personal lives while still planning for work. Also, forecast peak times and adjust schedule changes in advance, instead of leaving them to instinct.
Finally, after creating an achievable shift calendar, stick to it and notify employees ahead of time if changes should arise.
A part-time workforce is prone to volatility, which is why it's essential to allow shift swapping.
Rather than losing precious time during last-minute changes, trying to find an available employee, permit co-workers to indicate for themselves when they'd like to swap, i.e., with the help of automated shift planners.
Customer demand is unpredictable, especially in retail, which is why some industries utilize on-call scheduling. As we discussed earlier, it requires the employee to be available at any time during their shift, often leaving workers stressed out.
Retail workers have repeatedly been complaining that this tiring practice makes it hard for them to plan their personal life, which is why several retailers, including Urban Outfitters or Victoria's Secret, have stopped this practice entirely.
Again it's important to emphasize that a clear, streamlined process for communicating shift schedules to your employees is necessary.
With the right scheduling tools, employees can see who is available at what time and be notified about shift changes.
A nice bonus would be to boost employee morale by giving out positive feedback or allowing employees to join in with comments and likes to build a healthy company culture.