At retail companies still using outdated scheduling processes, managers know the pain of perfecting employee schedules all too well. To devise an optimal workforce schedule, managers must accommodate shift preferences, employee availability and in-store demand. However, it’s near impossible to meet everyone’s needs and preferences when using outdated, manual methods.
Though traditional scheduling practices (i.e., spreadsheets, paper schedules and heavy human resource management platforms) have worked in the past, these methods can’t keep up with today’s fast-paced, omnichannel retail environment. To eradicate the consequences of outdated processes, it’s time retailers step up their scheduling game. By taking a technology-driven approach, retail managers can reap benefits such as the following:
- Improved employee retention: As a result of using such outdated scheduling processes, many retailers don’t get around to making or communicating schedules to employees until days in advance. And when employees don’t receive their schedules far enough in advance, they’re left scrambling to swap shifts or, even worse, don’t show up. This continuous cycle causes routine stress among employees, making them more likely to quit and find a more consistent, predictable job. This creates unneeded costs and headaches for retailers. According to the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, replacing a single worker can cost up to $4,000. By prioritizing employee availability from the get-go, retail managers will not only be able to retain top talent, but also save big.
- Reduced no-shows and understaffing: Though it’s commonly thought that employees are impacted the most when managers use manual scheduling processes, retail managers suffer from these outdated policies as well. When managers aren’t sensitive to their workers’ availability, they often wind up understaffed. This absenteeism results in higher overtime expenses, lower company morale and underserved customers. To combat these issues, employers must be equipped with tools that boost company communication, making it easier for managers to streamline the scheduling process and communicate shift changes to employees when needed.
- Boosted managerial morale: Almost 25 percent of service company store managers cite scheduling tasks as the most dissatisfying part of their jobs. And with many store managers being tech-savvy millennials who use technology in almost all aspects of their personal lives and expect to do the same at work, having these basic tasks ridden with outdated tools only makes scheduling that much more unenjoyable.
By adopting a more tech-centric scheduling process, millennial managers are able to use the tools they know and love. In addition, doing so gives hourly workers more say in their schedules without having to track down their supervisor to share their scheduling preferences or ask for permission to swap shifts. When employees are able to exert more control over their shifts, managers can devote more time to tasks they enjoy like customer relations and operational strategies.
Scheduling has always been a burden for retail managers and their hourly employees, but thanks to advances in technology it no longer has to be. Taking advantage of an availability-based scheduling model can eliminate avoidable chaos and stress, and foster a happier workplace environment overall.
Steven Kramer is the CEO of WorkJam, a cloud-based employee relationship management platform for the hourly workforce.