Retail staff scheduling affects more than just your grocery store’s operation, it also impacts your employees. As a grocery store manager, you put in a lot of work to create an optimal schedule, only to have to change it as employees send in last-minute requests. And for employees, shift work can be unpredictable, making it a challenge to schedule their personal lives into the future.
When you consider employee needs in the scheduling process, you’ll create a workplace with a happier, loyal team with higher job satisfaction. You’ll also see improved attendance and reduced turnover, which leads to lower labor costs.
Face it, it’s only natural for grocery managers to make a schedule based purely on anticipated traffic and sales. But when you don’t pay attention to your employees’ needs—not just the absolute days-off requests but the demands of their lives outside the store—it can lead to discontent, lower job satisfaction, and even higher turnover. And that eventually leads to higher labor costs. But juggling all those factors for a growing staff isn’t easy.
What if there was a simpler way to take those factors into account and optimize the labor management in your grocery business? Retail scheduling software has capabilities built in to address your employees’ requirements, while making it easier for you to schedule shifts.
Help your employees have a life outside of work
It’s hard for shift workers to plan their lives if they don’t know what hours they’re working from week to week. Software with shift-building functions and point of sale (POS) integration and sales forecasting can automate and accelerate the scheduling process, giving employees more time to view their schedule and plan appointments, babysitters, family activities, and vacations.
Scheduling the right number of employees per shift is important. Too many people working will drive up your labor costs. But what about not scheduling enough help? Take this example: if a department is short-staffed during a shift, other employees pitch in and cover it. If this happens a few times without any gaps in service, you might assume things are going smoothly, that you don’t need the additional help during that shift. However, what’s really happening is your employees are working harder to take up the slack. This can lead to resentment, burnout, and increased turnover, which will cost you money in the long run. By using the actual POS analytics integrated with your retail scheduling software, you’ll know how many employees you really need to schedule, which will lighten the load and help job satisfaction.
Compliance with labor codes is another important consideration. Retail staff scheduling software makes it easier to schedule employees in accordance with federal, state, and local statutes which can cover paid and unpaid breaks, meal periods, and overtime calculations, among other things. As a retailer, you know you’re in compliance, and employees know that they are receiving the benefits they deserve.
Encourage active participation in scheduling
Retail staff scheduling software can encourage employees to be more active participants in the scheduling process. For example, with an online interface or a mobile app, staff can put in their availability and time-off requests. This makes it easier to track and integrate these requests directly in the scheduling application—instead of relying on post-it notes and half-remembered hallways conversations. And when the schedule is ready, your staff can view and accept it online from anywhere, not just when they’re in the break room.
Once the schedule is posted, changes and updates are inevitable. A sick child or a last-minute appointment can throw your carefully crafted schedule into disarray. But staff scheduling software can make swapping shifts a simple process. Using a web or mobile app, the employee can put their shift up for swap. Everyone with the qualifications to work in that position, such as cashiers or deli staff, will be notified and can accept the swap request, keeping things covered.
Give employees the technology they’re looking for
Employees these days are tech savvy. It’s not just the Millennials and Gen Z’ers, who grew up with technology. Most Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers also carry a smartphone around in their pocket. Your employees already use mobile apps for everything they do, from shopping to entertainment to banking. Why not give them their work schedule in a mobile app? Making it easier for staff to view and update their scheduled shifts can even be a simple incentive to stay.
So, while using spreadsheets or even pen and paper to create grocery shift schedules may have worked in the past, today it’s so much easier to optimize those schedules. And you can improve relations with your employees at the same time. Staff scheduling and tracking software not only saves time and helps control costs, but it can lead to happier employees and reduced turnover, all of which make a difference in your bottom line.
Learn more how TRUNO’s retail staff scheduling solutions can help you improve employee relations and reduce turnover.