Despite the unpredictable nature of the retail industry, employees prefer consistent work schedules. Working in retail shops should not mean it is nearly impossible for employees to fulfil personal responsibilities. Predictable, streamlined scheduling software makes a positive difference.
Fortunately, times have changed. Gone are the days when the only option for shop managers was to post a wall calendar in the break room. The only way an employee could expect to get their preferred schedule was being the first to fill in the blanks.
Managers had to match sticky note requests for days off with planned work days. Add the ups and downs of customer demand and requested days were not a guarantee.
Modern Tools Have Changed the Game
Working different shifts every week is something that has not changed. With that said, employee scheduling systems like eSolve makes the tasks and expectations easier to manage. Forward-thinking shops are giving employees more control over their scheduling choices.
One example of this is mobile scheduling. Generally, employees can bypass the break room and instead use their smartphones or tablets to submit requests. In addition to requesting time off, they can swap shifts or even ask for overtime when it becomes available.
For employees, mobile scheduling means they can submit important requests without coming to work. For retail managers, accessing scheduling information on the go means not risking the shop being left unmanned.
Employees Expect More Flexibility
It is not uncommon for employees to get different work shifts every week. Often, they only have a few days’ notice to arrange childcare or other responsibilities. Not only can these fluctuating hours interrupt family life, but it can also put a strain on household budgets.
The expectation of more flexibility in choosing work schedules is imperative. Mobile scheduling features support the attitudes of a new workforce generation. Some features of scheduling systems with mobile access for employees include:
- 24/7 access
- Make time off requests
- Request shift trades with fellow employees
- Let managers know about availability
- Clock in at beginning of shifts
For managers, mobile scheduling also offers great features such as:
- Approve or deny time off requests
- Find shift replacements
- Moderate shift swap requests
- Notify employees of schedule changes
Retail shop managers know that providing this level of functionality is key to meeting employee expectations. Being able to offer employees more predictable work schedules allows them to better manage their family and work life.
Additionally, some employees may want to work more hours than originally scheduled. Mobile scheduling gives them access to changes that can help them pick up unfilled shifts. They get more money in their paycheck and managers can meet customer demand.
Stable Schedules Can Improve Sales and Productivity
The relentless presence of online retailers has many brick-and-mortar shops questioning their viability. Finding ways to compete for consumers who find shopping with mouse clicks is preferable to going into a store before buying is challenging.
Traditional methods of assortment, pricing and convenience are ineffective arguments against retailers that have found a way to thrive in the Internet age. When these retailers are capable of out-performing physical shops, store managers must find innovative ways to exist.
Too often, managers’ first response to waning sales is to begin viewing employees as an expense item. With this mindset, managers try to control employees without considering how this could affect customer service.
Their answer to increasing profits is to work with a barebones staff or create schedules that vary on a daily basis. However, studies show that increasing staff during peak periods can increase the retail shop’s sales and profits.
A better way of employee scheduling should not only target sales goals, but it should also improve employee productivity.
Retail managers should consider changing antiquated practices to counter the effects of online sales. Improving employee scheduling processes can enhance the customer experience. Examples of what these changes may look like include:
- Providing a soft guarantee of 20 or more hours each week
- Giving more employees a stable core schedule where they work consistent days and hours each week
- Setting standard shift start and end times
- Schedule more employees during visibly understaffed periods
- Using a mobile scheduling app to allow shift swapping and easy manager approval
Stable Schedules Give Employees More Control Over Their Work Life
If retail shops stuck with conventional wisdom, they would keep following the “unstable scheduling is inevitable” practice. Understanding that this does not have to be their reality, they are prepared to adopt schedule stability for the benefit of their employees and store operations.
For starters, employees have more control over when they work. This is because managers take advantage of software tools to create more consistent and predictable schedules.
Another practical solution to retail scheduling is eliminating the use of an on-call system. Mobile scheduling removes what some considered a safety net. Managers could simply pull from the on-call pool to cover last minute call outs.
Customer Demand Shouldn’t Dictate Employee Schedules
Although many hold the belief that unstable scheduling is inevitable, fluctuating customer traffic is only a small part. Therefore, retail managers should not let customer demand dictate how they decide to schedule employees for shifts.
In fact, stable scheduling is feasible and should be a goal for every retail manager. With the right software application, making this a regular practice may improve productivity and sales.
What Encourages Employees to Use a Mobile Scheduling Application?
Mobile technology will continue to revolutionise the way information is shared and received. The convenience of using mobile devices for everything from ordering food to buying a car has become the norm. With this in mind, retail shops must prepare to meet this expectation from their employees.
Being able to access information from a mobile scheduling app empowers employees. They feel that they are part of the scheduling process.
In turn, this unburdens retail managers from handling every step in making sure shifts are adequately covered. Time off requests, availability changes and shift trades occur with ease.
Mobile Scheduling is a Compromised Solution for Retail Managers and Employees
Placing the ability to stabilize their work life, while giving managers real-time information, is a compromised solution. No retail shop that wants to stay relevant and attract great workers should pass up the opportunity to use mobile scheduling.
On one hand, shifts remain unfilled until employees login and pick the ones that work for them. On the other hand, managers create shifts that can meet customer demand to ensure proper coverage.
Last minute shift coverage is not a surprise. All employees receive notification of an open shift. Employees receive SMS notifications through the app of new shifts. They do not have to wait until they get to work and log into the company system.
Mobile scheduling in the retail industry is an efficient way to guarantee employees work based on their availability. It is also an effective tool to reduce the number of schedule edits and shift trades. Essentially, employees get to choose schedules that fit their availability.
Adopting scheduling software with mobile features helps with achieving flexibility and lessening frustrations. Retailers can begin seeing better productivity and customer satisfaction.