Improving Employee Productivity and Retention with Cross-Store Scheduling
Labor scheduling challenges have been plaguing retailers for years and are only becoming more difficult to manage.
Outdated, manual labor scheduling processes tend to be disconnected from employees’ needs and personal responsibilities, leading to an abundance of last-minute schedule changes. This can have a detrimental effect on retail employees, causing higher rates of anxiety as well as lower productivity and employee retention rates. Last-minute scheduling is also damaging to young children of U.S. retail workers in particular, who, as a result, go an average of 15 days per year without childcare or supervision. This is a widespread issue across the industry, as almost half of all retail employees receive fewer than two weeks’ notice into what their schedules will look like.
Retail employees also struggle with a lack of transparency and fairness when it comes to their schedules, something that has a more pronounced impact on non-white workers. While 13% of white workers report at least one company-cancelled shift in the last month, the share is 30% higher, at 17%, for non-white workers. And predictive scheduling laws, while beneficial for employees, come with a risk: retailers have more labor regulations to keep track of and could incur massive fines for noncompliance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these scheduling issues for retailers. While some retailers are expanding child-care programs to respond to distance learning needs, many don’t have plans for store associates who are parents, an issue that is bound to cause chaos for labor scheduling processes.
Many studies have shown just how critical it is for retailers to provide their employees with more flexible schedules. Stores can see sales increase by up to 7%, as well as lifts in labor productivity by up to 5%. Employees can see benefits to mental health, such as an up to 8% increase in sleep quality and 15% less stress for employees who are parents.
One way to create better, more flexible schedules, is to schedule associates across multiple stores using intelligent workforce management. These solutions can designate a home store for associates, but also open their availability at other stores in their district/area, taking workload, travel time, and distance from home store into account when scheduling across stores. Intelligent workforce management automates this procedure, building it into a scheduling process that already accounts for employee availability, sales patterns, customer traffic, skill-set, and more.
Scheduling across stores makes it easier to provide associates with schedules that work for them, as well as more opportunity to swap and pick up shifts, tailoring their schedules to their exact needs. If a store associate needs to care for a sick relative or can’t line up child care, this flexibility can make a huge difference, bringing them peace of mind and helping them balance work and personal responsibilities. Automating this process with intelligent workforce management helps to accomplish this. Store managers spend less time in the back office creating labor schedules and can focus more on making minor system-recommended revisions or last-minute scheduling adjustments, ensuring that store associates’ needs are accounted for while still being able to meet customer demand.
Intelligent, automated scheduling processes that enable cross-store scheduling not only ensure that labor schedules are precise and flexible, but also make them more transparent and equitable for all retail employees. By decreasing the number of last-minute changes and cancelled shifts, you can eliminate some of the bias in labor scheduling and ensure that everyone gets the schedule that’s right for them.
For more insight into how you can optimize labor scheduling and improve employee retention, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set up time to chat.