Is Poor Scheduling Costing Your Store Money? Here’s What to Do Instead

Is Poor Employee Scheduling Costing Your Store Money? Here’s What to Do Instead

The holiday shopping season means scheduling stress for small retailers. But scheduling problems aren’t just a seasonal issue. Scheduling struggles cost small stores big in terms of employee morale, customer loyalty and lost sales, a recent study by WorkJam reports.  

The survey of retail stores nationwide found widespread dissatisfaction with staffing on the part of both sales associates and store managers. Nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of managers aren’t satisfied with their ability to create schedules that keep employees happy while also accommodating the store’s needs.

The Effects of Poor Employee Scheduling

Poor scheduling has ramifications that include:

  • High employee turnover: 62 percent of respondents say they’ve had sales associates quit their jobs because of ongoing scheduling conflicts. In fact, in an average three-month period, nearly half of managers say at least 5 percent of their staff quit.
  • Understaffed stores: A whopping 88 percent of managers say their stores are understaffed on a weekly basis. Nearly half (46 percent) say their stores are understaffed at least 10 hours each week.
  • Lost sales: More than eight in 10 retail managers say employee turnover makes it hard to hit their stores’ sales goals, and 97 percent say understaffing hurts sales as well.
  • Tarnished brand reputation: When your store is understaffed, it not only hurts employee morale and sales, but also damages your brand in the long term by giving customers a poor impression of your store.

Scheduling Challenges

Creating effective employee schedules for a retail store is challenging. Put too many salespeople on the floor, and some of them will be bored. If you end up sending those people home early, you’ve not only wasted money, but also irritated your employees, which can contribute to high employee turnover.

There’s also the inherent unpredictability of retailing. Flexible schedules are one reason many employees choose the retail industry — but this very flexibility makes scheduling harder for managers. Some 71 percent of managers in the survey say they regularly get staff requests to change the existing schedule.

No wonder that 70 percent of managers in the survey say they regularly spend extra hours dealing with administrative issues like reassigning schedules or approving shift swaps. Communicating these changes can be confusing and difficult, especially given that 92 percent of managers primarily communicate with sales associates via in-person conversations.

Tech It Easy

Are you still relying on old-fashioned spreadsheets, phone tag or printed-out paper schedules tacked to the storeroom wall? Taking advantage of technology can transform your retail store and eliminate your shift headaches. Instead of struggling with shift scheduling and rescheduling, why not try cloud-based scheduling and time tracking software?

When choosing the right cloud-based scheduling software for your retail store, look for features such as:

  • Easy-to-use templates so you’re not re-creating your schedules from scratch every week
  • Integration with time-tracking and payroll software to simplify payroll
  • Automated reminders sent to you and your employees via text or email
  • A mobile app for easy scheduling anytime, anywhere
  • Ability for employees to request shift changes or trade shifts with each other
  • Simple approval process for managers

The following popular employee scheduling solutions offer all the features mentioned above, are designed for small businesses, and are priced affordably. Check them out — they just might transform your retail business.

Scheduling Photo via Shutterstock

Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.