When it comes to workforce management, and employee scheduling in particular, it’s often a significant challenge to be able to, well, manage all employees and the individual challenges each one presents. Managing your employees can become one of the biggest inhibitors in reference to keeping managers from other daily tasks.

Why does a manager or business owner need to devote such time and energy to keeping his employees happy? Having an efficient, happy workforce can make a dramatic impact on the big picture of your business. Not only is it beneficial to the health and growth of your own business, but it also cultivates a culture that sets staff up for success.

And although employee rostering and schedule-balancing is only a piece of the overall employee-satisfaction pie, it’s a significant sliver nonetheless. And given the fact that we at Scheduling+ are providers of top online employee scheduling software, we figured that we would stick to what we know; and what we know is workforce management software. From payroll software for small businesses to task management software to our own employee time tracking app (the TimeClock App, if you care to know), we set our clients up for success with a complete suite of workforce management tools. With affordable pricing options and a variety of mobile and web-based apps, we are dedicated to helping businesses that greatly range in size and industry.

Today’s post is going to be focused on offering our readers up a few practical tips in reference to employee scheduling. Managers and business owners, if you feel like you could use a tip or two to help revamp or tweak your current process, by all means, read on — this post is for you!

Why Should You Care?

It’s a bit of a buzzword thrown around these days in the retail world, but “schedule abuse” has become a much more preponderant issue in recent years. When people talk about schedule abuse, most people think of on-call scheduling right off the bat. But there is more to the concept than simply making sure you don’t essentially hold your employee’s hostage, not letting them make any definite plans that might overlap with a potential shift. That, clearly, is a less-than-ideal way to manage employees on a consistent basis. Sure, it might happen here and there if you get in a pinch — we aren’t here to split hairs — we are simply saying that practice isn’t thought of too highly in the retail world.

But there are other components to schedule abuse that ought to be addressed. Again, we don’t bring up this topic to highlight bad practices simply for the sake of highlighting them, but because we have witnessed what optimizing employee scheduling can do for the health of a workforce. That health usually translates to improved efficiency, which usually translates to a better bottom line.

Let’s take a look at a few tips we have to offer managers who could use some guidance.

If you aren’t learning, you aren’t growing. If you aren’t growing, it’s only a matter of time until you get passed by.

What Are The Most Common Forms Of Schedule Abuse?

Some common scheduling abuses are found below.

  • Making your employees stay past the time they were scheduled to work because there happens to be an excess need. Doing this every once in a while, when you ask if the employee is okay with it, is certainly not the end of the world. But making a habit of this practice is simply not a good look.
  • Making the schedule just days, or even hours, before employees need it — resist this temptation with every fiber of your being, since it’s a nice and simple way to antagonize every single member of your workforce and lead them to become resentful. By the same token, do your best to not adjust the schedule hours or a few days in advance. Employees will respect you if you respect their time.
  • Don’t cancel your employee’s shifts right before they work, because this is essentially the same thing as asking them to be “on call.” You might think that everyone should enjoy an unanticipated day off, let’s not kid ourselves by forgetting this is the retail sector. As such, most retail employees need the hours they were expecting to get for their next paycheck.

Let’s be fair: we understand that most schedule abuse occurs because managers are typically restricted to a very tight payroll budget. So they are constantly trying to balance coverage needs with a finite budget. When a manager is not the owner, it’s possible that they’ll feel particularly pressured to lean on the side of the business rather than having their employees’ backs. This isn’t always the case, of course, but if you are a business owner who utilizes a manager to do the employee scheduling, it might be worth having a conversation with that individual to make sure the appropriate balance is being struck.

Changing The Schedule Midweek

From a purely budgetary perspective, it can also make sense to want to change the schedule in the middle of the week. This desire might increase in strength if and when you have a slow week, and to strike a balance between coverage and payroll you again need to change the schedule by cutting some hours.

We certainly understand that for a business to be functional, it needs to be profitable. We aren’t trying to tell you that you never can adjust a schedule or never cut an employee’s shift ever again. That’s just not realistic. We are saying it just might be a good idea to reevaluate your own managerial processes. Because managers can get so wildly busy and preoccupied, shift scheduling can get knocked a few pegs down the totem pole of importance. Consider making shift scheduling, and shift adjusting, a priority so that you can give your employees the maximum amount of time to change their plans accordingly. Most employees (most, not all) will be accommodating when they can be, especially if they notice that extra effort you are putting forth in reference to making sure they get as much notice as possible. Again, employees will respect you for respecting them.

Consider Scheduling+

As it turned out, today’s post did, in fact, offer some helpful tips in reference to regular or online employee scheduling, but we ended up staying within the confines of scheduling abuse. Look out for a future post in which we offer up some more tips with regards to specific optimization techniques you can use to revamp your system, or at least weigh against your current process.

And while we may be biased, we would still submit that one of the best ways you can improve your day-to-day internal processes is learning more about Scheduling+ and our workforce management software. As we mentioned above, we handle everything from payroll software to task management to time clock management to easy-to-use employee rostering software. We consolidate all our tools and features into one platform so that you find the software intuitive and a breeze to navigate.

We are independent retailers who have designed our employee scheduler with independent retailers in mind. Each business is unique with its own demands, but we’ve developed our workforce management software with experience guiding us. If you are ready to learn more and schedule a free, live demo, you can do so with a Scheduling+ expert today!