Giving your employees the work/life balance they desire during your busiest holiday season is one of the biggest challenges you face as a retailer. You need your store staffed for the abnormally large crowds of people. You need a strong team on hand to keep lines short and keep customers happy. In spite of this, employees need time off to spend with their families during this festive time.
Over the past decade, work/life balance for retail employees around the holidays has become a hot button issue. Should you open on Thanksgiving night to serve the crowds of shoppers ready for Black Friday deals? Or should you keep your doors closed, risk losing money, and give your team time off to be with their families?
This year, maintaining a strong team is more important than ever. Deloitte is predicting retail holiday sales to increase by as much as 4%. Here’s how to plan a staff schedule to meet this anticipated demand.
Talk to Your Employees Now
It might feel a little too early to start talking to your employees, but it’s not. The sooner you can find out what each person prefers, the better understanding you’ll have about your schedule and the type of staffing you have available.
Ask each employee individually to state his preferences. Specifically, ask your team members to break down:
- What shifts they prefer to work
- What days they are available for work
- What days they need to have off for family reasons
- What days they would like to (but do not have to) have off for family reasons.
This will give you a better idea of what your staff are hoping to see from your schedule. The answers might surprise you.
Start Planning the Schedule Now
As you start to get feedback from your employees, start planning your schedule on your online scheduling app. Look for light staffing days specifically. Publicize these specific days to your team asking for extra help. You might also want to offer an extra incentive to come in on those days so you ensure you’re fully staffed.
The more you can make your scheduling needs public to your team, the better. This will keep your team involved with your overall business needs. As your team sees the schedule come together, they might start working together to switch shifts. This way, everyone stays happy and you stay fully staffed.
Hire Extra Help
Many hands make light work, as the saying goes. Having a few extra hands on deck this holiday season might help your long-term staffers feel less overwhelmed. You can give your dedicated employees more time off by having seasonal help available.
Get Started Now
Holiday schedules are tricky. The sooner you can get started planning, the more your staff will appreciate it. Get feedback and start filling in the schedule between now and January.
Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.