It is a balancing act to keep a store operating efficiently and employees satisfied with their work schedules. Good practices are to:
1) Always post hours and schedules at the same time. Whether monthly or weekly, your employees should know when you post the work schedule so they can plan accordingly. Have schedules posted online or accessible via the web for even more convenient visibility. You can use a private dropbox.com account, a private facebook group or a private Google calendar as free options to support your team.
2) Have a consistent policy for accepting vacation requests and other time off. Make time off requests public as soon as they are known so that staff members can see when multiple requests could be denied. Publish known vacations and approved time off early and consistently.
3) Establish consequences for tardy shift starts, unexcused absences and long breaks that are consistent, fair and well known. While unreliable transportation, ill children and sickness occur for everyone, address issues quickly and balance being understanding with the needs of the store and the remainder of the staff.
When creating a schedule, it is easy to fall into a pattern that is repeated week after week. While it is critical to have a schedule that is not erratic, be sure to look at the schedule from the point of view of your individual employees. Are you relying on an employee to “clopen” too often? (close the store one day and open the store the next.) Is one employee protected from working undesirable shifts causing resentment within your staff? Are you making accommodations for seasoned employees that you do not extend to new employees? Do you have too many employees listed as “on call?” Review your choices objectively. Inspect your decisions for possible favoritism. Your acts of flexibility may be seen as partiality if you seem to show a bias for particular employees.