778alarm_clockPrior to publishing a schedule, review upcoming promotions, inventory tasks, changes to delivery schedules or other store events that could change your staffing needs.  Always make servicing customers the priority and make decisions in favor of over-serving rather than under-serving customers.  It is a poor choice to augment staff to conduct an inventory by taking away hours to merchandise and sell products during regular store hours.

    Not all business hours are equal.  Make sure to schedule your strongest employees at your busiest times. A smart manager ensures that the best sales people are on the floor when the most customers will encounter them.

    Changing a schedule once it is published is sometime unavoidable – but should be an unusual occurrence.  If your schedules change regularly after they are published, discuss it at your next store meeting. (You have one at least once a month, right?)  Get to the root cause of the changes. Are employees providing late notice of schedule conflicts? Do you have a poor system for recording time off requests? Are schedules posted late? Are other jobs interfering with your schedule? Make sure to uncover the real issues behind schedule changes and take action to correct them.  For those rare occurrences when the schedule must be changed after it is published, have a process for informing your team of the change.  Consider texting and other real-time notifications so that store associates are not caught unaware of schedule changes.

    For many employees, “retail hours” can cause burn out.  Be aware of the toll long hours has on employees and their families.  Look for ways to acknowledge them with surprise pizzas over the dinner hour shift, a breakfast pastry box for early shifts and (free) hand-written thank you notes when employees demonstrate praiseworthy flexibility or reliability.

    Finally, have a consistent recordable method for clocking employees in and out. Employees need a consistent process for reporting their work hours. And absolute confidence in accurate paychecks that reflect hours worked and paid time off.  If there is one critical item to outsource to experts, getting payroll done correctly for every employee every time is it.  Even a single hiccup can cast doubt in the most important element for engaged workers: their wallets.