Online staff scheduling for the retail industry

Even in this growing age of self-service checkouts and warehouse robots, employees are the lifeblood of most stores. The retail industry is one of the most varied in terms of working patterns, employee numbers, and seasonal demand, which can make shift scheduling that much harder. Findmyshift's online staff scheduling tool, has been developed to take the time, effort, and headaches out of organising your employees’ shifts.

What’s more, there are a host of features that will also help you to improve attendance, punctuality, communication, payroll accuracy, and more - just read on to see what Findmyshift’s many features can do for scheduling in your shop, retail store or supermarket.

Keep commitments clear with one coherent schedule

Among all the reasons for employee non-attendance, one of the most frustrating and avoidable is a mix-up in the rota. When multiple paper copies of your shifts exist, each of them with their own penned-in corrections and changes, it’s impossible to know which version reflects the real schedule and when people expect to be working.

Instead, Findmyshift provides a single online source of truth that’s always available, updates instantly, and is accessible by any of your employees, so no one will be in any doubt who’s on and when.

Schedule in advance to meet demand during busy periods

Retail is one of the most seasonal industries out there. From holidaymakers flocking to seaside resorts in the summer to late-night shopping in the run-up to Christmas, there are peaks and troughs throughout the year that managers need to prepare their businesses for.

Knowing you’ll have the cover in place well in advance of these busy periods can make a manager’s life far easier. It also helps employees to know when they’ll be needed and when they’ll have time to get their own shopping done!

Findmyshift allows supermarkets and retail stores to schedule shifts as far in advance as required, ensuring cover is in place for peak times, while the flexible nature of the tool means that any changes nearer the time can be handled quickly and easily.

Save time and effort with shift templates

It’s common for retail stores to have fixed shift patterns that keep employee numbers at the right level throughout their opening and restocking hours. Even though these might change throughout the year as opening times adjust to holiday demand, on a week-to-week basis, you are likely to be scheduling the same shifts again and again.

Saving these shift patterns as templates within Findmyshift allows you to quickly reuse them as and when you need them. This will save you time each week and make the transitions between different operating hours simple as well. Once you’ve saved a template, you can apply this to anything from a single employee’s shifts to multiple weeks at a time just by selecting the appropriate cells and using the “Templates” menu. Find out more about using shift templates here.

Stay in control with managerial roles and oversight

While managers may be wary of such a flexible scheduling tool as it means giving your employees access to and options for their shift times, this doesn’t have to mean surrendering your control. Depending on your settings, employees may be able to swap, cancel, and request shifts, but you can always ensure that you, or another trusted manager, have the final say on these requests.

You can also designate team managers or supervisors to act as “time off managers” and approve leave requests as appropriate. Either way, being able to see holiday allowances alongside requests and communicate the reasons for any rejected requests will ensure fairness and transparency, and this can actually boost employee morale and productivity in your retail business.

Get all your employees on one schedule

Big stores can struggle to manage several rotas and still ensure that they have the right number of employees in at any given time, especially if any are able to work in multiple roles or departments. Keeping all your employees on a single rota, which can still be divided up by sections of the store by using the Facilities feature, is an easy way to get total oversight of who’s in at any one time.

This has safety implications as well: your always-accessible online rota will have a real-time record of who’s in the store should you need it, making headcounts far easier.

Unlimited employees and work areas

Despite the complete flexibility on employee numbers - honestly, you can put as many as you want on one rota - we don’t base our prices on how many people you’re organising using our tool and therefore offer you unlimited employees, unlimited work areas (Facilities) and unlimited number of edits, shares and log-ins. As long as you’re happy with your scheduling, we’re happy, and will stick to the same low monthly cost.

No matter how big your organisation grows, your scheduling costs will stay fixed. They might even go down, as we offer discounts for advance payments. If your store isn’t so big yet, you don’t need to worry either! Our free version of the app is also great for growing teams of up to five members so maybe you don't need to pay anything at all! Find out about all our pricing options here.

Boost attendance with automated reminders

People make mistakes. And sometimes, that means that employees forget when they’re meant to be working. It happens! But that doesn’t mean that we can’t give you the best chance of getting everyone into work when they need to be. Our automated reminder system can use emails, texts, and push notifications to let employees know when their shifts are upcoming or when changes have been made to their rota.

Meanwhile, the calendar integration allows them to export their commitments onto the personal phone calendar, so they don’t end up double-booked elsewhere. Between this feature and our mobile apps for iOS and Android, it couldn’t be easier to keep your shift times with you wherever you go.

Read more tips for boosting employee punctuality here.

Track hours with the built-in time clock

For more accurate time-tracking and reporting, Findmyshift can be used as a time-clock station, allowing employees to punch in and out at the start and end of their shifts, and giving you accurate timesheet data for forecasting and payroll purposes. There are even options to further improve accuracy and honesty, including location-tracking and photo coverage of clock-in points.

Built-in breaks and time-off planning for a happier workforce

Your employees are at their best when they’re rested and content, so it makes sense to have breaks built-in to their schedules. Whether these form part of their working day or you give them a more flexible approach to taking time out as needed, you can build these into your Findmyshift employee schedule to ensure accurate time-tracking and subsequently energetic and motivated employees.

Keep everyone updated with your own online noticeboard

Retail and supermarket employees often have a lot on their minds, but it’s crucial that you’re still able to communicate important messages to the team. Your own online noticeboard within the Findmyshift site is a perfect place to put announcements, reminders, and news to ensure they’re seen by everyone. From policies to part-planning, get your notices noticed.

About the author

Jake Waller is a wordsmith who plies his trade here at Findmyshift. He uses his background in engineering to simplify complex topics for a variety of tech firms. When not writing for Findmyshift he blogs under a pseudonym at My Name is Skylance and has a passion for creative writing and editing, about which he's always talking on Twitter.