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Holiday Scheduling: Guide to Easing the Pressure On Retail Employees

by | Dec 29, 2021 | Blog | 0 comments

Scheduling will always remain one of the toughest things to handle as a retail manager, but there are many tricks you can use to ensure that employees are always in high spirits during the Holiday rush. During the Holidays (and more specifically during Christmas) there is a large leap in demand for retail products, which means your business needs to be scheduled accordingly.

Sometimes you’ll hire seasonal workers to ensure that your needs are met, and other times you can just work with your traditional schedule and manage without any issue. I would highly recommend perfecting your holiday schedule on top of hiring seasonal workers because that’s the simplest way to maximize productivity (from personal experience).

Those who have been doing this for a long time understand that employees are going to approach the Holiday day rush differently than they would with other times of the year, and you need to provide them with both stability and flexibility as a manager.

The Pressure of Holiday Rushes

When a retail employee is forced to work shifts that are irregular to their traditional hours, on-call, or split into different times, it can make things more difficult on them in the long run. Dealing with stress during the holidays is hard enough as is, and forcing employees to work under circumstances like this is never ideal.

The pressure of working during the Holidays is significant for our Canadian retail workforce, and the unpredictable work schedules that many are faced with each day need to be accounted for. Retail managers are realizing that on-call shifts aren’t always ideal and that knowing when you’re going to work allows you to remain more productive (for the most part).

While some retail managers believe in sticking to what they’ve been used to all of these years, others are more than open to innovating their scheduling process. Whether you’re looking to completely overhaul the way your company schedules employees during the Holidays or you just want to prep for the busiest time of the year, this article is going to help you figure out how to keep your employees happy and productive.

How You Can Approach Scheduling During the Holidays

Allow Employees to Self-Schedule

If you give your employees a chance to set up their schedules themselves, although this doesn’t mean giving them total freedom over when they can work. You have them select from a variety of shift options, allowing them to feel like they’re a part of the scheduling process; as opposed to a name that’s simply on the list.

Using cloud-based scheduling services means that employees can check their shift options, bids, shifts, and anything else that could be associated with the scheduling of your business. Brand loyalty will be higher than ever if this is your first time allowing employees to choose their shift too!

Everybody loves working for a company that gives their staff members options. You can also leave all of the hard work up to automated scheduling services and self-scheduling techniques, giving retail managers more time to focus on other aspects of the job.

Be a Proactive Manager (Not a Reactive One)

Being a manager who constantly reacts to situations isn’t ideal for a few reasons. Supply and demand don’t work when you’re responsible for scheduling during the Holiday season, because although it may minimize costs, the rush that’s about to come is unlike anything you’ve seen throughout the year.

Look at the last Holiday rush and see how the schedule was put together then, as well as consider some other pieces of information (how many people were in the store, how much in sales were made, etc).

Keep Talent Readily Available to Fill Roles

It’s smart to have a plethora of talent readily available to fill any potential roles that open up during the Holiday rush. When you have multiple locations to work with, there are plenty of employees that you’ll want to “shop around” and see how they impact the other stores. If you notice that one of your workers is doing an amazing job and increasing productivity severalfold, it doesn’t hurt to give them a chance at a sister location.

Not only will you be able to implement a new employee at the other location for no new costs, but you also won’t have to worry about training somebody on top of it. Scheduling is tough for many reasons, but one of the largest problems that arise would be employees leaving or new hires.

Create Incentives for the “Bad Shifts”

There is always going to be a shift that workers consider “bad”, regardless of what industry you operate in. Most workers will say that the night shift is something they try and avoid, but you can incentivize it by offering up a point system or some sort of reward. Keeping your workers happy is the key to success for any brand, and by creating incentives for the busiest shifts, you’ll keep morale high (which in turn will offer higher levels of productivity).

Scheduling During the Holidays Isn’t Easy – But It Isn’t Impossible, Either!

By using the likes of a scheduling tool and the other techniques we’ve talked about in this article, you should understand why properly scheduling your employees throughout the Holidays is such an important task. Remember to provide them with flexibility and stability whenever possible, as well as incorporate scheduling tools/technology to make the process a straightforward one.

Staffing strategies and scheduling techniques aren’t always obvious, but with the information from this article, I’m hoping that you can find the most optimal solution (for your situation) yourself.

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