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Employee Scheduling: Scheduling Terminology for Retail Managers


“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer.

As a retail manager, you’re probably familiar with employee scheduling basics: ensuring all shifts are staffed appropriately and that your store is running smoothly. But did you know there’s more to it than choosing when people should work? In order to manage labor hours effectively, understanding the terminology related to employee scheduling is essential. This blog is a guide to assist retail managers in understanding scheduling concepts and terms within a workforce context. The goal is to help management communicate staff schedules precisely and effectively. Let’s get started!

What is employee scheduling in a nutshell?

An employee shift schedule is a management tool that explains the hours an organization expects its employees to be available to work. A work schedule enables an organization to manage human resources , business operations, and labor costs.

What is the purpose of scheduling employees?

The purpose of employee Scheduling is to create and maintain employee work shifts and labor hours. Further, the schedule helps to maintain employee time-off events such as vacations and other times when employees may not be available for work.

Staff scheduling is an essential component of operating a successful business. Optimal planning of your staff means you will have all the experience, knowledge, skills, and quality in the right place at the right time.

Why is it critical to have a common staff scheduling language?

A typical staff scheduling language simplifies the employee scheduling process and supports precise communication among staff, managers, and the organization. 

Time and Attendance

Time and attendance is the area of workforce management that tracks and monitors when an employee starts and stops work. It is an integral part of the workplace, allowing managers to track who is present or absent for their shifts.

Time Tracking

Time tracking refers to how organizations record hourly employees’ working hours and ensure they have been compensated accurately for their time. 

Punch Clock

In a punch card time clock, employees insert a paper time card into a machine, which stamps or punches the date and time on the card. A digital time clock stores time card information in the system instead of printing it on the employee’s time card.

Time Cards

Time cards are used to record and track an employee’s time on the job.

Scheduling Solution

Scheduling software helps individuals and businesses across all industries operate more efficiently by enabling them to manage and track their and employees’ time, create and maintain employee schedules, assign workers to shifts or jobs, and track everything in real-time.

Scheduling Optimization

Schedule optimization is the process of making sure each task or action in a schedule is aligned with your ultimate goal. Schedule optimization can be used by individuals and businesses alike to keep their top priorities (or priorities) at the forefront when setting times for tasks to take place.

Labor Hours

Labor hours are the number of hours employee receiving an hourly wage who are scheduled to work during a specified period.

Scheduled (labor) Hours

Scheduled hours are the number of hours an employee is slated to work for a specified work period. 

Cloud-based Scheduling software

A cloud-based scheduling software automates employee scheduling processes such as work schedule management, employee communication, and time tracking. 

Time Cards

Time cards are used with a time clock to record an employee’s starting and quitting times daily or on each job.


Geofencing is a solution that restricts employees from punching at specific locations in real time. This is done with GPS tracking technology integrated into the TimeWellScheduled app or browser.

Shift Swap / Shift Change

A shift swap is when one employee changes a current shift date or time for another employee’s scheduled shift date or time. (Based on an organization’s shift change policy)

Employee Leave of Absence

A leave of absence is a way for employees who are experiencing personal, family or emergency circumstances to take time off work. Common examples include, childbirth, caring for an ill family member, health conditions or legal obligations. 

Shift Manager

Shift Managers oversee operations when full-timer managers aren’t present. They work hard to ensure customers receive good service and stay on task. A Shift Manager may also dictate employees’ hours, adjusting them to fit best with pay and overall needs.

TimeWellScheduled’s Cloud Based Software Solution

  • An “all in one place” cloud-based scheduling solution.
  • Simplify employee time tracking and attendance.
  • Helps to dramatically reduce the number of hours spent processing time and
  • Provide real scheduling solutions to industry challenges issues.
  • Allows managers to convert data into actionable, valuable information.

“A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.” – Annie Dillard.

Getting comfortable with scheduling terminology is a necessity for retail managers. Knowing the ins and outs of this field will help you in successful staff scheduling while providing your team members with transparency. In addition, being familiar with legal matters regarding hours worked and payment received is vital. Although there may be a lot of change coming your way, use this guide to develop an understanding of simple staffing terms so that you can inform your employees confidently and clarify any misunderstandings quickly and efficiently. With these tips, being an effective retail manager just got easier!

About TimeWellScheduled

Thank you for reading our article!

TimeWellScheduled is a secure online time and attendance software 100% tailored to meet your scheduling needs! In addition, TimeWellScheduled facilitates employee attendance tracking & payroll tasks and enhances staff management capabilities. Plus, our service is free for up to 10 employees!

Click: here to download our (Excel) employee scheduling template; IT’S FREE!

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