Solution and Recommendations
Online employee scheduling software offers a number of features specifically designed to address the issue of finding a replacement employee for one that is absent. Once implemented, you will no longer have to leave the sales floor and spend the rest of your day dealing with the ripple effects a missed shift can have on your department.
These three steps can be taken in an online scheduling application to reduce how long you spend replacing absent employees and the costs associated with doing so.
Use Open Shifts
The employee scheduling software that you choose to implement should give you the ability to release “open shifts”. An open shift is a shift that has both a position and time slot assigned, but no employee. You should also ensure that creating an open shift will send an alert to available and qualified employees via email and SMS text messaging.
As a manager, all you need to do is log-in to your scheduling app from your mobile device (you don’t even have to leave the sales floor) and select the shift that you no longer have an employee for. With a click you can change it to an open shift and have it automatically notify your workforce that there is a shift up for grabs! This single feature can drastically improve your process and save you time that was spent on finding a replacement.
Manage multiple department schedules all from one place
Many retail centers have several departments, and the manager in each tends to handle scheduling a little differently (Excel®, pen & paper, software). As a result, when a manager goes to borrow an employee from another department, it isn’t always apparent who’s available and what position/skills they have. Consolidating all department schedules into one application (where you can still view each department separately) makes borrowing employees for shift coverage much more efficient.
If your current process is to replace your absent sales associate with a staff member from another department for example, you will now be able to log-in to the schedule and see which manager has extra staff. Further, you can determine if that employee is actually qualified to work as a sales associate or if they’re only trained as a retail cashier. This ensures you find the most qualified candidate to perform your missing employee’s job, and helps reduce the negative impacts of absences observed in Figure 2.
Eliminate conflicts with clear absence and availability tracking
Part-time and seasonal employees will usually have specific availability and absence requests that work around their other obligations. If you don’t have this information properly documented, not only will your schedule have conflicts (resulting in absenteeism) but when you try to call your other employees to take the shift, you’ll waste time on ones that aren’t even available.
Online scheduling software gives your workforce their own account to log-in to. Here they can set the times they’re available to work and request absences… rather than handing you a sheet of paper that is just going to get misplaced. Now with a glance at the online schedule, it is immediately clear which employees are actually available to cover that missed shift and they can be notified immediately.