Supervisors in retail outlets spend almost three hours every week dealing with employees who don’t show up for work. Maybe they’re sick, perhaps there’s a family emergency or there’s been some kind of scheduling mix up.

Whatever the reason for the absenteeism, “on average, supervisors spend 2.8 hours per week on absence issues,” according to industry research by Mercer. Managers are left scrambling to find someone else to take the shift heading to the back office—and the spreadsheet or schedule tacked to the wall—and searching for phone numbers or emails of employees who could come in to fill the shift.

Trying to find someone else to cover a shift costs retailers time and money — 3.8 per cent of payroll, says Mercer. That’s money retailers can ill afford to lose anytime, but particularly while struggling to cope with the effects of an economic downturn.

Calgary entrepreneur Kory Arsenault, has been delivering a web-based scheduling solution for retail absenteeism for a decade. When he started eSchedule in 2005, retailers faced the challenge of finding enough employees to work in their stores. And now with the challenge of declining sales, the need for efficient scheduling makes even more sense.

“Instead of having to run to the back room when someone calls in sick or doesn’t show up, managers just log in on their phones, click a couple of times and all available employees are notified of the shift opening,” says Arsenault. “They don’t have to leave the sales floor or waste time calling people to see if they can come in.”

The simple and quick solution is reaping rewards for retailers with anywhere from five to 15,000 employees. “Scheduling and managing employees with eSchedule has become easier, and requires less time,” says Jim Sprecker, of Ace Hardware, one of over 2,200 happy client locations using the software in North America.

Ace Hardware ditched the spreadsheet for eSchedule’s easy-to-use solution that manages shift changes for 20 employees and tracks and approves their requests for time-off. The store is also pleased to have a paperless solution. Now instead of flipping through and fiddling with the schedule when someone calls in sick, managers at Ace Hardware can be out front helping to sell product.

“Retailers have enough to worry about these days with these difficult economic conditions,” says Arsenault. “We want to help them focus on maximizing their sales and minimizing the time, money and hassle that comes with the inevitable problem of employee absenteeism.”

About eSchedule

eSchedule is a web-based software solution that automates the employee scheduling process for hourly employees. Saving you time and money by optimizing shifts in an intuitive and easy to use interface, eSchedule provides instantaneous communication with employees (SMS, email) along with customized scheduling solutions to meet even the most unique business requirement. Since 2005, eSchedule has reduced labor costs on more than 195 million scheduled hours.

About Kory Arsenault

A technologist, entrepreneur and adventurer, Arsenault has been building web-based software for nearly 20 years, delivering solutions at companies like SmartFile Technologies, Zedi and Hewlett Packard.

He launched eSchedule after dating a woman who worked in the retail industry. He saw the pain points and inefficiencies her and her company’s management dealt with around their scheduling. As an accomplished software developer and entrepreneur, he saw the opportunity and ran with it.

Arsenault also spends time mentoring new entrepreneurs as a board member for Startup Calgary, a grassroots organization that cultivates the local Calgary tech startup community.