Digital shift planning in retail

Automatisierung im Einzelhandel

The retail sector is a rapidly changing and challenging industry. New opening hours during the Corona pandemic, strong fluctuations in demand around holidays, or the changing consulting requirements of customers – retail has been facing a variety of challenges for several years now.

Therefore, it is even more important to ensure smooth operations even in difficult situations through efficient and reliable duty and shift schedules. In particular, the use of automated staff scheduling solutions based on intelligent algorithms and individual strategies can bring significant improvements.

The difficulties in the retail sector

When looking at the operational side, duty scheduling in retail often involves a great deal of effort. This mainly results from different store and employee structures and the associated maintenance of absences and vacation requests. Communicating preferred shifts, requesting vacation days, or reporting sickness – many of these HR processes lead to an increased planning effort and are rarely automated. 

In addition, shift schedules are often still created with the help of spreadsheets or on paper, which, in addition to extra manual effort, can also lead to problems with the GDPR if they are displayed in employee break rooms.

Flexible scheduling and enabling shift requests

Weekend shifts frequently force employees to postpone private appointments, leading them to criticize the lack of flexibility and work-life-balance in shift scheduling. It is therefore important to enable requests in shift planning. In addition to improving employee motivation, this also increases the reliability of scheduling. Unforeseen absences or free shifts can be assigned automatically or advertised according to the “first-come-first-serve principle”. Employees can choose their own shifts according to their qualifications and the respective service requirements to achieve the best possible balance between their professional and private lives. Of course, staff schedulers still have the option of assigning shifts automatically or manually.

One option to automate rostering is to use a digital staff scheduling software. Programs like Sheepblue enable smart, straightforward, and personally customizable shift planning for companies. By automating the scheduling process duties can be sent directly via one’s smartphone. Even swap, time off or work requests can be easily integrated into employees’ individual shift planning. 

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