Businesses of all types thrive on a present and attentive workforce. In the service and retail industry, however, managing staff can be a challenge. Unfortunately, your C-store is both! Whether helping customers to purchase lottery tickets, or managing a morning rush: your staff is important to your bottom line.
However, the industry is prone to suffering from last-minute staff cancellations. When employees call out of work suddenly, it can throw the entire day out of whack. Not having enough staff on hand is a recipe for poor customer service as well as casting your brand image in a negative light.
Life can sometimes get in the way, and emergencies are rarely planned for. However, here are a few quick tips on scheduling and managing your workforce in order to cut down on last minute cancellations.
Keep a Regular Schedule and Post it Early
When possible, keeping employees on a regular weekly schedule can help establish a routine that is easier to follow. Determine what your busy days and times are by tracking sales and forecasting future performance. Make sure to have proper coverage during these times and make sure your staff is aware of why these shifts are crucial.
If the schedule changes weekly, post it as early as possible to give your team a chance to review it. Utilizing time clock software via your convenience store POS system or office computer is also a great way to create and publish the schedule. Some of these programs also allow you to require individual employees to “Accept” the schedule once posted. By doing this, employees acknowledge that they have seen their shifts and understand when they are expected to work.
Manage Employee Disputes
Sometimes employees lock horns and rivalries can form. Address these issues early and neutralize the situation quickly. Bad blood will only brew until it spills over into a workplace incident you’d rather not have explode in front of customers.
Employee disputes are also a prime reason your workers might look at the schedule and decide they just don’t want to come to work that way. “You have my scheduled with HIM? No way!” Address these areas respectfully, and work to resolve issues to avoid this effect.
Be Transparent With Expectations
During the hiring and training process, be upfront about your expectations as an employer, including:
Scheduling requirements: How often employees are expected to work, if certain days/times are mandatory, etc.
Policies regarding no-shows or call-outs
Policies regarding requesting time off
Policies regarding shift swapping with other employees
An employee handbook that outlines these terms and expectations is a great way to put this information into the employee’s hand. This, combined with being up-front from the beginning will ensure your workforce is informed and aware of your standards and expectations.
Be Flexible (When Possible) and Firm (When Necessary)
Being up-font with your expectations is important. Maintaining open lines of communication is equally important. Life will happen, and from time to time employees will need a shift covered or time off. As long as they know what the procedures are, you should prepare for these eventualities.
Let employees know that you will be flexible when possible, and try to work with them to make the schedule work. Make sure they keep you updated on their availability and any changes to their schedule that will affect their ability to work.
Staffing headaches are a challenge for convenience store management. However, many workplace issues can be avoided with proper communication and transparency. Set this tone early and you can enjoy a happy, efficient, and on time workforce.