Retail work is unpredictable and varies with the seasons, which certainly presents a challenge for management. Scheduling sits at the center of this problem, but current scheduling systems are not only making it hard for managers to balance their schedules, but also enraging the workers who are left wondering when they will be working. On Wednesday this week, retail shift workers in New York City protested scheduling that they called both “abusive” and “erratic.”
Bintou Kamara, a cashier at Abercrombie & Fitch, served as the protest’s catalyst when she started a petition with the labor group Retail Action Project on Change.org. She told ABC News that retail workers are required to keep their schedules open so they are available whenever needed. According to the Retail Action Project, most workers reported the schedule only being posted 2-3 days before the workweek began. Even after being posted, workers must prepare for the schedule to change, meaning they must constantly call in to ask for updates. In fact, Kamara says that most employees at Abercrombie are expected call two hours before each shift to confirm if they are indeed needed for their scheduled hours.
Once employees are called into work, they still cannot count on a working a full shift because managers may send them home early if they’re overstaffed. This results in both a cut shift and a lower paycheck. For retail workers, many of whom are in school and/or trying to juggle more than one job, these unreliable work schedules make it nearly impossible to maintain a budget.
Since studies have shown that happy employees improve customer experience, continuing with chaotic scheduling systems, as described above, can be truly detrimental to a business’s success. When it comes down to it, managers want a business that runs smoothly, keeps their customers happy, and satisfies their employees. To keep employees satisfied, businesses need an organized schedule that makes it simple to interact with management about their shifts. By using scheduling software that leverages today’s technology like email and text message alerts, mobile apps, and group text messaging, retail businesses have the opportunity to ease their internal issues, simplify management, and possibly give their bottom line a boost.Retail Action Project Spotlights Staff Scheduling Challenges Chad Halvorson