The benefits of online employee scheduling, attendance, and more
In this article, we discuss why labor management software for retail and grocery businesses is important for controlling costs and improving efficiency at your store. These days, instead of using whiteboards and Google docs to schedule grocery workers, stores are turning to wireless devices and the cloud. An especially challenging part of handling the operations of a grocery store is managing your hourly employees. Creating and tracking every person’s schedule while balancing the needs of your store with that of your workforce are tasks that even the most capable manager often struggles to complete under time constraints.
For help with these tasks, consider investing in a labor management system. Such a system provides many benefits, allows you to reduce time spent scheduling, helps you predict your labor coverage needs, and can even assist with compliance, all of which serve to make managing a store easier.
Implementing a labor management system isn’t as complicated as you might think, and the benefits are well worth the effort. A good labor management system will help you:
- Save time
- Manage your staff remotely
- Communicate with your employees easily
- Ensure good labor coverage
- Stay compliant
- and more
Employee Scheduling Software Saves Time and Money
When you start managing your team with an online solution, you’ll decrease the number of hours that you spend working on routine administrative tasks. This is especially true for creating employee schedules. For example, you won’t have to spend as much time searching for an associate to cover another worker’s shift if someone calls in sick or fails to show up on time. A good labor management platform will provide you with the means to quickly and easily fill shifts, and it can even help your staff pick up shifts from one another.
This type of software also makes processing payroll easier, giving you more time to interact with your customers. With labor management software for retail or grocery, you’ll be able to promptly approve or reject time off requests while checking each staff member’s availability.
Manage Your Staff Remotely
With a labor management solution, you’ll be able to manage your staff from any location. You’ll have the technology to create an employee schedule or process payroll, whether you’re at the store, traveling, or at home. (We realize this is more important than ever during COVID.)
You can take care of these tasks using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. You’ll always be able to see who is currently working and receive an employee’s messages if they are unable to come to work.
Communicate With Your Workers
Smart labor management software like TimeForge comes with mobile apps that make it easy for staff to check their time cards and schedules. It ensures that your people know when they’re working, decreasing staff shortages due to people not being aware that you’ve scheduled them to work. The software also includes team messaging, which is a great feature if you need to alert everyone of companywide changes, such as a policy change or COVID emergency.
When you have an online labor management system in place, you can stop looking for workers’ phone numbers and their email addresses. You’ll have access to this information at any time. You can also send messages to your entire store or just one or two employees. Keep everyone updated on important events, holiday details, and work opportunities without any stress.
Spend More Time With Your Customers
Instead of spending time building Excel spreadsheets and building schedules for your workforce, invest in an employee scheduling software. With a system in place, you’ll be able to turn more of your attention to your customers. Grocery stores are always competing for business, which means that providing stellar service is hugely important to your bottom line. Use your time to develop unique and positive shopping experiences for your customers.
Regardless of the products that you offer, if your customers are required to wait too long to make a purchase or are unable to find what they need, they will be unhappy with their shopping experience. But when customers enjoy their shopping experience, they’ll be more likely to return to your store. A labor management system can help you spend more time on the floor helping customers and less time in a back office creating schedules.
Improve Your Labor Coverage
With integrated sales forecasting, you can improve your store’s labor coverage and control your labor costs. When it comes to grocery stores, for example, labor scheduling is unique because stores have so many departments. Along with this, most shoppers will purchase items from several departments during each trip. This means that stores have to consider how to schedule staff in every department. Also, different departments, such as the deli, bakery and produce sections, have unique traffic flow patterns and tend to operate a little differently.
A store’s service departments are usually where staff can have the most impact on customers. This means that you’ll need to make sure that these departments are staffed to handle your store’s customer demand. A smart labor management platform like TimeForge can help you build a data driven schedule, based on your historical and predicted sales volumes. This type of software provides sales analytics and handles important metrics, like labor targets and labor budgets. That way, you’ll see how busy different departments are predicted to be, so you can plan how many people you need to cover them and when.
Handle Time Off Requests
A labor management system like TimeForge is designed to oversee the needs of your store along with what your employees want. Workers require time off. It’s important to make sure that they’re getting it when needed as long as the store has enough worker coverage.
One of the biggest complaints that hourly grocery store workers make is about irregular schedules. When you use shift scheduling software, you can handle labor demands more consistently. Decreasing shift irregularity improves the work/life balance for your staff, which is likely to make your workforce happier. They’ll be more likely to arrive for their shifts on time and provide better service to your customers.
Whatever scheduling software you choose, it needs to be able to handle the details of knowing when coverage is needed in a particular department, who is trained to work in each area, and when they are available. It should never schedule employees with approved time off.
Shift Scheduling Based on Skills, Positions, and Departments
Labor management software makes it easier to schedule your people based on a variety of meaningful criteria or day-to-day needs. It will arrange team members across different departments according to skill levels or positions. If you have a task management solution, you can assign them a variety of duties to complete during their shifts. These tools are especially handy if you cross-train your workers so that they have the skills to work efficiently in various departments.
Flexible scheduling will help you make the most of the hours that employees are supposed to work. One worker could spend a few hours covering the deli counter and then change gears to stock shelves for the remainder of their shift. Your staff probably won’t mind the change. Switching to different departments throughout the day often makes the hours pass more quickly. It also helps workers learn more about how the store operates, too.
Managing Labor Compliance
With TimeForge, it’s easy to track how many hours your employees are working. You can easily edit hours when your workers make mistakes and forget to report their hours or clock in. Our software will also help manage your store’s overtime hours. You can use it to determine how much overtime is feasible for your store and when it might be time to hire additional help. When it comes to overtime, you’ll also need to pay attention to your state’s labor laws and labor standards.
When paired with scheduling features, our time and attendance software makes schedule enforcement easier. You know that sometimes being late is out of an employee’s control, so you can set the system up to allow them to clock in a few minutes before the start of their shift or a few minutes after it. This is called a “grace period”. In TimeForge, you can enable and set grace periods to whatever best suits your business.
An online scheduling and attendance system should come with different clock-in and clock-out options, as well. With TimeForge, you can invest in fingerprint time clocks or use a mobile app. Offering your employees one or both options may help ensure scheduling compliance and make things easier for your human resources team.
Manage Employee Breaks
It can be a challenge for retail and grocery stores to track employee breaks. Some states, like California, have numerous regulations on breaks, which make tracking them even tougher. If your state determines that you’re not in compliance, then you may be charged a fine. Avoid these extra costs with smart labor management software. Our software will notify you if you’re not in compliance when it comes to overtime hours, split shifts, and back-to-back shifts.
You will also be able to schedule breaks and meal times for your staff consistently and easily. And you will be able to automatically compensate workers for missed meals or breaks. When it comes to holiday hours, these can be a pain since you’ll have to follow your company’s policies along with state laws. This is another area where software like TimeForge will help you avoid fines and penalties.
You’ll especially appreciate our scheduling software if you’re managing several different stores with floating staff. TimeForge can track different pay rates for different positions across different locations for you, ensuring your workers get paid correctly and that you remain in compliance.
Create Sales and Data Driven Schedules
Computer-generated scheduling can help ensure that a store is operating at peak efficiency. You can use sales data to confirm whether the hours that you had people scheduled in a particular area of the store at a particular time were warranted. This step will help you manage your store more efficiently in the future. It’s a good idea to review your store’s projected and actual sales regularly to make sure that you are hitting your labor targets and staying within budget.
TimeForge: Smart Labor Management Software for Retail and Grocery Businesses
Labor management software for retail and grocery stores is important for controlling costs while ensuring proper labor coverage. In the past, store managers planned schedules using paper, whiteboards, and Excel spreadsheets. They tracked work time using punch cards. These days, smartphones, apps, and the cloud make it much easier for you to oversee your store and employees with real time data.
In grocery and retail, employee scheduling can be one of the most time consuming things you have to do, but it doesn’t have to be difficult or time intensive at all.
Not only will a labor management system help ensure that your store has the coverage that it needs, but this type of system will also save you time and money. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Try TimeForge for free and start enjoying the benefits of our award-winning software right away!