Study: Flexible scheduling challenges are keeping store managers up at night

Discussion
Photo: RetailWire
Jun 22, 2022

A new survey finds that 63 percent of managers of hourly employees see control and input into work schedules as the greatest incentive for prospective employees they interview, followed by greater transparency into shift assignments and hours given (52.4 percent).

The survey of 505 managers and 1,016 hourly workers in the U.S. from the workforce management software firm, Legion Technologies, comes as the Great Resignation has put the spotlight on flexible work policies across industries.

Key manager survey findings in the report include:

  • Forty-two percent said managing call-outs and no-shows takes the most time and effort, a seven percent increase from last year’s findings.
  • Thirty-nine percent believe their employer could improve their experience by providing tools that make it easier to communicate with their team.
  • Managers overwhelmingly agree (84 percent) that efficiency and productivity would improve if they were able to communicate with employees through the same app that they use to view their schedules.

In the accompanying survey of hourly workers, 85 percent said it’s important to have schedule control. Other than pay, greater recognition and rewards are the incentives most likely to persuade hourly employees to leave and take a new job (58.3 percent), followed by the flexibility to pick up extra shifts and swap shifts (56.3 percent).

Amazon.com, Target and Starbucks are among a number of retailers over the last two years investing in adding more flexibility to work hours in the tight labor market.

Apple, according to Bloomberg News, in early June told store associates it would be providing longer breaks between shifts and more flexible scheduling in the face of unionizing efforts. The changes include imposing a limit of three days per week that workers are allowed to work past 8 p.m. and reducing the number of consecutive days they can be scheduled to work from six days in a row to five.

In February, Neiman Marcus said it had decreased its turnover rate by 20 percent over 2019, in large part by emphasizing flexible work schedules, including remote options.

[Legion will highlight the results of its findings during a live LinkedIn webcast on Wed., June 28 at noon eastern. Click here to register.]

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see providing store associates with more flexible scheduling as the key ingredient to greater retention and worker satisfaction? What is your advice for store managers around setting and adjusting work schedules?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"YES! Providing store associates with more flexible scheduling will give them more control over their time and result in more engaged and happier employees. "
"There is a serious lack of ways to make sure children in single or two parent households are well taken care of during work."
"Flexible scheduling is the largest key ingredient but not the only one. The survey omitted rating pay as a factor."

Join the Discussion!

6 Comments on "Study: Flexible scheduling challenges are keeping store managers up at night"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

YES! Providing store associates with more flexible scheduling will give them more control over their time and result in more engaged and happier employees. The trick is to align frontline labor to when shoppers are visiting the store, which is critical to maximizing conversion. Store managers need to watch their store traffic trends closely to ensure that they have coverage during peak traffic times, and then to make adjustments based on ever changing conditions. While this can be more challenging with flexible schedules, ultimately, happier employees will deliver better results.

DeAnn Campbell
BrainTrust

This is a job tailor made for AI. Schedule flexibility is absolutely essential for employee retention, especially in the high stress and often volatile environment of retail. Developing an intelligent automated system to manage scheduling requests will often pay for itself by avoiding over- or under-staffing, and giving staff more control over their own hours.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Managers must speak to upper management. If a new strategy is what you need to improve the issue, get together with management and ask them to come to the floor and see first hand the challenge. I really don’t think flexibility is going to go away. Be prepared.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

Flexible scheduling is the largest key ingredient but not the only one. The survey omitted rating pay as a factor. It did note, with that exception, that there were two others the respondents rated at over 50 percent. What this does indicate is that the most important factor varies between employees. That being said, for the vast majority of employees flexible scheduling has gone from something they want to something they require. Companies need to find a way to fulfill that requirement.

Joan Treistman
BrainTrust

There is a serious lack of ways to make sure children in single or two parent households are well taken care of during work. It’s a dominant issue for deciding where to work and what hours are an option. Store associates probably know this and their managers have to integrate this reality into their work schedules.

Carlos Arambula
BrainTrust

It’s one of several variables that will affect retention.

The pandemic and loss of employment brought new candidates into retail that were not available before. The maturity and discipline will be an asset to retail managers if they recognize the need for a flexible work schedule. Moreover, it might help them retain them after the economy picks up and their non-retail jobs become an option once more.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"YES! Providing store associates with more flexible scheduling will give them more control over their time and result in more engaged and happier employees. "
"There is a serious lack of ways to make sure children in single or two parent households are well taken care of during work."
"Flexible scheduling is the largest key ingredient but not the only one. The survey omitted rating pay as a factor."

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