We continue to see companies stumble with fair scheduling practices, failing to strike a balance between proper store coverage and maintaining reasonable hours for their associates. Media outlets have cited a number of issues that workers have been faced with as a result, including instances of “clopening,” which is just one potential byproduct of inefficient schedule management.
“Clopening” is when the person assigned to close a store at the end of the day is the same one scheduled for the opening shift first thing the next morning. This quick turnaround leaves little time for personal commitments, let alone sleep. Often compounding this is the slow delivery of schedule information, with less than a week in advance reported at some workplaces. When you consider that many associates are also trying to manage college classes, daycare needs, doctor appointments, or other time-sensitive activities, these practices are especially troubling – and we think unnecessarily so.
Our experts work with clients every day to develop solutions that ensure better management of their associate’s time, and we have seen a number of strategies that have helped improve job satisfaction and engagement statistics. One major retailer has even eliminated words like “clopening” from their vocabulary altogether.
Assign dedicated openers and closers
The company mentioned above began their initiative by hiring people specifically as openers and closers, then optimized their schedules through their workforce management (WFM) solution. For example, the system only created shifts between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. five days a week for those defined as closers. When moving to this model, they reported that their engagement rates for full-time employees increased by 18% in the pilot stores.
Additionally, that engagement rating went up even further across their part-time staff, as it allowed them to easily take a second job or plan their class schedules, thanks to the knowledge that they would always work either day or night shifts. The response was encouraging enough for the company to start rolling out this method to a full region of stores.
Create more full-time positions
In an effort to improve both retention rates and schedule fairness, a major grocery client of ours has also announced that they will be moving from 70% part-time employees to as low as 55-60%. Their philosophy is that full-time workers will have greater job satisfaction thanks in part to their status change, but also because of the more predictable schedules they receive as a result.
Additionally, they believe that with a powerful WFM system in place, it will help them continue to refine high schedule efficiency to a degree they never could have done manually – a move that has the ability to influence better customer service and higher conversion rates.
Respect fuels productivity and sales
Respecting your associate’s time is an important concern for any company, and one that can be effectively resolved with the correct processes in place. A well-orchestrated schedule takes unnecessary burden off of both managers and employees, and organizations that aren’t prioritizing the care of their associates are losing out on a unique impact to company culture.
We count on predictable schedules for everything from air travel to movie screenings, so why is it still so hard for some workplaces? Thankfully more and more business leaders are seeing that by investing in the right strategy and technology solution, they can easily implement an initiative that doesn’t just impact the happiness and loyalty of their talent, but also their long-term profitability.