Data-based scheduling empowers employees to hone their talents by putting them in a position to shine within your company.

When you hear the word “data,” the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t an engaged and self-actualized workforce. Yet that’s exactly what data-based scheduling can help you build. Contrary to popular belief, employees don’t want to be paid just to stand around. In fact, according to The Energy Project, “employees who derive meaning and significance from their work are more than three times as likely to stay with their organizations.” Data-based scheduling empowers employees to hone their talents by putting them in a position to shine within your company.

Boost employee retention

Increasing employee engagement is far more cost-efficient than hiring and training new employees. According to Josh Bersin of Deloitte, losing an employee can cost a business anywhere from $10,000 to as much as two times that employee’s yearly salary. Management has to hire and train a new workforce when employees jump ship, which leads to decreased customer service and decreased productivity.

Luckily, retail executives are getting hip to the concept of increasing profits through employee retention. In fact, in a recent Deloitte survey nearly 80 percent of retail executives listed employee engagement as “very important.” Retailers can use data-based scheduling software to monitor which employees leave the company, to give them a better feel for what is contributing to their company’s loss of employees.

The following tips will help you create an engaged workforce and reduce employee turnover through data-based scheduling.

Tip #1: Reduce staffing errors with intuitive schedules

When retailers create schedules without referencing store data, they wind up paying for more hourly employees than necessary to staff their sales floor. Overstaffing can lead to an intimidating environment for customers, who might wander into a retail store only to be pounced on by multiple employees with nothing else to do. According to a recent study by the University of North Carolina, retail stores are overstaffed 52.83 percent of the time. Having too many employees on the floor also creates a competitive sales environment that is not a comfortable place for employees or for customers.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, understaffing leads to overworked employees and dissatisfied customers. The same study by the University of North Carolina says stores are understaffed 32.88 percent of the time.

"Overstaffing can lead to an intimidating environment for customers, who might wander into a retail store only to be pounced on by multiple employees with nothing else to do."

Data-based scheduling provides a viable solution to staffing errors by using sales data and headcounts to forecast store traffic. By creating a scheduling algorithm catered to your store’s unique traffic patterns, scheduling software ensures you have exactly as many employees on the schedule as needed to optimize productivity in your store.

Tip #2: Plan ahead for sales and weather

There’s a direct correlation between fluctuations in weather and store traffic. According to Business.com, an early snowstorm or drop in temperatures can bring customers into stores in droves to stock up on cold weather merchandise. Likewise, Business.com also states that customers are less likely to visit physical stores during rainy or gloomy days, when they’re more inclined to stay in and do their shopping online.

According to a recent study by the International Journal of Retail, 45 percent of customers will not go shopping when it is snowing, 37 percent won’t go shopping when it’s raining, 35 percent won’t go shopping in severe cold, and 30 percent won’t go shopping in extreme heat. With access to proper data, retailers can plan ahead for fluctuations in weather with events and promotions which can help keep store traffic steady even when the weather gets unpredictable.

Other variables which can affect store traffic are in-store sales and seasonal holidays, which can both cause a large spike in sales followed by a slight decrease in store traffic. However, you can maximize profits and decrease unnecessary wage spend during seasonal holidays and in-store sales with data-based schedules that take all of the variables into account. For retailers that aren’t big fans of spreadsheets, Humanity is a great alternative to spreadsheets, with easy in-app employee scheduling that syncs up with your store’s existing retail calendar.

Tip #3: Recruit talent with flexible hours

It’s no secret that younger workers comprise a large portion of the retail workforce. In fact, 31 percent of all workers in the retail clothing business are under 24 years old. Between school and extracurriculars, young workers have lots of demands on their time that can conflict with their work schedules. The flexibility of a part-time or seasonal schedule appeals to younger workers, who need jobs which won’t conflict with their outside commitments in order to remain engaged and adhere to laws about employing minors.

Of course, younger workers aren’t the only candidates for flex positions: retirees, working parents, young adults and die-hard brand fans also require flexible hours. In fact, according to Forbes, 46 percent of employees say flexibility is the most important factor they take into consideration when looking for a new job.

With data-based scheduling, store managers can take into account the seniority, skill sets, and job requirements of each employee, as well as put them on the schedule during the times they’re proven to be most effective. Employees are the most engaged when they have the opportunity to be productive and data-based scheduling keeps them engaged by staffing the right amount of people at the times when they are the most needed. Data-based scheduling takes all factors into consideration, empowering retail employees by giving them the opportunity to stand out while contributing to your business’ success!