Do you own or operate a retail or restaurant company? Perhaps your store sells collectibles, health food products, cell phone accessories or curtains and rugs. Regardless of the goods being offered, tightly controlling your labor expenses in the current economic climate is crucial to generate a profit. Relevant employee expenses including payroll costs, training, and turnover should be properly managed. With the proper procedures and a set of tools to assist with the complex chore of managing labor, your business can increase profitability.

One key to managing a labor force properly is to schedule part-time and full-time employees before they are needed for work (a theoretical work schedule), and then track the scheduled work against when employees clock-in and clock-out (the actual worked hours), a process known actual vs. theoretical, or AvT.   Good managers reduce the difference (variance) between the Actual hours worked and the Theoretical schedule, while maximizing the sales for the business.

Improper labor scheduling will lead to one of two circumstances for your business:

  1. Too many employees are scheduled to work, increasing payroll costs, and reducing profits.   Alternatively, employees are sent home (or cut from the schedule) without working hours they were promised on the schedule.
  2. Too few employees are scheduled to work, decreasing the number of sales that are made, and reducing profits.

Neither option is desirable, and the key to avoiding both situations is to monitor and refine the AvT at your business.

Smart managers constantly balance employee satisfaction against the needs of the business in an effort to keep payroll costs down, reduce turnover, and increase profits.   Turnover is extremely expensive, and a 2004 study by the Employment Policy Foundation found that the average turnover cost of a single full-time employee is $13,355.   To recover from the effects of the turnover of a single full-time employee, a retail store would need to sell more than 3,000 pairs of khakis priced at $35 each.   A restaurant would need to sell more than 7,613 children’s combo meals at $2.50 each.

One way to reduce turnover at your store is to implement a labor scheduling tool such as TimeForge, an online employee scheduling solution.

Peter Edwards, owner of Zeb’s General Store in North Conway, New Hampshire knows that proper employee scheduling is key to managing a retail business, especially a seasonal business. Peter chose TimeForge to help him manage full-time and part-time shift labor at his store. reducing employee turnover and lowering labor costs. Peter uses templates in TimeForge to rapidly build schedules for his business, and TimeForge automatically emails and text messages the schedule to his employees on a daily basis , notifying employees of their upcoming work schedule and keeping his staff happy.

Peter had this to say about TimeForge:

I own a retail company.   We employ 15 full time employees, and between 5 and 15 part time employees depending upon our season.   I signed up for the 90 day trial period and have been using the TimeForge program for about 45 days.   I have found the program to be easy to use and it hits the mark with respect to our staff scheduling needs.   The email notification aspect of the program is a great feature that I am sure our employees will like.

The most important aspect of TimeForge is the incredible customer support.   Responses to the help menu item are emailed within 24 hours, and a live person actually answers the phone to respond to your questions.   I look forward to using TimeForge and would be pleased to talk with any prospective user of the scheduling program.

If you would like to see what TimeForge can do for your restaurant, hospitality, or retail business, then please sign up today for a free trial or contact our sales department for more information about TimeForge.

How long does it take to make an employee schedule for your employees? It should take less than 5 minutes! Did you know that TimeForge can minimize costs and increase profits through effective employee scheduling at your pizza, restaurant, hotel, bar, club, or retail business. Sign up today for a free trial!

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