Retailers have to make sure they have enough staff to serve customers without losing profits to overtime. To do this, begin by setting the appropriate staffing levels, including the proper mix of full-time and part-time staffers. Then familiarize yourself with all the state employment laws pertaining to work hours, employee leave, overtime pay, and benefits. Finally, plan ahead for the busier times of the year (such as holidays) when you may have more customers, even as your employees need to take time off for vacations, final exams (if you employ students), or caring for children who are out of school.
Once you’ve devised your schedule, let employees know your rules about changes to it. Can they trade shifts with one another? How long are lunch breaks? How flexible will you be about changing their hours? How much advance notice do you expect if an employee will be missing a shift? Retail turnover can be high and training staff takes time, so it often pays to be flexible. The best advice is to plan ahead and ask your employees to do the same. That way you won’t find yourself suddenly short-staffed.
For more on employee schedules, be sure to read Design an Employee Schedule That Works.