How to get shop staffing right

Whether it’s managing your rotas or not stretching overheads, the betterRetailing team discovers how stores are getting staffing right in difficult circumstances

Shop staff

1Conrad Davies, Spar Y Maes, Pwllheli, Gwynedd

“Getting staffing levels right is a real challenge, but we will always have a minimum of three members of staff working – and that would be during the quieter times, after 6pm. Normally, we will have a lot more.

“This means we have two members of staff on the counter and one on the shopfloor. That minimum is important from a security point of view.

“It is difficult to get new staff of the right calibre, so we work hard to maintain the customer service levels that I expect. One thing I have started to do is to arrange deliveries for the evening. This allows us to replenish stock during a quieter period, in time for the morning. We have also had to make some difficult decisions. We have closed the store early a few times, including our from-scratch bakery, which was operating in our Pwllheli store until 18 months ago.”

2Joe Williams, The Village Shop & Post Office (Spar), Hook Norton, Oxfordshire

“We use the RotaCloud tool to organise our staffing hours. Our team download the app and request leave, swap shifts with other colleagues where needed, and it automatically keeps a record. Everything then goes to either me or my manager to approve, which helps us to keep track.

“I’m also able to adjust the tool to parameters we set around swapping shifts or requesting holidays.

“When our staff have arranged a shift swap, it reminds them an hour before their shift starts, so we don’t have any issues with people forgetting what hours they are doing.

“Prior to this, we were doing everything manually on spreadsheets or staff would leave notes on my desk asking to swap a shift or request holiday. Back then it would probably take two-to-three hours of my time each week. Now, it takes approximately 15 minutes.”

3Bay Bashir, Go Local Extra Belle Vue Convenience, Middlesbrough

“It can really help your business to employ more young people. The difference in wage between someone who is under 18 or above 25 is very significant, which will only grow in importance as the National Minimum Wage increases in April.

“During the pandemic, there weren’t as many opportunities for young people in hospitality and other jobs they traditionally apply for.

“With so many changes to hourly wages coming in and the need to maintain a gap between wages, especially if they are of a higher level within the business, employing young people has made a significant difference to our overhead costs.

“We’ve found younger people bring fresh ideas and new perspectives to the business. If you listen to them, implement their ideas and show them respect, they can become really valuable members of the team.”

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