There are a host of excellent cutting-edge labor scheduling programs available for convenience store retailers today, but they can’t do the job all by themselves.
Labor scheduling programs need to be part of an overall human resources strategy designed to minimize lateness, absenteeism and turnover while fostering responsibility and punctuality among employees who too often and for various reasons may not be as reliable as employers would wish.
Add to that at-times inconsistent unit-level management and overly-generous unemployment payments that make working a caprice for many and it becomes clear that effective labor management actually begins much earlier – with the screening of job applicants.
The need for maximizing labor efficiency — from anticipating shifts with higher foot traffic, preventing overscheduling and unnecessary overtime and abiding by state labor laws to accounting for employee availability, tracking of vacation, sick and other leave times, and distributing schedules in real-time to all staff members — is arguably greater than ever. The ability to eliminate back-office paper schedules, hastily scribbled sticky notes and ignored email threads is another reason to get scheduling under control.
Choosing a labor management platform with tools for shift management, scheduling, messaging and time clocking can prove essential, and operators can always find one that matches their budgetary, operability, adaptability, flexibility, staff size and follow-up maintenance and service needs.
But the human element is, more often than not, is the really tricky part — so doing better there is critical. While many c-stores will admit to taking nearly any applicant they can get, avoiding bad hires can save prodigious amounts of time and trouble. However, while it is as important a corporate function as any, not all companies do it effectively.
A place to start is keying in on what the candidate tells you about himself. For example:
- Did he show up on time for the interview?
- Did the candidate fill out the application correctly and completely? If not, he may not be good at following directions or paying attention to detail.
- Does he have strong communication skills?
- Did he wear the appropriate attire to the interview?
- Was he polite and courteous?
- How was his tone of voice? Excited? Surprised? Energetic? Pleasant?
- Does he have control issues?
Avoiding hiring the wrong people at the outset can render even the best labor scheduling program far more effective.