November 2, 2022

Eliminate Retail Employee Scheduling Frustrations with AI


Does this scenario sound familiar? Your old manager had been with you for years, and she seemed to know how many people would walk through the doors every hour, every day, for the busiest two weeks of back-to-school season. Now, you have a new manager who never worked back-to-school with you. The last thing you want is for them to schedule too few people and have customers complaining about long lines or just going elsewhere to shop. By the time that new manager figures out the optimal shift schedule, the crowds are gone, and now you have employees standing around at empty registers wondering why they had to work back-to-back shifts.

Scheduling retail employee shifts is often a difficult and thankless task. While intuition and experience are invaluable, what happens when that person moves on? How do you remember Catherine needs every other Wednesday afternoon off to help at her kids’ school, while Anthony is happiest when he can mix and match shifts according to his band’s schedule?

Retail Shift Scheduling is Getting More Complicated

The above scenario is just one small example. The problem is widespread, and getting scheduling right is becoming increasingly critical. Every time you go online, you see another news story about the retail turnover rate’s continued climb and how it’s a job seeker’s market. The last thing you want is to have great employees quit because of frequent scheduling mishaps.

For businesses like yours, where you are juggling full-time, part-time, hourly and salaried employees, fluctuating seasonal demand and compliance with jurisdictional laws or policies, you need a demand-driven solution. One that does the heavy lifting for you so you can focus on your business and your customers.

A scheduling solution powered by artificial intelligence (AI) is the perfect tool for your complex scheduling needs. AI isn’t meant to replace the human scheduler; its role is that of an assistant to help with tasks that humans find challenging.

For example, AI is great at remembering years of historical data and complex rule sets and then quickly applying that knowledge to create an ideal schedule. It also excels at taking in large quantities of permutations—like employees’ different shift preferences, skills they possess, and even when they have band practice or need to be at their children’s school—and calculating a solution.

Humanity Scheduling Backed by AI

Humanity Scheduling can do all this and so much more. Yet, instead of making the retail scheduler’s job more complex, it makes their job easier. Let’s consider the back-to-school rush scenario above and make it even more complicated by spreading the same problem across twenty or more locations.

Because you are using Humanity Scheduling with its powerful artificial intelligence capabilities, you’re not even the slightest bit worried. You no longer rely on an individual’s knowledge accumulated over the years to ensure that shifts are adequately staffed. You can auto-fill schedules no matter how complex your scheduling rules are. Last-minute changes can be relayed to employees via their mobile phones or even their Apple Watch.

You can empower your employees to co-own the shift planning process by allowing them to input their availability. They can also use the app to swap shifts without involving a manager. That is because AI is busy working behind the scenes to ensure the scheduling process is not compromised.

By giving your employees part ownership of their shift scheduling, they get the flexibility they desire, and you get a firmer commitment that they will show up. You are providing the work-life balance they are looking for, and they are making the scheduler’s job much more manageable.

Chances are, minors are a key part of your retail outlets labor force, but they also bring special requirements. The ability to easily create Custom Rules ensures your business complies with all labor laws and accommodates the matching of schedules with school calendars.

Wouldn’t it be nice to fill open positions quickly because word on the street is that your organization is well-run, flexible and understands that employees have a life outside work?

We’ve just touched on the tip of the iceberg of benefits provided by Humanity. If an AI-powered employee-scheduling system sounds like something your organization could benefit from, you can read more about it here.