Retail staffing refers to the strategic hiring, scheduling, and placing of retail team members to maximize productivity, output, and revenues while minimizing cost, friction, and waste.
In considering the best approach to retail staffing for your company, there are two main factors to keep in mind.
In properly staffing your organization, it’s important to think in terms of both quality and quantity.
With regard to quantity, you’ll need to have a sufficient number of individuals working within your various teams. Hire too few, and certain tasks won’t get done; hire too many, and you’ll be wasting valuable capital on redundant employees.
In fact, Wharton reports that understaffing and undertraining retail employees has played a major role in profit loss in recent years.
Moreover, you want to assign your various team members to tasks that best fit their skills, abilities, and qualifications. In turn, you’ll know that each of your employees is able to operate to their highest capacity — and in doing so, increase production for your company.
Just as demand for certain products ebbs and flows over time, so too should your retail company’s approach to staffing.
Overall, the idea is to have sufficient staff in the right place, at the right time.
In terms of place, we may be referring to the strategic placement of team members within your physical store and its departments or to sufficient staffing of multiple locations (taking into consideration foot traffic to each).
Regarding timing, contextual planning involves creating flexible staffing schedules based on times of above or below-average productivity. This is to be done on both a micro level (i.e., providing adequate staffing for your busy hours of the day, or busy days of the week), and on a macro level (e.g., increasing staff numbers during the holiday rush).