Creating employee schedules can be a difficult challenge for any small business owner. A short staff on any day can overwhelm workers, clients, and business owners themselves, and overwhelmed employees can affect retention negatively.

Daisy's in Alameda, CA | Photo Credit: Daisy's

Barbara Mooney, owner of home accents shop Daisy’s in Alameda, recognized these challenges and changed her approach five years ago in scheduling her retail employees. Her innovative scheduling hack enables her employees to take some precious weekend time off, plus not cover any extra shifts herself. 

So, how does she do it?

The 2-1-1-0 approach

With four weekends in a month, Barbara creates schedules using her 2-1-1-0 approach. She believes that the strategy is a huge part of employee retention at Daisy’s, which averages about two years. Here's how it works:

Each month, Barbara schedules her employees to work...

  • 2 weekend days — once a month, an employee works on Saturday AND Sunday
  • 1 weekend day — twice a month, an employee works on Saturday OR Sunday
  • 0 weekend days — once a month, an employee receives an entire weekend off

To accommodate employees schedules, they may also choose to work a 2-2—two full weekends with two weekends off—if they’d like.

Not surprisingly, she says the predictability of her system and the time off on weekends boosts morale, happiness, and productivity in the workplace. “[The employees are] given the chance to explore their community, experience other small businesses, and try different products,” Barbara says.

This mutual sense of respect gives her team and business a chance to grow together because employees stay for a longer period of time (not to mention she rarely works a weekend that she shouldn’t be, which means more time to spend with her husband and their puppy!)

Photo Credit: Daisy's

Additional ways to increase employee retention

Not sure if this scheduling trick works for you? Scheduling can be difficult depending on the business and number of employees. Barbara offers more suggestions for what she believes has been critical, too, in maintaining high employee retention:

1. Create common goals

It’s more important for employees to create goals as a team, not as an individual. Competition with other people can create a hostile work environment.

2. Assign each employee a section of the store

“No matter how many inventory reports, I’m going to miss something,” Barbara says. To make sure all bases are covered, she delegates specific areas and sections for each employee to be in charge of.

3. Have regular mutual evaluations

Barbara checks in with her employees every other week for half-an-hour to ask about how things are going in their section and if any changes need to be made because “evaluating endows a sense of ownership.”

4. Respect staff time

In addition to the 2-1-1-0 approach, Barbara ensures that schedules are given to employees at least a month in advance so that they can plan around them.

5. Higher pay and good discounts

Employees love perks! Make sure they can benefit from your products and services.

And remember:  “On a day when you’re mad at everyone, just remember: you can’t run it by yourself,” said Barbara. “I know I can’t do it by myself, so my job is to help people rise to the top so that I can enjoy what comes with that.”


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