The nation’s biggest private employer is about to revamp the way it schedules its work force, in a move that could shake up many employees’ lives.Early this year, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., using a new computerized scheduling system, will start moving many of its 1.3 million workers from predictable shifts to a system based on the number of customers in stores at any given time. The move promises greater productivity and customer satisfaction for the huge retailer but could be a major headache for employees.
If not handled carefully this seems like it could have a heavy negative impact on employee satisfaction. Hourly employees report high dissatisfaction with flexible scheduling (How do you coordinate child care, school pick-up, doctor’s appointments, etc. if you don’t know when you will be working?) and this is likely to make it worse.
With few exceptions (see Costco) retailers suffer from very high turnover which imposes a heavy cost in terms of customer service and productivity. Will the benefits of increased use of flexible scheduling outweigh the costs? I wonder.