I think we all get fed up with scheduling every now and again…no matter what system we use. I know for me in the past I tried to accomodate every request out there even if it left me in a bind. Oddly enough I watched one of my store managers just say no, or find your own replacement and in time the crew and I realized they were requests. Since then I have changed, not the staff so much. Sure in the begining we lost some long time players who couldn’t adjust to the new way.
So the past couple of years the way we do it is:
We have a request area on the schedule. They are reminded they are requests only.
When we make the schedule if it works great, if not they have to find a replacement. They will usually wheel and deal with each other on changing a shift…I’ll work for you and you work for me on … Of course it has to be approved.
We try and keep an extra part timer around to help fill in areas. It is easier to send people home early than ask people to work.
As for things like prom…we take inventory about 4 weeks ahead of time of who needs off and post a notice that ALL employees are required to work regardless of their regular shift unless they are going to prom. The notice reads:
We are giving you 4 weeks notice that all employees are required to work April 25 regardless of regular shift. You have 4 weeks to arrange babysitting, transportation etc. No expceptions. Sign below that you have read and understand.
Then we over staff to cover the shift and send people home in case people call in/ quit. I don’t think it reasonable for me to think someone will miss prom to work, so we figure it out…ahead of time. In the past I have called in some old ex employees in to help if need be.
We also from time to time put on the schedule no request for …July 3. I do it well in advance. Also if too many people start requesting the same day off I put no more requests for May 3.
As for hiring, you might try putting up a new sign. Sometimes signs become part of the landscape if they are hung too long.
Another option for hiring is to ask your current great employees for a lead. I read an article by Big dave and that is how we came up with this idea…We ask employees if they know anyone who needs a job, if they are hired and work for 6 months they get 50 bucks. The employee becomes the mentor for this person while in training unless they are in a different area. We have got some great people this way.
It is okay to let your employees know in advance that if they are too sick to come to work they must have a doctor’s note. We have people try and call in withhout one, I tell them they can find someone or they better be here and usually the friday night bug they have disappears and they are healed by the time they come in.
I also tell the employees I would rather them call and be honest with me that so and so is having a party can I get off? If I can work it out or they can work it out fine or come in and cover the rush and they can leave early but don’t call and lie to me that gramma has died again. That is the end of their job.