The end of the financial year (EOFY) is almost here, an opportunity for retailers looking to clear old stock and attract shoppers hunting for a bargain.

Some stores start sales as early as late May, so now’s the time for business owners and managers to get ready for the influx of customers that EOFY deals attract.

Here are some tips for brick-and-mortar retailers preparing for the 2024 EOFY sales frenzy.

Roster well in advance

Scheduling shifts may feel like a chore, but clear rosters created and shared with plenty of notice before the EOFY sales period are an asset.

The sooner a roster is shared with staff, the more leeway there is to manage inevitable shift changes and find replacements. Having an open shifts system in place that alerts employees to available shifts that they can cover a first come, first served basis helps to alleviate some of the stress from inevitable no-shows.

Developing a roster earlier also means there’s more time to hire staff on a casual basis to support during EOFY sales.

Casuals are a valuable component of the retail workforce in Australia to fill vacant shifts, particularly during peak sales periods. Therefore, they should be adequately factored into planning.

While casual contracts differ from permanent or contracted workers, they can still work overtime. During EOFY sales, it’s almost always necessary for staff to work longer hours.

How much overtime a casual employee can work depends on which award covers them, but overtime typically kicks in when a casual has worked:

  • More than 38 hours in a week
  • More than a certain number of hours in a day
  • Outside the daily spread of hours listed in the applicable award

Knowing what constitutes overtime for casuals and permanent staff when making rosters, in addition to tracking overtime wages correctly, will prevent unwelcome surprises in the form of higher-than-expected labour costs come pay day. 

Creating rosters manually can be time-consuming and opens businesses up to a greater likelihood of human error. Calling around last minute to find a replacement on a busy shopping day because of a rostering slip-up is the last thing that retail managers need.

Digital rostering can help to prevent errors, save time, and streamline shift changes.

Manage overtime and breaks correctly

The Fair Work Act and industry awards, including the General Retail Industry Award, outline the legal requirements retailers must adhere to when creating rosters to comply with workplace legislation in Australia. This includes stating when employees take their breaks and how long they are. 

It’s common for employees to skip breaks or delay taking them if they are run off their feet, especially during extended trading hours when it’s easier to deprioritise them or push them back to later in the day.

However, tired workers are not only less productive than if they had stopped to recharge and refuel—they are also more likely to make a mistake or have an accident.

Encourage staff to look after themselves and prioritise their wellbeing by taking their regular and rostered breaks, sticking as close to the roster as possible.

Thorough inductions for new starters and refresher training for existing employees

Induct any new casuals in the same way that a permanent employee would be. This will help them to hit the ground running and establish a strong relationship from day one, which is foundational for reliability.

Focus on key areas that will enable casuals to be productive and contribute effectively during their potentially short tenure. Offer job-specific training on company policies, procedures, equipment usage, safety, and essential job skills, utilising a mix of hands-on training, online resources, and mentorship for effective knowledge transfer.

It’s worthwhile to conduct similar but condensed refresher training for existing employees to prepare them as best as possible for the busier trading period.

Employers who are unsure of their obligations when it comes to employee pay entitlements and rostering should seek professional advice when planning for EOFY sales.

Mollie Eckersley is head of operations at BrightHR.