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Efficient WFM in supermarkets during the holidays

Supermarket holidays

The holidays are just around the corner, and in the supermarket world this means one thing: crowds! As a WFM expert, I know how important it is to be well prepared. In this blog, I dive into the art of managing your staff during this hectic period. Everything from setting deadlines for vacation requests to smart use of part-timers and forecasting. Read on for practical tips and tricks! 

The basics: deadlines for vacation requests 

Let's start at the beginning: vacation requests. Because as the holidays approach, it is important to set clear deadlines for vacation requests. Why? Well, simply put, it prevents last-minute problems in your schedule. By communicating a clear cut-off date, you as a scheduler will have plenty of time to complete the schedule and fill in any gaps. 

Flexible forces 

Those possible gaps in your schedule mainly occur during the holidays because your "regular" employees want more time off and because you also need more people on the floor in the supermarket. Part-timers, helpers and on-call workers are your salvation then because they offer you much-needed flexibility. Often they want to work precisely during the holidays so they are excellent to use at these kinds of peak times. However, it is important to manage these flex workers well. Make sure they are aware of what tasks/work they have to do and what the time frame of that is. 

Also interesting: "A good balance between permanent and flexible employees (" (blog)


Forecasting involves predicting the future, so to speak. This is, especially for supermarkets, an essential part of modern WFM. By using historical sales data, you can reasonably accurately estimate what customer flows will be. With this knowledge, you can optimize your staffing - not too much, not too little, but just right. 

Communication is key 

Perhaps an open door, but communicating clearly with your team is crucial, especially during the busy holiday season. Ensure a clear transmission of information and expectations. A well-informed team is an efficient team. By using a WFM system with an employee app, such as the R&R Job App, your employees always have their schedule up-to-date in their pocket. This way, staff always know when, what time and in what department they are scheduled to work. In addition, offering shifts through schedule swapping in the Job App can help during this busy period, while keeping the scheduling process well secured. 

Take care of your team 

Last but not least: the well-being of your team. The holidays can be stressful, so it's important to keep an eye on the workload and well-being of your staff. A happy team makes for better performance. In addition, customers may also be a bit more high-strung due to the rush. By training your staff in customer service and product knowledge in a timely manner, you ensure that they can handle this effortlessly as well, and you'll have happy customers!  


Managing and planning supermarket staff during the holidays can be a daunting task, but the right preparation and forecasting will get you a long way. The key to success during the holidays lies in a well-planned team. It's about assigning the right employee to the right job at the right time, at an appropriate cost hourly rate. In other words, working efficiently! 

Good luck and happy holidays! 

Stef van Dijk
About the author Stef van Dijk

Stef van Dijk has extensive experience in supermarkets and knows the food retail industry inside and out. Stef writes blogs on all relevant issues around workforce management and food retail.

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