Analysis: 5 Reasons New Overtime Rules Could Affect Your Stores

Are store managers working longer or just spending more time at work?

Linda McKenna, Principal, Employee Performance Strategies Inc.

Time clock

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- “We’re going to update those overtime rules to restore that basic principle that if you have to work more, you should be able to earn more.” With that recent statement, President Obama set in motion a change to that will likely require revisions to the payroll in convenience stores across the country.

Today, anyone considered management making at least $455 per week is not eligible for overtime pay, even though they might work more than 50 hours. That rule is expected to change, with specifics will be announced in the fall.

What does this mean for convenience retailers, and what can you do to prepare for a change that could very well could impact your profit margins? You work hard controlling overtime at the associate level; now you may be faced with controlling it at the store-manager level.

Adding Up the Hours

Before assuming people are working and not getting paid for it, the first question you should ask is "Why?" Why does it take some managers longer than others to do the same job?

I spend most of my days in a classroom environment with managers and supervisors, and the information I learn is invaluable. In our Personal Effectiveness class, which covers time management, I'm amazed at the answer I get to the question "How many hours do you work a day?" The answers range from eight hours to 12. This could cost you under the new rule.

Below are a few reasons why some managers spend more time at the store than others. (Note: I didn't say working longer; I said spending more time. Some are working longer, but some are just taking longer to do the job, thus spending more time as a result of poor work habits.)

1.     Because They Can. Some organizations measure manager hours, but few actually address the issue with managers as to why they're spending so much time at the store. Sometimes it's actually looked at as a sign of commitment, a commitment that now may cost you. Should they be managing if they can't get the job done in the normal work hours?

2.     Poor Planning. Most managers don't use a "to-do list." It's in their head or on Post-It notes everywhere, which leads to forgetting or procrastinating. This results in fire drills and extra hours to get something done.

3.     Time Targets. Have you determined how long it should take a manager to do certain tasks and have you shared that information? It's amazing how some managers can do the daily report in 20 minutes and others do it in an hour. Why? Because they've never been given an expected time target to hit. A time goal helps them stay focused and motivated to work toward completion.

4.     Lack of Delegation. Managers try to do it all while their staff hugs the register between customers. Not only are they doing tasks their staff should be doing, they're also not offloading some managerial functions to assistants to develop them. Insecurity leads managers to horde the power, which leaves them more work to do. Managers need help learning how to delegate but still maintain accountability.

5.     Smoke Breaks. Need I say more? (Just image adding up all the time spent on smoke breaks.)

Job Shadowing

Here's an idea that will be very informative. Have the supervisor arrive at the store unannounced at a manager's start time. The entire day the supervisor is to only shadow the manager. They can't play boss and take the manager away from their normal course of work and pace. This process will help you discover areas where the store manager can improve efficiency, and you'll be surprised at how many of the 12-hour managers are able to get the job done in eight hours when their supervisor is watching.

The new overtime rule is coming, so take the time now to coach your managers and provide them the tools to get the job done in eight hours.

Linda McKenna By Linda McKenna, Principal, Employee Performance Strategies Inc.
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