Effective employee scheduling is very important for the growth of any business. Research has shown that good employee scheduling can boost job satisfaction. When managers and employees have a balanced schedule, they are happier and thus more productive.
However, when you are starting, employee scheduling can appear to be a daunting task. Here are 8 tips for effective employee scheduling:
Understand the seasons
Almost every industry changes seasonally. For instance, the travel industry is busier during summer than during winter. Employee scheduling requires you to understand how demand fluctuates in your industry. This way, you can ensure that you have adequate staff for each season.
If you are new the business, you can talk to other business owners or do online research to understand the seasons. However, if you’ve been in business for at least one year, simply look at past trends. Whatever option you decide to pursue, be sure to get your math right. Poor scheduling will leave customers dissatisfied and result in loss of sales.
Know your business
When creating a schedule, you need to consider things such as your budget, your employees’ rates of pay and the times when you need most staff at work. All these will vary depending on the kind of business you operate.
For instance, if you run a coffee house, then you might need to schedule more employees in the mornings when the number of customers is high. However, you will also need to consider your budget to avoid spending too much on the payroll.
When scheduling, you should also consider how many full-time workers and part-time workers you have. If you depend mainly on part-time workers, think about how many hours each employee should be scheduled for. This scheduling needs to be aligned with the company policy as well as the state scheduling laws.
Know your team
A great schedule should not only benefit your business but your staff members as well. When creating a schedule, you need to also consider your employees’ work and skills preference. You could survey to find out their preferred working hours. For instance, some employees might prefer to work the early morning shift to leave early to pick their kids from school. As often as possible, allow them to work that shift. This will create job satisfaction and boost productivity.
Have an effective system of communication
Teams work well when there is an effective system of communication. You need to ensure that everyone in the team is aware of the latest developments at all times. For instance, if some tasks were left unfinished in one shift, the employees coming in for the next shift should be informed early enough so they’re fully prepared. Or perhaps your team would like to organize a visit to a sick colleague in hospital. Creating an effective system of communication will avoid confusion and boost morale in the workplace. The good news is that there are numerous tools out there that come with great collaboration features.
Allow employees to request changes
Thought you may want your staff members to work their scheduled shifts, it won’t always be possible. Good managers should be able to make provision for emergencies that arise and affect the employee’s ability to work.
One way of dealing with this is to have a group of workers that are flexible enough to move to a different shift when necessary. Alternatively, you could create a company policy that allows employees to adjust their schedule whenever they have emergencies. This is why it is important to have an effective system of communication.
Use the right tools
Creating a schedule involves a lot of factors, some of which change every week. The good news is that you don’t have to create schedules using pen and paper, or even using Excel spreadsheets. There is a wide range of employee scheduling software options that can help automate and streamline your scheduling activities.
Make your schedules both flexible and predictable
Your employees will want to have some level of predictability in their schedule. Therefore, don’t make the mistake of creating schedules that differ wildly from one week to another. Giving your employees a level of consistency in their schedule will enable them to have a healthy work-life balance, which will boost their productivity.
However, a healthy work-life balance also requires a level of flexibility in your schedules. A recent Global Talent Trends study revealed that more than 50% of employees desire to have more flexibility in their work. This could be in the form of flexible schedules or telecommuting. Flexibility has been proven to boost mental well being, reduce workplace stress and encourage productivity.
Therefore, you need to find a way to balance both flexibility and predictability to reduce employee turnover.
Make the schedule easily accessible
Giving staff members easy access to the schedule will ensure that no one misses their shift. You need to post the schedule one or weeks in advance so everyone sees it and plans ahead. The schedule should be posted in a place where everyone can see it.
A tool with an automated scheduling feature will come in handy for this. Automated scheduling allows you to streamline the scheduling process while giving your team access remotely. Everyone will be able to see the updated version from anywhere and at any time.
No employee scheduling strategy works perfectly from the start. Therefore, don’t be too hard on yourself when you make mistakes. You might need to go through a trial and error period before getting things right. Listen to your employees and find out what they need. The better you become at employee scheduling, the happier your customers and employees will be.
Charles Mburugu is a HubSpot-certified content writer/marketer for B2B, B2C and SaaS companies. He has worked with brands such as GetResponse, Neil Patel, Shopify, 99 Designs, Oberlo, Salesforce, and Condor. Check out his portfolio and connect on LinkedIn.