How Starbucks started taking their schedules seriously…and why you should too

by | 22.09.2015

The best schedules deliver two things; they ensure a business maximises profit while at the same time keeping the workforce happy and motivated.

At first glance, these two outcomes seem to be coming from opposite sides of the spectrum. To maximise profits businesses have to adopt schedules that are dynamic, flexible and efficient. This type of scheduling doesn’t always work in harmony with employees who crave stability and regular working hours.

Workforce management software helps companies take the guesswork out of scheduling. Through analysis of different data streams, and by using historical data and forecast modules, it can optimise schedules for each day of the year to ensure companies are working efficiently and productively in order to maximise profits.

For many businesses, especially retailers and hospitality businesses, the workforce is the biggest controllable cost and being able to optimise it through automated scheduling is a dream come true for managers. They are able to react to instant demands, seasonal changes and sales patterns with a few clicks of the mouse to create the perfect schedule.

However, as Starbucks found in the USA, a constantly changing schedule dictated by the management and by software can make it miserable for workers. The sheer unpredictability of the scheduling, with hours ranging from 40 to 15 to zero for some employees, meant it was impossible for workers to plan their lives.

 

Striking a balance

A group of Starbucks employees set up an online petition last year calling on the company to change their scheduling practices. They said: ‘We often get our schedules less than a week in advance — that’s not nearly enough to plan for childcare, another job, or school… or enough to cover our bills.

‘There’s no reason why our work schedules can’t be as consistent as our loyal customers who line up for their morning Venti soy latte.’

After a feature in The New York Times, Starbucks agreed to revise its policy of the way it schedules its 130,000 workers, realising the importance in having a happy and motivated workforce.

They have two needs they need to fulfil; the need to have a schedule that delivers for the business and the need to take care of their employees. In order to do this, they have to use the same workforce management software to empower their staff to control their own schedules.

As noted in the Harvard Business Review: “Ultimately, the success of scheduling systems depends on whether they serve as tools for or against the workers.

“In many ways, data-driven scheduling software is attractive to retailers because it gives them unprecedented transparency. But the ultimate success of these systems depends on this same transparency being available to employees as well.”

 

A new approach

This is why Quinyx will tell all employees when there are available shifts, allowing them to claim the shifts that fit in best for them and choose the hours they work. Quinyx will optimise the schedule and, through integrated and effective communication, employees are then able to claim or swap available shifts with their co-workers.

Workers are enabled. They have control over their own destiny and because they are cared about and looked after they deliver more and work harder. The results we’ve seen from companies using Quinyx speak for themselves.

This approach to scheduling is revolutionising the way businesses around the world are operating. But don’t just take our word for it. Get in touch today and see how we can help you do the same.

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