The most important element of any schedule is getting the right people, in the right place at the right time.
And as a bonus your schedule needs to ensure your staff are doing the right thing. When it comes to being more efficient and productive, having a schedule which delivers for your business, your employees and your customers is the single biggest factor to get right.
Employees are demanding; they will have set hours they want to work, they’ll want to know these hours in advance and they’ll want to change them if they don’t work for them. Your schedule has to work for your staff. Whether your business is a hotel, a retail store or a gym, if you run a shift-based business you’ll need a rota that keeps your employees happy. To avoid time spent changing the rota speak to your staff and find out what hours they want to work or use new ways of involving them in the process.
By listening to and engaging with your employees, you’re empowering them and this empowerment of employees is vital for the long term success of your business.
There are a number of different ways to involve your employees in the scheduling process:
Schedule bidding. Schedule bidding is sometimes also known as self-scheduling and is where employees ‘bid’ for the shifts they want to work. Managers and schedulers create ‘open shifts,’ often with predetermined rules, and allow employees who match the criteria set to schedule themselves into the shifts that apply to them. Employees are big fans of shift bidding as it gives them an element of control over when they work and they feel involved in the process, rather than simply being told when they are working. Your business also stands to benefit as the scheduling process will take far less time, there’ll be less admin costs and you’ll have happier employees.
Preference-based scheduling. A method often employed by call centres, preference-based scheduling allows employees to register when they would ‘prefer’ to work. When using a workforce management tool, shifts can then be allocated based on employee preferences. One of the drawbacks here can be that it’s not always possible to meet all the preferences. However, if the process is open, fair and transparent employees respond more favourably to this approach than having their schedule dictated to them.
Employee-lead scheduling. Using a rules-based framework (where a workforce management tool will always ensure you have the right staff with the right skills doing the right shift), employees can create their own schedule and choose the shifts they want to work. They can also be flexible in terms of applying to take on more shifts and easily swap shifts with colleagues. According to a recent report employee-lead scheduling is still fairly rare with only 17% of business who engage their employees in the scheduling process using this method.
Schedules are now much more than a simple rota. They are key to keeping employees happy and your business lean and successful.
By automating the process involved in creating and managing a schedule you’ll be able to more effectively control costs, keep your employees happy and provide a better service to your customers.