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Scheduling Best Practice

Head of Product Evangelism, Sammy Walton delivers his best practice guide to scheduling

Welcome to the guide on scheduling best practice. Here are tips on what we think you should be doing to get the staff rotas that perfect your customer service.

Understand your demand

The primary goal of scheduling your workforce is obviously to meet your business’s demand. You'll want to understand the demand so that you can be sure you’re making the right scheduling decisions. If you are using Quinyx’ Demand Forecasting engines, this step can be automated for you with highly accurate results. Even without automating this process, there are still ways you can make educated guesses as to when to schedule what type of roles, such as looking at reports from systems that help you understand the load being put through the business (such as number of sales, number or types of patients, delivery or unpacking bookings, basically anything that drives the need for someone to work), or even talking to local managers / schedulers to help get an understanding of why they schedule the number of staff in the schedule at any given time. 

The business demands can even be visualised in Quinyx’ scheduling views to help guide schedulers to make the right decisions.

Account for Compliances

Before creating a schedule to meet the demand, you should ensure that any rules and regulations you have to adhere to are configured inside the scheduling solution. Quinyx’ agreement templates can accommodate all kinds of rules that apply to anyone being scheduled as well as rules specific to individuals. These can be business specific rules or legal requirements you must adhere to, such as minimum/maximum working time rules, break rules, overtime rules and a whole lot more, and importantly they will guide, warn and/or prevent schedulers from making decisions that could be bad for the employees, the business or both.

Schedule your fixed patterns in

This step may not apply to all businesses, however, if you have workers who work the same shifts every week, or on a rotating schedule, you can create these patterns as templates in Quinyx’ Base Schedules. This will ensure that these employees are always scheduled in the shifts they should work and a portion of required demand is accounted for. The rest of the demand will be covered in the next steps.

In some cases, you may have specific shifts you want filled every day without assigning specific individuals to them. In this case, we can create unassigned shifts in the base schedule ready to be assigned later.

Of course, Base Schedules can be used to create your entire schedule should you wish to copy it across each schedule period.

Building your schedule

When it comes to scheduling the bulk of your schedule to meet your business’ demands, Quinyx has a number of tools available to you. You can of course create shifts manually, but using tools like Auto Schedule to automatically create a schedule that meets your needs and keeps you compliant can save you enormous amounts of time.

Shifts can be created as unassigned shifts and be used for employees to self schedule or bid for specific shifts.

When it comes to assigning shifts, we have time saving tools here too. Auto Assign takes into account employee preferences such as their desired working patterns, submitted via our availability functionality or built into their agreements, their absences and compliance rules before assigning them to a shift. Taking into consideration these things reduces the chance of no shows and last minute changes to the schedule.

When making manual changes, Quinyx’ Smart Lists will provide you with suggestions on which employees may be best suited to work the shift you are trying to fill.

Communicating your schedule

When it comes to informing your employees of their schedules, you’ll want to publish the schedule (making it available to them) with enough notice so that it meets any legal notice periods and gives the workforce enough time to react. The key is to account for an aspect of flexibility to occur. This may mean employees requesting changes to the schedule such as swapping shifts (which can be done easily, even without manager intervention, should you wish) or requesting an absence. Setting a rolling period of scheduling publishing is also a key feature of Quinyx, ensuring you always have the same amount of shifts visible to employees at any given time.

Published schedules are visible in the Quinyx Mobile App, (and Employee Web Portal) where employees can make/ request any of the changes they need to, and also allows them to stay up to date with any other changes being made to their working patterns on their behalf. These changes are instantly and automatically sent to them via push notifications and Qmails allowing them to communicate directly with the scheduler if need be. They can also sync their schedules with their personal calendars for a view of their work/life balance in a single place.

Follow up on your schedules

Once the schedule has been worked, you’ll want to take time to assess any differences between scheduled time and actual worked time. Comparing these with any forecasted demand is useful, also. Are employees working when they have been scheduled? If not, it may be time to adjust the schedule to compensate for this. If you are not using our automated tools, perhaps the schedule does not meet the business demand. Perhaps it does not meet the availability of the workforce. Using visual references such as Quinyx’ Advanced Analytics and Schedule Statistics can provide easy to digest graphs and statistics showcasing trends in the workforce that help keep the business on track to meet its goals.

Find out more about scheduling, or alternatively get in touch so we can start a conversation today.