Introduction to How to Schedule Your Staff
Staff scheduling can be a never-ending nightmare, even at the best of times. With too many variables, time off requests, and unique employee needs, even the most organized managers can get lost in their calendars, spending well over 2 hours each week just on building employee schedules. Add to this the COVID-19 crisis, and you’ve got an enormous scheduling problem on your hands.
The silver lining is that while staff scheduling can never be completely optimized, there are ways to simplify the task.
With tools such as track time 24 and a few tips and tricks, you’ll get on top of scheduling, keeping yourself and your staff happy and organized.
So, let’s take a look at what you can do to improve your staff scheduling.
It cannot be stressed enough how critical it is to plan your schedule ahead and optimize it well in advance.
Whether you’re in the foodservice industry, hospitality, or retail, you likely have historical data that tells you all you need to know about your business’s peak and low seasons.
This historical data tells the managers that they need to boost staffing during the holiday season, for example.
It indicates when you can get away with just a few staff members and when you need all hands on deck.
While the majority of managers rely on historical data when building schedules during Christmas, it’s critical that you use it every week.
Mondays might be the busiest for your business, while Thursdays might be pretty slow, for example.
So, examine your historical data and make sure you’re never under- or overstaffed.
Publish Schedules in Advance
Publishing shift schedules at the last possible minute makes for a lousy manager. Keeping your staff in the dark about their shifts until a few hours beforehand causes several problems.
Your employees won’t be able to make plans outside of work, they might not be able to prepare for their shift, they’ll lose productivity, and their performance can drop. All of these will impact your bottom line.
So, it’s critical to publish schedules well in advance. It keeps your employees in the know and gives them adequate time to request shift changes or notify you of any scheduling problems before it’s too late.
Identify and Address Scheduling Abuse
Scheduling abuse can come from both employees and shift managers. But regardless of where it comes from, it can diminish your employees’ job satisfaction and hinder their productivity.
To avoid potential problems, you need to identify all scheduling abuse and address the issue adequately.
Employee scheduling abuse can come in the form of:
- Frequent requests for schedule changes on Fridays or Mondays
- Frequent requests for early leave
- Avoidance of specific shifts
- Constant shift changing
- Frequent requests for last-minute shift changes
- Illegitimate reasons for shift changing
With the help of scheduling software, you should be able to pinpoint schedule abuse and find ways to correct it easily.
Managerial scheduling abuse is somewhat different and can involve:
- Frequent on-call scheduling
- Last-minute shift cancellations
- Last-minute schedule publishing
- Forced overtime
Build Efficient Teams
Efficient teams require excellent knowledge of your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Suppose you have a fast and efficient employee with poorer interpersonal skills.
In that case, you’ll want to pair them up with a communicative team member who can connect with your clients and ensure greater customer satisfaction.
Newcomers should be scheduled with experienced staff members who can show them the ropes and help them develop the needed skills.
During your busiest seasons, schedule your best staff members during peak hours to ensure better efficiency and performance.
You know your employees best, so consider which employees work well together and which ones don’t.
Enable Schedule Changes
Allowing for schedule changes is necessary if you want to avoid headaches down the line. Sometimes, it’s best to enable your employees to shift changes between themselves without involving managers and supervisors.
Still, you’ll want to keep a close eye on all shift changes to avoid scheduling abuse and employee dissatisfaction.
Further visit: 10 Best Ways to Ask Your Supervisor for Unpaid leave to Travel
Consider Your Employees’ Needs
When scheduling shifts, most managers pay attention solely to the data, taking into account only the number of hours and weekends worked, the frequency of morning and evening shifts, and the specific business requirements.
However, it’s essential to take into consideration individual employee needs as well. If you have a single parent who needs to drive their child to school every day, a student who’s taking classes, an employee with a second job, make sure you take it into account when scheduling shifts.
You’ll never please everybody, but you can boost employee morale and alleviate friction by considering a staff member’s individual needs when creating a schedule.
Staff scheduling can be one of the most demanding tasks for a manager, but a few simple tricks can take a load off your shoulders.
So, remember to plan and publish your schedule in advance, identify scheduling abuse, build efficient teams, enable schedule changes, and consider your employees’ needs.
Alongside reliable scheduling software, these tips will help you streamline shift scheduling and improve employee satisfaction.