When’s the new schedule going to be up? What time do I start next Saturday? Can I have Tuesday off? Remember, I was supposed to be off next Friday! Is it okay if I take an extra shift next week? Can I leave early tomorrow?
If these queries sound familiar to you, you’ve likely dealt with the complex puzzle that is creating employee schedules. Whether it’s a sick day, personal emergency, or an employee going on leave, it doesn’t take much to throw a well-thought-out schedule off balance. That’s why we’ve put together a variety of employee scheduling tips to help you ensure that your organization is always set up for success.
There are many factors to consider when trying to create the perfect employee schedule.
Know your business
When creating your schedule, it’s important to be sure you have a full picture of what your organization needs to operate successfully. As you prepare your schedule, you should be aware of the budget for labour, any busy times (these will vary day-to-day, week-to-week, and seasonally), and, of course, your employees.
Know your employees
Our employee scheduling tips wouldn’t be very helpful if we didn’t talk about employees. In particular, leaders should know the following information about their employees:
- Their availability
- How many are full-time and part-time employees
- How many hours they’ve already worked for that pay period
- A general idea of their obligations outside of work (do they have a second job, go to school, have family members they’re responsible for, etc.)
- Their preferences and skills
When it comes to employee preferences, you should try to keep in mind their preferred tasks during a shift and their preferred hours. If an employee favours the evening shift, try to schedule them for evenings as often as you can. If your entire team prefers evenings, then ensure that you schedule everyone equally on evening shifts.
As far as skills, it makes sense to schedule people to best utilize their skills, but also schedule people together who have complementary skills. For example, if you’re scheduling someone who’s new or doesn’t know how to do a specific job/task, schedule them with someone who has that experience.
It’s important that schedules and any changes to the schedule are continuously communicated to employees. Consider using a messaging system such as Slack or WhatsApp where everyone can discuss the schedule, offer to trade shifts, give a heads up about any people being out sick, etc.
According to Forbes, 84% of working parents surveyed rated flexibility in the workplace as their top priority, with another survey finding that “1 in 4 companies lost employees due to caregiving obligations last year”. Organizations should prioritize being flexible with scheduling—and allow employees to request changes to the schedule—knowing that there are always things that will come up outside of an employee’s control.
Consider using a scheduling and time tracking system
If these employee scheduling tips seem like a lot, you’re not alone. Planning schedules takes up a massive chunk of time, and it needs to be done over and over again. There are a number of softwares available that can make this much easier for both employer and employee.
For example, Rise People’s scheduling and time tracking application makes keeping track of employee availability simple by ensuring compliance and automatically syncing with payroll. Additionally, Rise automatically notifies all relevant parties if the schedule changes and allows employees to switch shifts all within the platform, either online or on the mobile app.
Employee scheduling is a fine balance between consistency and flexibility. Employees need a schedule that is reliably the same, but can also change as needed. Taking the time and energy to create a good schedule that accurately utilizes everyone to their best ability—and availability—shows employees that you not only value their time but also their contributions to your organization.