Having the right number of shift workers on each team and also the right team members in place is a challenge for shift managers. But when you succeed in optimising your schedules with shift management tools, it will keep both your staff and customers happy, while reducing labour costs.
Read on to learn about hacks and tricks to create better schedules, faster and easier.
Best practices for scheduling shift workers
1. Think about employee scheduling needs ahead of time
You won’t be caught out with too many or too few rostered staff when you use historical data to understand trends based on seasonality or other industry-specific factors.
For example, the tourism and hospitality industries are aware that public and school holidays are planned well in advance. Wine retailers know that sales boom in the run-up to Christmas holidays, just as heater retailers prepare for their peak season in autumn.
Although weather is variable, broad trends can be correlated to demand in your industry. Using historical data, it’s possible to predict staff needs ahead of time.
Effective workplace management tools should allow you to analyse both external factors and internal staffing needs to produce a useful predictive model for your schedules.
Creating a backup plan ahead of time is another useful tip: as they say, hope for the best but plan for the worst. That means you’ll be prepared with alternative workers when the inevitable sick day or emergency affects your shift schedules.
2. Understand your shift workforce
Treating your workforce as interchangeable units of labour is a recipe for trouble. When you truly understand your workforce at a detailed level, it’s possible to optimise schedules that work for the business as well as for each team member.
For example, take the time to know this information about team members:
- Their preferred shifts
- Their desire for overtime
- Willingness to work on holidays or weekends
- Flexibility to swap shifts at short notice
- Availability at any time of the day or night.
Every employee is different: the ones with mortgage pressure may be much keener to work more hours than mature-age workers who have paid off their house. Yet the younger ones may be restricted by child-care
Building a detailed profile of them helps you to align work schedules more effectively with their personal situation. This will help to fill open shifts, assign tasks, track time and promote shift swapping.
3. Being innovative & flexible: Allow employees to schedule shifts
Empowering employees can cut the chaos out of scheduling when you provide self-service tools to staff so they can own their schedules and focus on doing their best work.
Their employee experience is strongly influenced by the shifts they work, and using staff scheduling software is an excellent opportunity to improve employee satisfaction levels and motivation.
Humanforce allows for shift bidding so workers can bid for their preferred shift. This level of self-empowerment adds to their engagement.
Not only does employee engagement lead to better service, but it also affects your bottom line. Studies show that highly engaged teams are 21% more profitable than non-engaged teams.
4. Use an effective employee scheduling app to communicate shift scheduling
Prioritising team communication and team messaging well ahead of time can help with employee work-life balance.
There’s an old expression: ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’. Your entire team can’t work together if everybody isn’t on the same page.
You need to understand and communicate with your team to know what’s going to help them the most. This will include factors such as:
- Time-off requests
- Employee availability
- Upcoming shifts
- Scheduling conflicts
- Shift tasks.
Today, there are multiple providers of time tracking software, and staff scheduling software with iOS and Android apps. They offer software functions that allow for better manager-to-worker communication, powerful rostering, as well as peer-to-peer communication, which can really boost employee engagement.
5. Make team scheduling processes easily accessible for employees
When you open shifts and employee schedules to the whole team and make them employee-focused, having effective employee scheduling apps will help you avoid pitfalls in shift management.
It’s important to make sure you know how to use all the features of your rostering software, including pre-made templates, especially if unlimited employees can submit time-off requests, open shifts and request shifts.
While to the uninitiated it might seem like a recipe for chaos, the facts prove otherwise. Using Humanforce’s staff scheduling software as a workforce management tool, it takes on average 78% less time to build a complex roster that will get the right staff members to the right locations at the right times.
Consider Humanforce employee scheduling software
You can use these tips and tricks about shift work schedules to improve your efficiency. To further enhance your team scheduling processes through advanced Humanforce Software, get in touch.
Humanforce is a leading provider of shift-based workforce management solutions that simplify onboarding, scheduling, time and attendance, employee engagement and communication.
Customers in more than 23 countries use Humanforce to build resilience, optimise costs, empower their team and drive growth.
Humanforce was founded in Sydney in 2002, and today has offices across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK.