Skip to content

8 steps to effective staff rostering

Changing consumer and employee demands and a growing need for ‘always on’, 24/7 business operations are impacting how staff rostering is handled. Read our blog for 8 handy tips to consider when building out your next roster.

person working on computer

The foundations of effective rostering and scheduling remain unchanged – that is, having the right person in the right role at the right time and place. However, in 2022 there are other elements that must be considered. Supply chain disruptions, a growing need for 24/7 business operations, changing consumer and employee demands, and acute labour shortages in many sectors mean that manual rostering methods are no longer enough to keep your business running smoothly.

To avoid mistakes in staff rostering and maintain an effectively resourced workplace, you’ll need to adapt your rostering processes to this fast-moving world. This includes choosing an appropriate strategy, automating manual tasks and partnering with software providers that have your needs in mind.

What is a staffing roster?

A staff roster is a document that maps out employee schedules, hours and work locations. These are particularly useful for restaurants, hotels, factories, hospitals and industries relying on shift-based work.

With this in mind, staff rostering can be understood as the process of creating and assigning shifts to cover the operational needs of a business. Shifts are assigned by an employee’s role (such as job title or duties) or by availability (such as first, second or third shift).

Why is it important to roster staff for your business?

Dynamic work environments need thorough planning, often weeks in advance. Many employers must hardwire flexibility into their plans to account for changing environments, consumer demand, employee needs, and PTO requests.

In other words, staff rostering can make or break your business’s efficiency. Learning to do it right will be a game changer for you and your employees.

How to build a staffing roster

Building an efficient calendar is the best way to avoid rostering mistakes over time.

There are several ways managers roster staff, including:

  • Using an excel sheet — A clunky and inefficient method for large, multi-location businesses.
  • Relying on paper calendars — Not a practical option for complex organisations with staff working at different times and often in different locations.
  • Using cloud-based software —Schedules can be accessed on any device, increasing staff control and autonomy.

Ultimately, it’s best to go with cloud-based solutions that can grow as your business does. 

How to roster staff effectively

If you already have a staffing roster but are looking for ways to improve it, these eight tips are great to start with:

1. Choose a roster scheduling strategy

Consider your organisational needs before building out your process.

There are three roster scheduling strategies to consider:

  • Staggered work roster This strategy staggers shift times between employees to account for busier times of day, such as the dinnertime rush at a local restaurant. 
  • Duty-based roster — The roster is scheduled according to your employee’s duties. For example, you may schedule more hospitality personnel during check-out on Sundays and Mondays.
  • Flexible employee roster — Employees can select start and end times within operational hours. Managers set an available window (8 AM to 8 PM), while employees pick the times that work for them (8 AM to 4 PM).

If you’re unsure where to start with your rostering schedule, try discussing it with your leadership team.

2. Provide transparency

Every member of your team should have continuous access to their weekly schedule. That’s not just a piece of paper taped to the break room wall — it’s a digital, remote or mobile solution for all staff members.

Cloud rosters are excellent for hybrid and distributed teams, although their benefits to in-person workforces are equally functional. Everyone can access the materials they need and reach out directly with any questions or concerns. 

3. Allocate resources effectively

Assign talent to various tasks in the most efficient way possible.

For example, high-performing team members with a track record of excellent customer service should be assigned to cover busier times on the roster. New employees or people in training may perform better in lower-stress time slots.

4. Automate where possible

Automations are the future — especially for employee rostering. Scheduling automation can save hundreds of hours for HR staff and reduce turnover by a significant margin. This instantly creates operational value by recycling time for other purposes.

For shift management purposes, you may want to automate:

  • Availability changes
  • PTO requests
  • Shift replacements

Depending on your current workflow, you might consider other strategies, including shift bidding or automatic replacements.

5. Combine your wage and staff rosters

When it comes to operational efficiency, consolidation and organisation should go hand in hand. 

As you prepare staff rosters for the coming weeks, consider combining your wage rosters with your scheduling rosters to keep all information in the same place. Humanforce Payroll, for example, provides a seamless integration of workforce management software functionality with payroll software functionality.

6. Start roster weeks on busy days

Although traditional scheduling rosters usually start and stop on a Sunday, this strategy rarely works for the dynamic industries of today. Rather than squeezing your schedule into a pre-set template, design a calendar that matches your hours, operations and unique needs.

For example, starting your roster on the week’s busiest day is a great hack for busy managers. Not only does this allow you to schedule employees more effectively, but it accounts for swells and slumps to make the best planning decisions for your company.

7. Keep up with labour laws

Legal staff rostering is a must for successful workforce management. This means familiarising yourself with the legalities of scheduling, which include:

  • How far ahead schedules should be posted
  • The minimum amount of rest time between shifts
  • Union laws for rights, pay and shift declines

Check your industry guidelines or consult an employment lawyer for labour laws that may affect your rostering process.

8. Partner with software solutions

Staff rostering can no longer be the tabular, manual process of yester-year. The ability to factor in unforeseen circumstances and make last-minute changes on-the-go are vital to effective rostering today. With so many considerations, tools that can help automate rostering can be your greatest ally – and must form the backbone of effective enterprises.

Modern employers need scheduling rosters that:

  • Track time and attendance factors
  • Offer robust templates for rostering
  • Innovate with remote mobile access
  • Surface insights from workforce analytics

Fortunately, accessing platforms that exceed your expectations is no longer a Herculean task. Modern software solutions are uniquely designed for compliant, cost-effective strategies and can fuel organisational transformation in more ways than one — including platforms like Humanforce.

Do staff rostering better with Humanforce

From enterprise-level organisations to smaller operators, Humanforce was designed to make scheduling the easiest part of your day. Our intuitive platform creates demand-driven schedules in minutes, tracks costs associated with weekly labour and forecasts margins for upcoming leave. 

Humanforce is a one-stop shop for all your deskless workforce needs. And with real-time insights and scalable infrastructure, you can stay ahead of the curve without printing another timesheet. If you’re curious to see how we could revolutionise your staff rostering process, feel free to book a personalised demo today. Have some preliminary questions first? Contact us at your earliest convenience.

About Humanforce

Humanforce is a leading provider of shift-based workforce management solutions that simplify onboarding, scheduling, time and attendance, payroll, employee engagement, and communication. Customers in more than 23 countries use Humanforce to optimise costs, realise compliance confidence, 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.

Learn more about how Humanforce can automate and simplify workforce management processes in your organisation. Contact us or schedule a demo.