Employee scheduling is a key factor for your team’s morale and productivity. Whether your company uses paper lists, spreadsheets or dedicated software, having an effective process is critical to success.
A common problem businesses face is a mismatch between business needs and employee availability. To ensure your team is a fit, consider these best practices.
It’s essential that employees do not get overloaded with tasks they can’t handle. This is a cause of stress, burnout, and low productivity. It also affects employee engagement and retention.
To avoid overloading your team members, use data from past task time estimates, known skill sets, and capacity to assign projects that they can easily complete within their assigned schedule. This will help to eliminate the need for overtime and increase employee satisfaction.
Depending on your business needs, look for employee scheduling software that offers features such as auto-assigning shifts, alerting for new or changed schedules, employee availability management, clock-in and clock-out functionality, payroll file importation and more. Some solutions may offer flexible deployment options, such as cloud and on-premise. Some may even provide mobile apps for employees to make changes and swap their shifts on the go.
Shift Demand Swings
From the latest world events to sick calls and vacation requests, hourly workers have a lot of callouts that impact availability. Automated employee scheduling tools that take into account worker preferences, seniority status, certifications and other rules are key for managing these variables to ensure an optimal schedule.
Using ordinary least squares and probit regression analyses, researchers found that working irregular and on-call shift times, as well as rotating and split shift work time, was correlated with greater reported frequency of work-family conflict. This was primarily driven by the fact that these workers were married, had children, and worked less than full-time.
Having a “good” work-family balance is important to reducing stress levels, and that’s why many employees want a consistent schedule they can count on. Employers should also consider bottom-up scheduling, where employees can self-select open shifts they are qualified to work — this has been shown to improve job satisfaction and reduce managers’ workload.
Many employees prefer to work specific shifts, so it can be challenging to find coverage for their desired shifts. This can lead to a number of issues, including grumpy staff and a lack of productivity.
Providing clear procedures for shift swap requests and promoting open communication can help you minimize the effects of these problems. Encouraging employee feedback also helps you create a schedule that reflects the needs of your team members.
Employees should be informed of their minimum hours and shift schedule at least two weeks in advance. However, sometimes agreed-upon availability can change due to unavoidable circumstances or emergencies. In these cases, employees should be compensated if their normal starting and ending times are adjusted with less than one week’s notice. This will ensure that they are paid appropriately for the time worked.
Employee no-shows happen, but you can mitigate the impact of these unexcused absences by establishing a policy and setting expectations. Your policy should detail the ramifications of not calling in and missing work, along with guidelines on who an employee needs to contact and how soon before their shift they need to let them know they will be absent.
Ensure all managers, supervisors, and leadership are aware of your policy and have direction on how to handle these situations. Be sure to be compassionate when speaking with your team members who are no-shows, as these types of excused absences often stem from disengagement or personal or workplace issues.
If you notice that a team member is consistently missing shifts, it may be time to evaluate their employment. This process should involve meeting with the worker, explaining the policy in a clear and transparent way, adding a signed document to their employment file, and instituting progressive disciplinary actions.
The payroll process is complex and each cycle costs money. This means cash must be available to cover both payroll processing fees and employee wages.
Depending on the company, the pay schedule may also have to align with tax laws and other legal requirements. Global employee benefits like health insurance and retirement plans can complicate the payroll process as well.
Managers must consider these issues when determining an appropriate work schedule for employees. Ideally, the schedule should be designed in a way that maximizes employee engagement while being responsive to employee needs. This could be achieved through a system that lets employees communicate their desired work hours and through the use of tools that offer them more control over their schedules. Integrated systems allow managers to spend less time on menial tasks and more time on improving business outcomes.