Scheduling employees is not a task that a lot of managers are excited about. While it is crucial that all shifts run efficiently and smoothly, achieving this can be extremely challenging and time consuming. If you are unprepared, a single missed shift could cause chaos in the workplace and result in losses of productivity. Business operations can be significantly improved by overcoming employee rostering challenges.
Besides hurting an organisation’s profits, inefficient schedules also weigh down on managers. Addressing “no shows”, organising and managing weekly shift schedules and racing to cover up for last-minute shifts can turn into a full-time job, which will be exhausting, especially when dealing with numerous employees.
Rostering challenges will also affect your employees. As much as your business depends on the schedule to stay functional, your staff members also depend on it to organise their lives. Unreliable routines and shifts will make it impossible for them to arrange their time with family and friends, hobbies, exercise, a good sleep cycle, a proper diet, etc. This will reduce their productivity and satisfaction, and could lead to them abandoning your workforce.
To ensure a harmonious work environment and maximum productivity, managers should overcome common rostering challenges. Below are some simple strategies to ensure you gain maximum efficiency in employee rostering:
1. Use Employee Scheduling Software
The reason most managers hate the task of scheduling employees is because of how difficult and time-consuming the process is. It gets worse if you are still using methods such as pen and paper, whiteboards or spreadsheets to schedule your shifts. Not only are these outdated methods tiresome and stressful to you, but they are also prone to avoidable mistakes that could result in missed shifts and “no-shows”. They are also more likely to be misplaced or forgotten, which could be disastrous for busy workplaces.
The best way to ensure a smooth and efficient schedule is the use of employee rostering software. These make the scheduling task extremely simple for managers. All you will have to do is feed it the availability and skills of your employees, and the software will generate a base schedule. Managers can then review it and make the necessary edits. The software can also send digital copies of the schedule to employees and make it easier for them to raise complaints and suggest changes. Staff will no longer be able to use the “I lost my schedule” or “I didn’t know I was on” excuse.
2. Give out Schedules in Advance
To help your employees attain a balance between their work and home lives, you need to give them their shifts in advance. Unfortunately, half of all employers allow their employees less than two weeks to process their shifts. As a result, most of them do not get to plan out their time. Their shifts will therefore catch them off-guard, increasing the rate of late arrivals and “no-shows”.
You should give out schedules at least two weeks in advance. Not only does this allow them to raise any issues and have them addressed in time, but also give them a chance to plan out their social and personal lives. This will increase their level of satisfaction and general wellbeing. A happy employee takes fewer sick days and is likely to stick with your business for longer.
3. Schedule Employees Fairly
In any workplace, fair treatment is an important factor in boosting employee morale and productivity. Shift-scheduling is a critical area when it comes to workplace fairness. While some shifts are desirable and sought after by most employees, others are avoided and will always be hard-to-fill. Although someone will inevitably be unhappy or disappointed with their shifts, try your best to be fair.
One way to achieve fairness is rewarding positive behaviour with more favourable shifts. For instance, these should be reserved for the staff members without “no shows”. You should also create a balance or rotation to ensure no employees are stuck with the undesirable shifts while others enjoy prime positions. While it is difficult to keep track of this manually, scheduling software can automate this process.
4. Provide Breaks to your Employees
Preventing employee burnout is critical in ensuring the effectiveness of the roster. The schedule should be structured to give each staff member regular breaks during the workday to keep them productive. Short breaks are important as they allow employees time to refresh so that they can provide the best service.
Employee breaks will also reduce their fatigue, and will translate to less sick-days, less late comers and fewer “no-shows”. It will also be easier for you to fill in for unexpected disruptions as most of your staff members will be well-rested.
As seen above, ensuring your employee shifts are running smoothly is no easy task. This, however, does not mean that it has to be impossible. By making use of the latest scheduling software such as eSolve’s Smart Rostering, you will automate most of the stressful and tiresome processes and reduce the likelihood of errors. Putting the tips offered above into practice will help you avoid most rostering challenges for maximum workplace harmony and productivity.