Typically, creating a clear and fair schedule for employees is a full-time job. More often than not, your department managers drown in spreadsheets and calendars before getting it right. Implementing a roster and scheduling system is helpful but not without some problems.
When used properly, software applications can do a lot to make the scheduling process more efficient. Alternately, the same systems may backfire with ineffective e-rostering. Failing to maintain a balance between the supply of labour and business needs increases these challenges.
However, before you return to never-ending stacks of paper, let’s look at ways to overcome the challenges. Investing in software that includes enterprise mobility was a smart move. Now, it is time to learn how to work smarter.
Workforce Demand Led Mapping for Rostering
Workforce planning and management need fundamental changes. In essence, this is the only way to remove inflexible institutionalised approaches to rostering. One such change is demand led approach.
This proven technology helps organisations improve areas important to successful business practices such as:
- Service quality
- Employee work-life balance
If your organisation is one where the supply of labour is hamstrung by legacy employment contracts, this is a technology that can help. Guessing what each shift needs do not allow managers to anticipate volatility in service demand.
As a result, there is no way of knowing how to respond. This leaves scheduling gaps. Your policy is to rely on the goodwill of employees being flexible.
What happens instead is spiralling spending on overtime and other issues such as:
- Poor service
- Employee sickness and/or stress
- Working time breaches
- Health and safety violations
However, demand led e-rostering helps to tackle these types of issues. It identifies patterns. With this information, managers have data to build accurate forecasting of necessary resources. They can deliver tactical and strategic workforce optimisation.
Designing Rosters That Lock in Key Regulations
In addition to eliminating employee scheduling problems, e-rosters can also improve compliance with key regulations. Demand led e-rostering comes with transparency and flexibility. This allows creating shift schedules that meet both your staff and organisation’s needs.
Ultimately, more predictable work patterns can address high rates of attrition. Additionally, the perception of fulfilling unattractive roles lessens. Your employees are more willing to accept shifts. Accurate e-rostering and demand mapping minimises the unpredictability of days off.
Solving E-Rostering Problems
Demand mapping unlocks e-rostering scheduling potential in a variety of ways. Not only can it improve the way employees think about working, but it can also help with resolving common scheduling problems.
Understanding that every problem has a solution lays the foundation for getting the most out of your chosen system. To avoid leaving your managers and employees at a loss, consider these common problems and solutions that optimize e-rostering software features.
Problem: Employee Confusion about Work Schedules
There are a number of reasons employees may become confused about shift schedules. For example, last minute changes can leave employees without child care. This unpredictability of shift schedules is frustrating.
Lack of consistency, including the unchecked freedom to swap and change scheduled hours at a whim, can wreak havoc in the workplace.
Solution: Consistency and Accountability
One way to avoid this level of inconsistency is planning shifts in advance. Scheduling software comes with features to make this process easier on your managers and employees. Data input based on employees’ skills and work hour preferences eliminates confusion and scheduling conflicts.
Additionally, consistency in scheduling holds employees accountable for their chosen shifts. While managers do their part in compiling timely schedules, employees share the responsibility of making alternative arrangements if they cannot work a scheduled shift.
Scheduling software helps you keep track of shifts. It also gives employees access to request changes as needed.
Problem: Last Minute Scheduling
One sure way to confuse employees is leaving shift schedule creation to the last minute. This is never a good idea when planning shifts well in advance is an option. Doing so gives managers and employees time to review the shift roster and make sure they will be available.
Solution: Advanced Scheduling
In some situations, scheduling far in advance can create the headaches you are trying to avoid. However, advanced shift scheduling does more good than harm. It provides routine and predictability for employees to plan work responsibilities around their home life.
Predictable work routines can keep employees happy. Establishing a rhythm lets employees know what to expect. In fact, it could make employees more willing to fill in for last minute changes.
Problem: Excessive Overtime Costs
Working overtime is a good way for employees to earn extra money. However, it is also a way for them to experience burnout. This is particularly true if your department managers rely on the same employees all the time.
While work may be getting done, you must look at whether employees are working at optimal productivity levels. If not, you run the risk of overusing employees. Eventually, poor productivity will also hurt the level of service clients receive.
Solution: Improve Hiring and Scheduling Process
Before overtime gets out of hand, review the hiring and scheduling processes of your company. Although it is true that some issues are unavoidable, you will feel better prepared by taking the time to hire right.
Matching candidates with roles and responsibilities of each position helps to reduce turnover rates. When your departments are adequately staffed, it reduces the need to add to business costs by offering overtime.
Problem: Relying on a Select Group of Employees
Even the perfect scheduling process is not without some amount of dissatisfaction. It is not unusual for managers to rely on a select number of employees. They are the ones who never hesitate to volunteer for extra hours or duties.
While this is true, other employees will complain about fairness in shift distribution. If managers are not careful, they will send out unintended messages. The employees left behind will believe their manager shows favouritism towards their colleagues.
Solution: Improve Shift Distribution
With the right e-rostering software in place, managers can avoid these scenarios. It will go a long way toward easing tensions among employees. Good scheduling management tools help managers identify shift preferences.
They use this information to match the most experienced people with the specific needs of each shift.
Problem: Shift Swapping Havoc
Allowing employees the freedom to swap shifts has pros and cons. When employees can manage their own time, it lessens the responsibility of managers. However, managers who take a hands-off approach to shift swapping can leave their department open to havoc and confusion.
In some cases, employees may forget their new shift. Furthermore, a qualified employee could swap their shift with an employee who is not equally qualified to handle the work. Lack of experience on a particular shift could create problems with service delivery.
Solution: Communicate and Verify
Maintaining order in the workplace requires communication and verification. Being among the organisations that use enterprise mobility allows employees to manage their schedules anywhere and anytime.
E-rostering scheduling software allows your managers to create, publish and change schedules as necessary. Endless excel spreadsheets are replaced with the click of a button. Having this type of software solution goes a long way toward ensuring your organisation thrives with a happy workforce.