How Do I Schedule Employees Effectively and Strategically in 2020?
Even as we are entering the new decade, the importance of strategic workforce scheduling continues to grow in nearly every industry. In this guide, you will learn five best practices for creating a win-win work schedule; one that benefits both workers and the organization. We’ll discuss how to:
- Understand your resource needs and then create the employee schedule according to those needs.
- Assign shifts to workers based on skill and availability.
- Manage schedule changes by making adjustments quickly and communicating with workers.
- Measure your schedule’s effectiveness, learn from the scheduling data, and adjust the scheduling process as you go.
- Use employee scheduling technology to solve some of your toughest business challenges.
Hourly Employee Scheduling Is a Strategic Process
Complex. Fast moving. Highly skilled employees. This is a shift-based workplace in 2020 and beyond. In this dynamic environment, knowing how to schedule employees strategically is critical. This is because the work schedule impacts many aspects of operations including: labor costs, productivity, legal compliance, employee satisfaction, and worker retention.
Employee scheduling serves as a key connection point between the business and its hourly workers. Effective shift planning helps build a great employee experience, improving employee retention and satisfaction. The quality with which the time schedule is planned, published, and communicated impacts worker satisfaction, “no-shows”, and, ultimately, employee turnover.
Employee turnover is 174% more likely without real-time scheduling capabilities. -Bersin by Deloitte
There’s a great deal of business impact riding on your work schedule, so this guide is here to help. These strategies apply to most work environments. That said, not every proposed strategy fits every circumstance, so incorporate what best fits your employee scheduling workflow. You can take these strategies and apply them to your specific needs.
The work schedule defines what resources are needed, when, and where. Proper planning requires looking far ahead to assess demand and resource supply. Advance planning is especially crucial when needs vary across scheduling periods. When you schedule effectively, employee scheduling lowers labor costs by matching resources to demand.
These three steps will help you take a strategic approach to workforce scheduling and create the most effective employee schedule for your organization:
Tip 1: Determine Resource Needs
First, clearly understand the labor resources you need to meet operations goals. Since everything is based on the master schedule, resource needs are especially important to get right. You’ll want to:
Determine the resources needed for each role by location and shift duration. For example, a hospital may need four nurses and two CNAs in Pediatrics from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are countless ways to define a location (e.g., hospital floors or event booths), so make sure you categorize locations clearly and consistently. You can organize resources for each role in many ways, such as a grid on a whiteboard, in a spreadsheet, or using online scheduling software.
Identify trends you can apply to current planning efforts. Reviewing data from past scheduling periods can help you anticipate needs and schedule employees fairly. For instance, you may notice a pattern of under-scheduling a particular role or shift.
Plan for future events ahead of time. While you can’t always predict future work schedules based on past schedules, you can consider other factors. For example, an approaching summer holiday might require more lifeguards on duty.
Define any required qualifications for each shift. If you have a plan qualifying people for shifts, you’ll get the right employees scheduled at the right time. Let’s say, for example, that you need four nurses total for a shift, but at least one needs to be fluent in Spanish. Having a plan to qualify available workers before you schedule them will ensure you have the right employees scheduled at the right time.
Integrated Time and AttendanceUsing technology to track time and attendance improves the efficiency of workforce scheduling processes through automation. If your workplace does not use a time and attendance software application, you may want to investigate adding this functionality to your employee scheduling software service.
Tip 2: Assess Resource Pool
Once you understand exactly what you need, you can assess whether your current labor resources are a match those needs. In addition to your hourly workers, you may need to factor in any non-personnel resources at this stage. Here are a few important factors to consider as you make your assessment:
Once you understand resource demands, look ahead to identify upcoming events that may impact employee availability. For example, if a three-day weekend is fast approaching, your labor pool may be smaller than usual.
If you forecast a significant increase in resource needs, then you will probably want additional analysis. In this case, assess what you will need by role, location, and availability. Give yourself some extra room beyond expected demand to make sure you can allocate enough resources.
If non-personnel resources are in the mix, they should be on the schedule, too. For example, if a security firm provides vehicles for their guards to make rounds, the vehicles should be added to the shifts on the master work schedule.
Accurately predicting resource needs is essential, but can get complicated quickly when non-personnel resources, hourly worker needs, and fluctuating demand are all at play. For complex scheduling environments, workforce scheduling technology is a huge help. Tools such as Shiftboard’s Demand Planner use sophisticated algorithms to forecast resources based on historical patterns.
Tip 3: Define Scheduling Rules
Regulations, policies, and processes all drive how you make the work schedule. And it gets complicated quickly. Seniority, overtime status, location, and certifications are common factors that need to be reflected in the hourly schedule. Scheduling rules based on these factors may also be unique to your organization, so clear guidelines are extremely important. To avoid confusion, make sure that all managers understand the guidelines or rules before shifts are assigned.