An effective employee scheduling has never been a simple and one-time task. It requires constant changes and updates. And it’s no doubt a significant factor that helps your team and business run smoothly.

Whatever size your business is and whatever method you use to make your staff schedule, you need a proper employee scheduling process. This helps you keep track of your business operations, and your employees know exactly what, when, and where to do their job.

So what are the steps to establish an effective employee scheduling process? Let’s discover more in this post with Camelo.

1. Know your business’s needs

effective employee scheduling helps business growth
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Knowing about your business’ needs is the first thing to do when it comes to building a good staff schedule.

Depending on the size of your business, you may need a certain number of workers for each role and shift. For example, you need 3 baristas and 10 waiters/waitresses for Sunday evening shifts to accommodate the large number of guests at weekends.

Don’t forget to take into consideration the demand of each location of your business if you have more than one running.

2. Know your employees

Some managers simply try to find enough staff to fill the positions, which works, but isn’t the best way to improve the efficiency of their business.

Try to find out more about your employees and find the most suitable ones to cover the shifts. Some teams even allow employees to choose their own shifts, which improves employee satisfaction and willingness to work.

Consider qualifications and requirements for each role

Not everyone is well-qualified for certain roles. You can’t tell a busboy to go into the kitchen and substitute the chef, even if he knows how to cook.

You need to find the right employees with enough qualifications so that they can meet the positions’ requirements and you also avoid legal problems.

effective scheduling
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Consider employee’s personality, strengths and weaknesses

Assigning shifts based on your staff’s traits, strengths, and weaknesses can affect their effectiveness and well-being.

Some people are early birds, while others are night owls. Many prefer a flexible schedule, while others can only work if there’s a fixed timetable. Some are work addicts, while some look for a work-life balance.

A customized schedule based on your employees’ personalities and preferences can be stressful for managers at first, but it will improve employee’s satisfaction and productivity in the long run.

You can make a list of employees and list out information about them like so:

  1. Name
  2. Qualifications
  3. Skills
  4. Availability (Early morning? Late nights? Weekends?)
  5. Number of work hours desired
  6. Location desired
  7. Preferences (willing to work overtime? can’t be contacted on certain time?)
  8. Personality (introverted? extroverted? like dealing with customers?)
  9. Further Notes (little things you notice that may be helpful for scheduling)

Always come back to these references and assign tasks and shifts that you think are best for both the employees and your business.

3. Plan for future events

plan for future events
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Don’t forget to plan ahead for future events such as holidays, employees’ birthdays, or work anniversaries.

Do you plan to open on holidays? Do you want to close your business to celebrate on special occasions?

These are the essential questions you need to ask yourself when planning a long-term work schedule.

4. Be aware of restrictions

Staying compliant can be complicated. Managers should be aware of relevant laws, regulations, policies, and overtime restrictions to avoid legal trouble and fines later on.

You should also create rules and guidelines for your business. This acts as a foundation for your business operation. Plus, these restrictions make it clear to employees what they should do and what they shouldn’t.

5. Assigned shifts based on criteria

effective employee scheduling helps team work effectively
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If you’ve already figured out the information needed above, this step will be much easy whether you plan the work schedule manually or with an employee scheduling software.

Try to follow the criteria below when planning shifts for your staff:

Requirements and Qualifications

Ensure that your employees meet the requirements of the job positions and have all the qualifications needed.

Availability

Managing availability of employees can be a time-consuming and tedious task. You can create spreadsheets on Google Sheets and share them with your employees.

Or you can save yourself from trouble and use an effective employee scheduling software such as Camelo to assign tasks quickly.

Compliance

This criteria is an important one to consider because you don’t want to be involved in legal risks and fines.

Do some staff work overtime too much? Did you distribute the schedules to your employees beforehand? Did you notify them about any changes you made?

Balance

Do some employees get more shifts than the others? Try balance the shifts out to avoid conflict between employees.

6. Make adjustments

effective teamwork
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Scheduling for frontline positions is never a fixed thing. It may change on a regular, or even daily, basis.

Employees working on shifts often ask for time-offs, shift swapping, or worse, they don’t show up at all. Besides planning for a work schedule, you should also build a standby team just in case someone is absent.

Always be prepared for the below situations:

Employees asking for time-offs

Managing time-off requests can be a headache to employers. You have to find the suitable substitutes for the position, and this can be extremely difficult on busy periods.

Make sure you always have alternatives in case someone wants to have a few days off. You can make rules about how far in advance time-off requests can be approved. This can be 1 week or 1 month depending on your business.

No-calls, no-shows

No-calls and no-shows are when employees don’t show up for their shifts and without any prior warnings. This can be due to unexpected accidents, which can be understandable. But sometimes, the cause lies on the irresponsibility of those employees themselves.

To avoid this problem, you can work with an employment attorney and establish a policy stating the consequences of no-calls and no-shows. Employees have to sign a waiver and be responsible for the repercussions of their actions.

Additionally, you should create a list of standby employees looking for overtime opportunities and can jump in anytime. Make sure there’ll be someone covering the shifts, otherwise your business will become a chaos.

Demand fluctuations

There might be busy times when you need a large number of workers to help you operate your business. You can hire contingent workers or prepare a standby pool for these days.

However, there are difficult periods such as the COVID-19 pandemic, when you have to reduce the labor resource to cut down costs and keep your business running. In these cases, you may need to reduce and balance shifts between your employees, or consider to make some layoff decisions.

7. Review your employee scheduling process

You should always review and tweak your employee scheduling process to make it more effective and less time-consuming.

Consider asking your staff about the process to see if there are any changes needed from their perspectives. Communication helps you understand your staff better and figure out the best solutions for your business.

Once you’ve established a proper shift management procedure, you can develop an official handbook with clear guidelines and rules. This handbook is a useful tool to train and manage your staff in the long run.

Employee scheduling can be a time-consuming and challenging process. By following 7 steps above, it’ll be much easier for you to establish an effective staff schedule.

If you find the steps are too complicated to implement with pen and paper, a decent employee scheduling software can definitely take a load off your mind.

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