a man plan for his team schedule

5 Scheduling Techniques to Optimize Your Workforce

Scheduling your employees for shifts should be a breeze and take as little time as possible. But did you know that, on average, managers spend around 3.14 hours every week on employee scheduling? Even enormous companies find it challenging to formulate employee schedules and are still prone to occasional errors.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. In this article, we’ll talk about the right strategies to make workforce scheduling faster and easier.

Understand the characteristics of different shifts

One shift isn’t always equal to another. There are quite a lot of differences when it comes to opening, closing, and prepping at different times of the day.

There will be shifts that are busier or shifts that generate better tips. Keep in mind that most of the time, you’ll need specific people covering each of these particular periods.

You must understand and account for the needs of each shift so that you can adequately cover times with the right workers. This way, you’ll be able to hire, train, and more reliably allocate your team to cover different shifts.

Allow flexible scheduling

In today’s job market, flexibility is highly ranked. With that in mind, it’s wise to consider different shift options for your employees — part-time, split-shifts, extended shifts, compressed schedules, etc. Remember, your goal should always be an appropriately balanced workforce.

The benefits of flexible scheduling cover this aspect and are truly undeniable. Not only will this help you acquire more talent, but it will also improve your employee retention. In the end, flexible scheduling will increase employee satisfaction and reduce hiring costs.

Facilitate open communication

Open communication is the absolute key to avoiding various business issues such as missed shifts, arguments, and incomplete tasks. Proper communication can quickly solve all these issues.

You or your manager must build trust and instill confidence in the team members. This allows them to candidly and comfortably share their work preferences with you. This type of sharing is beneficial if you manage a small but growing business or project. It’s crucial to develop strong relationships with your small group of employees and team members, and knowing their priorities is valuable in developing and maintaining those relationships.

You may consider bringing in a skilled project manager to oversee scheduling techniques and facilitate the open communication you need.

For now, here are a few stepping stones to help you achieve these sincere connections:

  • Share information transparently. It’s essential to keep everyone in the loop when it comes to the latest company news. Ensure transparency, whether it’s about a new seasonal promotion, event, or changes to employee schedules.
  • Create a space for private discussions and anonymous feedback. Another excellent way for managers to build effective communication is by listening to feedback. Often, it isn’t easy for employees to be honest with their boss, though. This is why having a dedicated private space to hear them out is so valuable. Eventually, employees might become more comfortable speaking to you directly about concerns and decisions.

Build a standby pool

Despite incredible incentives, there’s no denying how challenging it is to find employees who can work undesirable shifts. Building a standby pool could be an excellent solution for companies with high turnover or irregular hours. People in your standby pool will serve as substitutes when your regular employees aren’t available.

Having on-call employees also prevents you from forcing your current staff to work extra. Of course, you may consult them first if they’re interested in working extra hours. However, it’s good to maintain a standby pool if they decline.

Use scheduling software

Technology is already overtaking various repetitive and time-consuming tasks, including workforce scheduling. Admittedly, manual scheduling just requires too much time and effort and is even more prone to errors.

So, it’s best to invest in a software solution that’s easy to use and best fits your company’s needs. With the proper software, managers have a central place to schedule shifts, notify schedule changes, and manage attendance more efficiently.

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Workforce scheduling can be challenging, but there are options available to make the process much easier for you. Use this information to address your specific issues, optimize your workforce, and become more efficient than ever before. For more tips to help you get started, you can also check out a more in-depth work scheduling guide.

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