7 Ways to Make Scheduling Easier for Your Business
Fighting the Uphill Scheduling Battle
Let’s face it, scheduling employees while controlling labor costs is a delicate balance. You have to juggle the needs of the company with the availability of your employees, all the while making sure you don’t under or over staff. It’s enough to frustrate the best of us.
The topic of scheduling is important enough that legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress to govern it properly. “The Schedules That Work Act” was created to protect employees from unfair scheduling practices, but employers are just as concerned with creating fair scheduling processes that benefit both employees and the company as a whole.
With the right tools in place, scheduling doesn’t have to be an anxiety attack waiting to happen. Here are seven ways to make scheduling easier for your business:
1. Eliminate Scheduling Abuse
There are many forms of scheduling abuse, so it’s important to know what to look for so you can address it. Scheduling abuse typically occurs when managers have to work with a very strict payroll budget. Common examples are:
- On-call scheduling. This is the most common type of scheduling abuse. It happens when an employee is scheduled to potentially work certain hours. The employee is required to block out those hours to be available, but only works those hours if a manager calls them in. If those hours are not worked, that employee does not get paid. This can cause major conflict with employees, especially if they needed to do something important, like take a sick child to the doctor.
- Last minute cancellations. Some employees may enjoy a surprise day off, but not if they were counting on the money they would have made during that shift.
- Creating schedules on the fly. Employees need to have enough advanced notice of when they are scheduled to work so they can make a plan accordingly, such as having a babysitter to watch their children.
- Updating schedules without notice. This is just as bad as waiting until the last minute to create a schedule. Employees need to know if there is a change to their schedules so they show up on time and for the right shift.
- Making employees stay beyond their scheduled hours. If you have already discussed this with your employee and they are okay with staying, that’s fine. Just make sure you are openly communicating with your scheduled employee so there is a mutual understanding.
2.Hire On-Call Employees
Some employers find that it’s easier to simply hire employees specifically for on-call shifts. It can be beneficial to have a group of on-call employees so money is only spent when workers are needed. These kinds of employees know their schedules will vary based on needs, so the expectation is set from the very beginning. This can help companies better control labor costs. If your company decides to go this route, make sure to consider the following:
- Establish on-call policies. Make sure to create on-call policies for your employee handbook that provide details on what is expected of your on-call employees and of the company.
- Hire the right people. If you make it clear you are looking for on-call employees, you will attract people who are looking for that type of work. They will more than likely be in a situation where their on-call job is not their main source of income, so if they are not called into work, it doesn’t put them in a financial bind.
3. Know Your Business
The best place to start when establishing a good scheduling process is to take a look at your company’s labor costs and trends. If you know that your business typically has busier days of the week or times of the year when more employees are needed to work, you can make better scheduling decisions. Maybe include an extra shift during those busier times or schedule stronger employees during peak hours.
4. Know Your Employees
Understanding your employees’ personal schedules and commitments is also important for successful scheduling. If you have a lot of high school or college students on staff or maybe even single parents who are limited with childcare at certain times, take this into consideration. This also makes your employees feel valued when you show compassion for what’s going on in their lives.
5. Communicate Your Schedule Effectively
Communicate schedules to your employees so they understand how the schedule is created, why it is created that way, and what is expected of them. If you are not going to allow employees to make changes to the schedule or swap shifts with another employee, explain why. Open communication sets a good foundation for a positive work environment.
6. Make Schedule Changes Easy
If you are allowing employees to make schedule changes, like requesting time off or swapping shifts with another employee, make it easy for them to do so. Using an online scheduling solution can streamline this process so everyone has clear visibility into the scheduling process.
7. Provide Online Access to Schedules
Make it easy for your employees to access the schedule by using an employee self-service solution. Making your schedule available online ensure everyone has access and also creates accountability. You can even take advantage of self-service alerts and messages so you are proactively communicating back and forth with employees about schedule updates and changes.
How APS Can Help
APS’s Time & Attendance solution provides built-in scheduling so you can easily create schedules, assign employees to shifts or shifts to employees, and sync schedules with payroll data to ensure accurate pay and control labor costs. To learn more, call us today at 855.945.7921 or schedule a customized demo to see it in action.