Organizing a business is no easy task. An important part of it is scheduling the work hours of employees. As a manager, you strive to make your teams as effective as they can be, and you also want to keep your crew happy with the work organization. For many employees, a balanced work-life ratio is an important part of job satisfaction. In today’s fast-paced and complicated business environment, it can be hard to organize work in an efficient manner. Here are some tips that may help you schedule your employees better.
- Start from what is there
The best way to start a change is to analyze what you already have. List all the bad and good sides of the current system, then try to see what causes problems and brainstorm solutions that can solve them. Do not forget to focus on the good aspects as well. Keep them in the scheduling system you plan to introduce. Employees may not always welcome new ideas, and a successful transition aims to connect innovation with something that is both familiar and positive.
- Plan ahead
Your schedule should not be ready at the last minute. Aim to make and publish the schedules at least two weeks out. Keep in mind that your employees have different needs. Some of them need to plan around their other obligations like driving children to childcare or school, home repairs, or just want to know how much time they have available and when. Try to learn all the things that may influence the schedule. Check with your employees if they are expecting changes in their lives that may influence their schedule.
- Share the responsibility
Creating a schedule should never be a one-way street. If you want to create a good rostering process, let them be responsible for their working hours. They should have the ability to swap shifts with coworkers, state their availability and preference for certain working hours. Get familiar with their needs to answer them in the best possible way. That way, you make sure they get the best out of work organization, and you get the best out of them.
- Use scheduling software
Pen and papers will only get you so far with a work schedule. As your business grows, you should think about using specialized programs. Software for batch processing allows you to automate processes such as scripts, tasks, loads, file transfers, and multi-step workloads. Choosing the best rostering software with pre-made roster templates, instant notifications about schedule changes, and other smart features will help you eliminate scheduling mistakes. Even if it may look overwhelming at first, the benefits outweigh all the problems! Research the available options on the market and see what best fits your business needs.
- Communication is the key
Make sure that any changes and updates can be done and seen in real-time. A physical board with a printed schedule is good for the break room, but employees need to be able to look up the changes at any given time. Create channels for communication that offer an instant way of exchanging information. It helps you keep track of any adjustments to the schedule as it happens. It also allows you to react immediately to anything that can disrupt the workflow.
- React to the problems
Too much overtime, shifts that lack people, a lot of absences… All these things point to problems with scheduling. If you notice these things happen frequently, act immediately. Assign specific rules for certain shifts to address the problems, and do not be afraid of making some of the changes permanent. Analyze why people are missing work. Sometimes it may be a sign of scheduling abuse, so be prepared to deal with it.
- Promote it by example
It is no secret that employees are more willing to listen to the manager that shows rather than tells. Want to show how the new method of scheduling is better than the previous one? Use it yourself every day. Thinking about using new software for organizing a work roster? Try it and see how it works. Yes, it may lead to errors and bad calls, but it will also show your employees you are not above getting your hands “dirty”.
- Ask for feedback
When you set up the new scheduling system, ask your employees how they feel about it. Does it work as intended? Do they have all the information they need? Is it easy to use? Since they are going to be using it a lot, it is important to know their opinion. The most important question is – does it make their work easier?
- Look for a way to improve it
Managing employees is a skill that is tested every day. There is always room for improvement. One of the shifts is consistently having trouble with workflow? Look for a way to help them organize. Young workers are faster in accepting changes? Support more experienced ones that may have a hard time adapting. Always be on the lookout for new ideas that may improve your employee scheduling.
About the Author:
Keith Coppersmith is a business and marketing expert who has experienced both the rise and fall of many businesses. As a regular contributor at BizzmarkBlog, he enjoys writing and providing insight of the industry based on both practice and theory