Employee Scheduling Tricks You Should Be Using

July 23, 2013 | 32,457 views

Employee Scheduling Tricks

Employee Scheduling Tricks

A small business manager can spend hours in front of an Excel spreadsheet building employee schedules weeks in advance. In fact, some managers are so amazing at this method of employee scheduling that they can schedule staff that aren’t even hired yet! They know who they need. They know when they need them. And, they know how long they need them for.


Knowing your employee schedule and being prepared for what will come is a lot easier than not knowing. Knowing in advance you have routine full-time shifts to schedule, several part-time hours to cover, an employee or two with flexible needs, seasonal employees with limited availability and last-minute requests to accommodate is a lot easier than flying by the seat of your pants.


But what happens if you don’t have an amazing spreadsheet tucked away near your bedside every evening or you’re not “in the know”? You still have a need and obligation to schedule your employees’ week in and week out as part of your job, but doing so is getting more demanding each and every time you do it. Well, maybe it’s time to change some behavior to cover the problems you experience every time you sit down to put together a schedule. Maybe it’s time to stop thinking that magic will happen and “this week will be different.”


Being ready with an effective employee scheduling plan is worth its weight in gold and here are a few scheduling tips to help you eliminate hopes of a better scheduling routine and replacing it with proven actions that work for other small business managers.


Plan Schedules in Advance

If you are manager with seasonal or part-time employee in the retail business or a similar industry, you already know your role is to fill in or add extra help to the regular staff during peak times of the year. This demand can change often and quickly, depending on many factors, and you have most likely found yourself adjusting schedules accordingly with little or no choice or notice.


In order to help alleviate some of these chaotic methods, make sure you post employee schedules in advance, up to a week if you can. In addition, you should get in the routine of creating employee schedules up to a month in advance, without posting them. Make employees aware you do this so they get in the habit of giving you availability and time off requests sooner. When you have the consistency of doing so, you will begin to avoid any confusion or last minute scheduling changes as your employees know they are held accountable for those shifts further in advance. Moreover, you give employees enough time to find someone to cover their shift if it doesn’t work for them. You will also find this method limits employee’s excuses for missing shifts or coming late to work.


Have a Scheduling Backup Plan

An employee schedule is on a path of destruction without a backup plan. If you really want to seamlessly schedule your employees, you need to account for last minute calls into work to cancel shifts. Even though you posted the employee schedule multiple weeks before, there could be a million excuses why an employee might call in sick. Having a trusted employee you can call in to work last minute is critical in developing a seamless scheduling method.


Quit Tolerating Missed Shifts

An employee not showing up for work means someone else needs to carry the weight, and since it’s a very small staff group, that person is usually you, the manager. This involves spending half of the day doing the absent employee’s front-line work, as well as rearranging your schedule (unexpectedly, at the very last minute) to start your day earlier or end up staying later to finish.


One of the easiest ways for managers to let their schedules go awry is by excusing too many absences or tardiness to work. The more you let these behaviors continue the worse they will get. By all means talk to your employee and share the fact that their sick time is above average and that it is creating a problem. There is also the real question of “is this someone you want working for you”, and if the answer is “no” you will likely have other issues to address as well.


Take Advantage of Online Scheduling Software

One of the most effective ways to seamlessly schedule employees in any industry is through the use of online employee scheduling software. Not only does specialized scheduling software offer a simple way to effectively schedule employees, but it also offers an exciting approach to improving the manager-to-employee communication experience. Online employee scheduling software brings managers of any sized business a solution to effectively communicate work schedules to each employee as well as giving the employee the ability to communicate changes and requests back to the manager.


Communicate with Employees

When you understand your employees’ individual work styles, preferences and needs, you can gain their trust. You can motivate them to achieve greater productivity, more effective teamwork and higher morale, thus resulting in a more reliable and trusted employee.


Good communication is a two-way street, a process of give and take between you and your employees. When you initiate conversations with staff members, greet them personally and listen sincerely. Ask friendly questions, such as “How’s the family?” and “What’s going on with you?” When you take the time to engage on a personal level with employees, you will find that your employee scheduling conflicts begin to disappear over the course of time and scheduling headaches are kept at a minimum.


About ScheduleBase

ScheduleBase is online employee scheduling software from Atlas Business Solutions, the leader in providing employee scheduling software. In little to no time, businesses can schedule employees online and communicate work schedules by email, text message and mobile device. Put your scheduling online and save time and money while offering your employees easier access to their schedules and an effective communication tool for you.

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