Questions to Ask About Your Scheduling Practices

March 10, 2021 | 393 views

Questions to Ask About Your Scheduling Practices
Questions to Ask About Your Scheduling Practices

Over the years, I’ve had to consider changes in employee scheduling. Most managers don’t want to change employee schedules, but usually, there was some sort of catalyst: a law change, a business change, or a complaint (or two) that demanded a review of how employees were scheduled.

When the status quo is not an option for scheduling, the prospect of change deserves a thorough rethinking of the goals and needs of both the business and of employees. To be effective, we must understand and agree on goals and then implement scheduling changes while being sensitive to everyone affected. Every stakeholder, then, should be considered by asking key questions about what scheduling change makes sense.

What are we doing now, and how is it working for everyone?

Getting to Point B means knowing where you are right now, that is, Point A. And Point A means assessing what effect current scheduling practices have on the business and on employees. You need information to make this assessment. While there is plenty of research on employee preferences, it is your employees that matter. So ask them what works and what could be better. Not every idea will be feasible, but being open to their input will contribute to a favorable result.

Likewise, what scheduling problems exist for the business? Are labor costs too high, or does overtime suggest that a better system is needed? Is scheduling taking too much time that could benefit from simple technology? Discovering the best balance for business resources and employee needs will grow from the seeds of exploring the pros and cons of Point A. You have to know where you are before you know which way to go forward.

Is it possible to balance everyone’s needs?

A business must be successful for its longevity, and that longevity is also important to employees’ well-being. If the business is not successful, there will not be jobs to offer in the long run. In planning schedules, we always look at what the business needs. Also, we look for what could work for employees. If more employees need regular schedules while others want flexibility, is there a way to fulfill those requests and still meet the business needs?

It is not always an easy answer. When we commit to more consistent hours, we may find that our labor costs increase while employees do less as they await the end of a shift. On the other hand, we may find that employees respond well when we satisfy their scheduling needs. Commonly, employees with fewer hours do just as much work as others because they are glad for flexibility in their schedules.

Neither businesses nor employees want volatility. Employers don’t want it in production levels and employee morale, and employees don’t want schedules to create havoc on their personal lives. By asking for input and being open to ideas, you will find the balance needed to meet your business needs and your employee needs. It may not be possible to get everything that everyone wants, but balanced and thoughtful consideration will reveal the ideal scheduling process.

Scheduling practices change for various reasons. Just this past year, our locations, methods, and communications around schedules have had to adapt to legal restrictions and health requirements. Change can be difficult, but it can bring a fresh view of how best to schedule your business’s employees. Point B is attainable when you consider business and employee needs and then balance your scheduling practices for optimum benefit.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. For many years, Atlas Business Solutions has been named one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies.

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