Employee scheduling is just one of the many hats you must wear as a business owner or manager. However, it can exhaust so much of your time and energy that other aspects business operations can suffer. There’s a lot riding on your schedule, so it’s worth it for you to take a lesson in making it better. Here are some pointers for how to improve your employee scheduling techniques:
Begin with your Labor Budget
This is an important first step because you can use your labor budget to determine exactly how many employees you can afford to schedule, as well as which of them it makes the most sense, financially, to put on the schedule, and for how many hours. If you don’t approach the task of scheduling with a firm knowledge of your budget parameters, then you can end up wasting a lot of time on schedule revisions.
Get to know your Employees
You should be familiar enough with each and every employee to know their skill set, strengths and weaknesses, learning/training preferences, interoffice dynamics, and more. Use this valuable information to play to employees’ best qualities when scheduling.
Pay Attention to Employee Relationships
It’s a plain, hard fact that outside circumstances can, and do, affect employee performance. One of the most influential circumstances in this regard is the relationships your employees have with each other. If you pay attention, you will notice that some of your employees are more productive when they are working with certain people. Conversely, you will also notice that some employees don’t work well together at all. You can drastically strengthen your schedule by keeping these relationships in mind when plotting out which employees to schedule, and for which shifts.
Ask your Employees about their Availability
Keep an ongoing availability calendar in a place where your employees (and/or you) can keep track of employee availability. Have your employees block out the times they are able to work, as well as the times they are unavailable. It’s a good idea to also have your employees choose availability for more than one shift. This gives you more options when you sit down to create your schedule.
Make use of Scheduling Software
These days, you have a lot of help from technology when it comes to employee scheduling. Whether you want to create a new schedule from scratch or generate a report on employee attendance, chances are you can find an array of products that can automate, streamline, and simplify whatever scheduling-related task you face. Explore scheduling software options, like When I Work, from web-based services to smart phone apps to computer programs, to determine which might be the right fit for your scheduling needs.
Many managers report that employee scheduling can require a lot of time, and a grueling amount of work. Fortunately, there are ways to significantly improve the process, as long as you are willing to make some changes and use the resources available to you. These tips are a great start.