Small Business Brief

Business Advice

Top Tips for Making Staff Scheduling Easier

Staff scheduling can be a real headache, but with these top tips on making a schedule that works for your business and your staff, it doesn’t have to be!

Through years of trial and error, major retailers have learned that they could lower turnover rates by 28% through making scheduling easier. Staff scheduling issues cause conflicts between employees who want to work more desirable shifts or who work a second job. By solving your scheduling issues, you make life easier for you and your employees.

In the service industry, it’s common for people to work part-time while they’re in school, while their kids are in school, or during the holidays. You need to manage the needs of both your full-time and part-time employees. Cutting into full-time hours could upset full-time employees, while lack of hours could cause you to lose good part-time employees.

Hiring and training take time and effort away from building your business. Follow these six tips for retaining your employees and avoiding staff scheduling headaches.

1. Recruit the Best Employees

The first step to getting employees who will help you fix staff scheduling issues is to hire the best. While you can never tell if someone is going to be a good fit, your interview process is the best tool you have for trying to determine that. Asking the right questions can help you get to know what your employees need from you and let them know what you expect from them.

Ask them realistically how many hours they can give to you a week. Get to know their scheduling restrictions from day one. Make sure they have a personality and passion that fits with your company’s overall mission.

2. Communication Is Everything

When your employees feel like they can communicate openly, they will help you avoid issues with staff scheduling. If your employees have a death in the family, trouble with childcare, or fluctuations with a second job, make sure they understand they need to let you know.

If you can balance out everyone’s schedule in advance, you can help ensure you have the coverage you need while accommodating valuable staff.

If employees fear bringing up scheduling conflicts with you, they will either call out or wait until the last minute to tell you. Keeping an open line of communication informs them of your needs and gives value to theirs.

3. Start the Onboarding Process Early

Make sure employees feel welcome and prepared for their first shift. Take the time before they’re overwhelmed with work to run them through your staff scheduling system. This will ensure that they can ask questions before they need a critical day off.

They’ll understand how other people are communicating and how to use the tools you’ve put in place. They’ll feel excited about their job and their ability to manage their own schedule. If your scheduling tool allows for trading shifts, let them know how it works long in advance of their first day.

4. Be a Leader, Not a Boss

The difference between a leader and a boss is that a leader can inspire people to work together, across roles, laterally. A leader will take on tough work because it needs to be done. A boss will use their authority to delegate tasks out that they don’t want to do.

A leader will inspire staff to keep tough shifts, knowing they will be rewarded with more optimal shifts later. A leader can help people see the common goal that’s larger than any individual’s needs and keep everyone focused on success.

5. Stay Connected to Technology

The most important thing you can do for your staff is to know which tools work best and be willing to try new things. Look at trade magazines, talk to other business owners, and try tools out for yourself.

See what the most common feedback is for a new tool so you can avoid something that doesn’t work for your industry. Just because everyone is using a tool doesn’t mean that it’s efficient.

Once you find a new application or piece of software, get your most trusted employees on board with it. See how they like it and if they can see the benefits of it as well. Once you get them to use it, you can have them act as ambassadors to other employees.

You can solve staff scheduling issues by having your staff train each other. Make sure everyone has the technology and tools they need. If someone needs help, make the time to ensure they understand everything about a tool.

Tools like Time Clock Wizard offer employees and management lots of tools to create schedules and resolve conflicts. Give yourself plenty of time to learn the technology before you replace your current system.

6. Give Schedules in Advance and Be Flexible

Scheduling your staff can be a day to day issue. At large bars and restaurants, one person takes on the specific role of managing the schedules of all employees.

It can be hard to accommodate everyone as your business grows. By giving out schedules far in advance, you can notify employees of changes or expected fluctuations. This gives employees the time to move things around in their life.

It also gives everyone time to resolve conflicts. The last thing you need is to unlock the door in the morning to have no one show up for work. Giving everyone enough time to look at their schedules and compare it with their other responsibilities ensures they can strike a good work/life balance.

Knowing your schedule issues in advance makes life easier for everyone from CEO to payroll, who need to be able to accurately generate everyone’s pay stubs.

Staff Scheduling Helps Your Business Move

Whether you’re looking to grow or simply looking to make things more efficient, solving scheduling issues is a major hurdle for any business. You need your staff to grow and they need you to schedule them appropriately. Once you’ve got enough staff using the right amount of resources and making the right amount of profit, you can start planning for the future.

If you’re looking to improve productivity during the day, check out our guide to designing for a more efficient workplace.