There is nothing worse than experiencing an employee scheduling mishap. It interferes with the smooth flow of activities and might end up disorienting you. The worst case scenario is when you run short of employees due to poor scheduling. You might be needed to put everything you are doing to a halt in order to go and try to find someone to cover for the existing gap. Below is a list of six simple ways to avoid employee scheduling nightmares.
1. Utilize Employee Scheduling Software
Technology has made employee scheduling easier nowadays. The latest software allows you to evaluate the entire week. It can also give you the availability of your employees, your hours of operation, and the number of hours that you can schedule without exceeding your budget. With all this information at your disposal, scheduling becomes extremely easy and saves you a lot of time.
The possibility of making a mistake when scheduling with software is minimal. You can automatically send an alert to your employees in case there is a change in schedule by posting the schedule on an online portal. You can also email the alert to your employees. It is easy to swap a shift with such software too, because it will tell you who is available for the shift that needs to be covered. Employees will be able to handle shift swaps without any struggle.
2. Double-checking the schedule
This might sound obvious, but double-checking can really save you from unnecessary trouble. Most scheduling mishaps occur because of the boss, i.e. the one who formulates the schedule. In most cases, the boss can get confused as he or she comes up with the schedule. For instance, an employee that is already out for leave might be assigned a task, eventually resulting in under-staffing. You should thus ensure that you double-check the schedule after it is created and right before it is posted for everyone to see. This will help you locate any errors and give you a chance to rectify.
3. Always be considerate.
Being reasonable is a virtue that you can’t afford to lose when handling employees’ schedules. You can easily do this by communicating in good time. For instance, if you would like someone to work late, you should ask him or her in advance, at least a day before. This will give the employee enough time to reschedule their plans to accommodate that change. This should also apply to any changes you intend to make in the schedule. This will help you avoid a scenario where an employee can’t totally make it when you expect them to be working.
Making a schedule a month in advance is normally the best strategy, that way employees are able to prepare themselves to avoid any confusion in between the month. This shows that you totally respect their time. If you show your employees that you respect them, they will be able to take an extra shift when you need them to. When the schedule gets tight, they will be willing to adjust their plans to ensure things are moving in the right direction for the company.
4. Come up with a process for employee availability
It’s good to give your staff a chance to tell you their preferred working hours. As an HR manager you will be able to encourage a collaborative working environment. When you are aware of your staff’s preference, you will be able to place them on a shift that suits them and therefore improving their motivation to work. It will also lower the chances of an employee missing their shifts. Give them a chance to pick at least two preferred shifts.
5. Plan for the worst case scenario
As you formulate the work schedule, you should consider any and all emergency factors. You should always have a plan B if your initial plan backfires, that way you will avoid any panic if a certain employee doesn’t show up or fails to come to work.
6. Allocate the right person for the task
You should know the strengths and weaknesses of your employees before you prepare a work schedule. This will enable you to schedule your employees depending on their skills and talents. Don’t just aim to get the job done – you should aim to get the job done perfectly.