If there’s one thing managers have to do better than anyone is schedule staff effectively and efficiently, otherwise, no work would ever get done. Creating a fair and proper employee schedule creates order and flow, plus it ensures a smooth-running business and helps minimizes employee complaints.
It’s important that the manager and employee communicate with one another otherwise there are just too many negative consequences that pop up and stick. That’s why we created 6 tips on how to manage employee scheduling in small businesses going forward:
1. Go digital or go home
A trend for 2020 that small businesses must be aware of is that many companies are making the digital switch. Instead of relying on Excel sheets for employee scheduling,
companies are looking for a digital and mobile solution to review their schedule, swap shifts, ask for time off and more, all from their mobile devices.
Connecteam is an award-winning employee scheduling app that makes it easy to schedule shifts and dispatch jobs. Managers can create single, multiple or team shifts, or can upload bulk files with an Excel sheet. In addition, you save valuable time with calendar view, drag & drop options, and easily copy last week’s shifts. Benefit from Connecteam’s in-app chat and employee directory so you can scale workforce operations.
With Connecteam, you help prevent misunderstandings and complaints by keeping the schedule simple, clear and easily accessible.
2. Know your team
The needs and wants of your employees must be taken into consideration when creating an employee schedule. This helps create a healthy work-life balance for your employees and also creates an enjoyable workplace atmosphere. Consider that a working parent would prefer evenings and weekends off to spend time with their children. Whereas a college student is more open to picking up shifts that are “random” as their schedule allows for more freedom. It’s your job to create a schedule that works for everyone!
On top of that, be sure to consider who your employees are and what they’re like so you can use it to your advantage. Basically, make sure your best employee is working the shift they are best suited for – like efficient and experienced employees should be on the clock during rush hour, whereas a more personable, chatty employees should be around when customers are more likely to linger. It’s all about balance.
3. Know your company
Here’s the thing, if you don’t understand your company or its needs then you will never create a working, efficient schedule. Know what hours and days you have the most foot traffic so you can have enough staff on the clock. Plus, know when things are the slower so you don’t have too many employees clocked in with nothing to do.
4. Time off and preferences must be honored
Honoring your employee’s time-off requests and work preferences helps you build trust, employees are more satisfied and you retain your best employees. While this is crucial, you may have some trouble remembering what everyone wants so be sure to store all the information on your smartphone, in the scheduling software or anywhere it’s easily accessible.
However, make sure you’re clear about the rules because you don’t want everyone asking for time off or weekends off. That only causes a disruption to the workplace environment. Be clear and firm on how far in advance requests need to be made, what the process is for requesting time off and more. This helps keep things running smoothly.
5. Employees can find their own replacement
By allowing your employees to find their own replacement or to swap shifts, you naturally reduce your own workload. Instead of having your staff call you to say they can’t come in and now you need to scramble to find someone to cover for them, save valuable time by making it the employee’s responsibility. It’s easy to swap shifts when using scheduling software as we mentioned in the first tip. Through the calendar view, it’s easy to see who is available. However, make sure that the replacement is suitable for the role otherwise you’ll have a hostess working as a cook!
6. Create the schedule in advance
If you’re creating a schedule at the last minute, you aren’t doing anyone any favors. By creating the schedule in advance, you have more flexibility to move things around or can quickly manage mistakes. Plus, employees are better able to prepare themselves if they have scheduling conflicts.
Aim to create the schedule a week or two in advance to allow enough time for your employees to create a healthy work-life balance with friends and family outside of work, while you can focus on the big picture.
When your employees aren’t happy with the schedule, they’re less likely to show up and will offer poor customer service. Both scenarios are ones you want to avoid, that’s why it’s important to maintain good relations with your employees. So when you’re creating
the schedule, acknowledge the needs of your employees, have an open dialogue, have clear procedures and use scheduling software to automate the process.
Featured Image: Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash