Employee Scheduling

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What is Employee Scheduling? 

Scheduling is the planning and managing of anticipated employee work hours, breaks, and time off. Things like employee availability and skills along with business requirements and demand should be taken into account to understand how many employees are needed and which employees fit this business need.

Companies can leverage historical data to determine business trends and averages like revenue or sales generated, customers served, products made / shipped / received, etc. From this data, business requirements can be created to understand what jobs and shifts need to be scheduled on the day and shift they need to be filled in order to meet projected demand. 

Employee records should be maintained and used to track employee data like job, skills or certifications, rates, and any other factors that can provide an indication on which employees can be scheduled for which open shifts. 

The Importance of Employee Scheduling

Best-in-class employee scheduling is all about getting the right person, with the right skills, in the right place... at the right time.

However, employee scheduling can be a complex, time-consuming, and downright frustrating task, especially with a larger, multi-location workforce. Organizations that don't get scheduling right tend to have overstaffed shifts, shorthanded rushes, excessive overtime, employee burnout and disengagement, and even labor law compliance issues.

Organizations that don't do scheduling well tend to overspend on budget, experience employee burnout, and have lower customer satisfaction rates.   

When executed well, scheduling results in a near-perfect match of employee availability, preferences, seniority, pay rates, skills, and certifications with fluctuating business demand to maximize productivity, engagement, and profits. The best employee scheduling software and solutions can help companies become best-in-class scheduling experts.    

Employee Scheduling Software

Trying to schedule an increasingly diverse workforce using manual processes, spreadsheets, or disconnected processes and systems leads to lackluster results. 

In today's digital world, employee scheduling software should, at a minimum, integrate with employee time tracking or time & attendance software. This will make it much easier to keep track of employee scheduled vs actual work time, labor costs, and much more.

Easy-to-use scheduling tools and automated workflows should result in:

  • Creation of schedules that align budget and demand.
  • Automatic enforcement of scheduling rules and policies.
  • Reduced risk of employee grievances, litigation, and fines.
  • On-demand visibility into accurate employee data and labor costs.
  • Intelligent staffing decisions made by managers in real-time.

What companies often need is a tightly integrated employee scheduling software solution within a wholistic human capital management (HCM) technology stack. The best employee scheduling software is typically a module within a single-database platform that leverages a single employee record across an entire suite of HCM solutions.

This will result in automatically generating best-fit schedules based on an organization’s unique requirements to help control labor costs, minimize compliance risk, improve productivity, and drive employee engagement.

Employee Scheduling Software Features

Employee scheduling software features should fall under four buckets - Build, Fill, Manage, and Measure.

Building Employee Schedule Features

  • Automate schedule generation
  • Identify budgets and workloads
  • Define shifts and schedules
  • Create schedule rules and constraints
  • Review schedule pattern templates
  • Edit plans and adjust schedules

Filling Employee Schedule Features:

  • Identify employee groups or individuals
  • Match employee skills and proficiency
  • Automatic shift assignment
  • View open shifts

Managing Employee Schedule Features:

  • Schedule change alerts and notifications
  • Job and skill tracking
  • Credential and certification tracking
  • Drag-and-drop shift transfer
  • Staff call lists
  • Employee preferences
  • Fatigue management
  • Open-shift management
  • Manager self-service
    • View available staff that meet shift criteria
    • Offer open shifts to staff  
  • Employee self-service
    • Request shift coverage
    • Shift swaps
    • Request-to-fill open shifts

Measuring Employee Schedule Features and Reporting:

  • Configurable schedule reporting
  • Shift coverage graphs and metrics
  • Detailed audit trails to understand changes
  • Planned schedules vs. actual schedules 

Employee Scheduling Software Benefits

The best employee scheduling software and solutions should result in the following benefits to your company:

  • Scheduling the right employee with the right skills in the right place at the right time
  • Controlling labor costs by making informed scheduling decisions that take into account budget constraints
  • Improving workforce productivity by aligning staff coverage with fluctuating business demand, driving employee engagement by giving workers more control over their schedules via self-service
  • Minimizing compliance risk by automatically enforcing scheduling policies, labor laws, and union rules
  • Avoiding safety violations by scheduling employees with the right skills and certifications for the job
  • Simplifying schedule creation and management so managers can focus on the business of the business and more strategic priorities

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