What is Employee Scheduling?

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What is Employee Scheduling? 

A business only runs as smoothly as its employee schedules allow, so, understanding what employee scheduler software is, why it's important, and the benefits it can bring is crucial for success. Here is everything employers should know about employee scheduling.

Employee scheduling is the planning and management 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 at a time, where they are needed, and which combinations of employees will result in maximum efficiency. 

Companies can leverage historical data, business trends, and averages like revenue / sales generated, customers served, products made / shipped / received, etc., to understand business requirements and needs. Once defined, managers can use these needs to understand how to best build schedules to address them.

Employee records should be maintained and used to track employee data, such as job history, skills, certifications, rates, and any other factors that can provide additional context for which employees can handle which tasks, and who works best together. 

All of this is easily achievable via a modern employee scheduling tool.

Scheduling Employees - Why Are Best Practices Important?

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 have manual scheduling processes or don't manage employee schedules effectively tend to experience:

  • Overstaffed Shifts
  • Shorthanded Rushes
  • Excessive Overtime
  • Employee Burnout
  • Below Average Employee Engagement
  • Labor Law Compliance Risks
  • Budget Overspend
  • Lower Customer Satisfaction Rates

When executed well, proper scheduling results in a near-perfect match of employee availability, preferences, seniority, pay rates, skills, and certifications, that address fluctuating business demands, maximizing 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. 

What companies often need is a tightly integrated employee scheduling software solution within a holistic 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.

Through an employee scheduling software solution, businesses can automatically generate best-fit schedules based on an organization’s unique requirements to help control labor costs, minimize compliance risk, improve productivity, and drive employee engagement.

Other ways easy-to-use employee scheduling tools can help your business run more smoothly include:

  • 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.

Matching Employee Scheduling Software With Other Timekeeping Solutions

In today's digital world, employee scheduling software should, at a minimum, be able to integrate with employee time tracking and time & attendance software.

When employee scheduling software is matched with time and attendance, it becomes much easier to keep track of employee schedules vs actual work time, and labor costs, enhancing the effectiveness of employee scheduling techniques even further.

Employee Scheduling Features and Tools 

Employee scheduling software features should fall under four buckets - Building, Filling, Managing, and Measuring - in addition to the benefits that come with them.

What Features Should Employee Schedule Software Include

Here are some things to look for when shopping for employee scheduler software

Building Employee Schedules

Employee scheduling software should have the following tools to help build the perfect employee schedule template for your business:

  • 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 Schedules

Employee scheduling software should have the following tools to help you assign shifts to the right employees: 

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

Managing Employee Schedules

Employee scheduling software should have the following tools to help manage your employee schedules once complete:

  • 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 Effectiveness

Employee scheduling software should have the following tools to help analyze the effectiveness of your employee schedules:

  • 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 for companies:

  • 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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