Scheduling is an integral part of any organisation's operations as it enables a streamlined and seamless operating model. However, it's not without its challenges. Employee rota and scheduling issues can significantly impact productivity, employee satisfaction, and even the bottom line.
In this article, we will explore these issues in-depth, providing insights into their causes and consequences. We will also offer practical solutions on how to tackle employee rota and scheduling challenges effectively, ensuring improved productivity and happier employees.
What is employee rostering?
Employee rostering, also known as employee scheduling, is a crucial management task that involves creating and maintaining a work schedule for staff. It determines when employees are needed to work, the roles they will perform, and the hours they are expected to be on duty. This process needs to consider various factors such as employee availability, skill sets, labour laws, and business needs.
Effective rostering ensures that the right number of employees with the right skills are present at the right time, leading to increased productivity, reduced labour costs, and improved employee satisfaction.
Why is it important to get right?
Getting employee rostering right is vital for several reasons:
- It ensures that the business operations run smoothly with the right number of staff available at the right time, leading to improved customer service and business productivity.
- Well-planned rosters can help in reducing labour costs by avoiding overstaffing or understaffing.
- Fair and predictable rosters contribute to greater job satisfaction among employees, reducing turnover rates and fostering a positive work environment.
- Accurate rostering helps businesses stay compliant with labour laws and avoid potential legal issues related to overtime, underpayment, or inadequate rest periods.
Effective employee rostering is not just a scheduling task, but a strategic tool for business success.
What are some common employee scheduling problems
Overstaffing and understaffing:
Striking a balance between too many and too few staff can be challenging. Overstaffing leads to increased labour costs, while understaffing can overburden employees and impact customer service.
Unpredictable events like employee sickness or unexpected leaves can lead to last-minute changes in the employee working schedule, causing disruption and confusion.
If some employees consistently get fewer desirable shifts, it can lead to perceived unfairness and conflict within the team.
Inadequate shift coverage:
Failing to schedule the right mix of skills and experience on each shift can affect operational efficiency and customer service.
Without adequate rest periods between shifts, employees can experience burnout, leading to decreased productivity and higher turnover.
Non-Compliance with labour laws:
Failure to comply with labour laws regarding overtime, minimum rest periods, and employee rights can lead to legal issues.
Lack of flexibility:
Rigid working schedules that don't consider individual employee needs can lead to dissatisfaction and high turnover rates.
Without clear communication, employees may not be aware of their shifts or any changes to the work schedule, leading to missed shifts and confusion.
Time-Consuming manual processes:
Manual scheduling processes can be time-consuming and prone to errors, taking valuable time away from other managerial duties.
Lack of employee input:
If employees have no say in their work schedules, it can lead to dissatisfaction and lower commitment to the job.
How to fix workplace scheduling issues
Shortage of employees:
To combat this issue, maintain a pool of part-time or on-call employees who can step in when needed. Additionally, cross-training employees to perform multiple roles can ensure that crucial functions are always covered.
Avoid overscheduling by accurately forecasting business demand and scheduling employees accordingly. Utilise scheduling software that can analyse historical data and predict future staffing needs.
Implement a centralised scheduling system which allows for easy access and updates. This system can help keep track of employee availability, shift swaps, and time-off requests, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Create a clear policy for reporting absences as soon as possible. Also, having a standby list of employees who can cover last-minute absences can help keep operations running smoothly.
High turnover can often be a sign of deeper issues such as low job satisfaction or inadequate compensation. Address these issues to retain your staff and maintain a consistent schedule.
Not planning for vacations and time off:
Encourage employees to submit their time-off requests well in advance. This will allow you to adjust the work schedule accordingly and avoid any gaps in coverage.
Implement strict policies for no-shows and ensure they are consistently enforced. This could include disciplinary actions or even termination for repeat offenders.
Use scheduling software that creates clear, easy-to-read work schedules. This can reduce confusion and ensure everyone knows when they are supposed to work.
Lack of availability:
Have open conversations with your employees about their availability and try to accommodate their needs as much as possible. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and lower turnover rates.
Ensure that shift assignments are fair and transparent. Consider rotating weekend and holiday shifts among your staff to prevent burnout and resentment.
No formal schedule:
Establish a formal scheduling process. This should include how far in advance schedules will be posted, how shift swaps should be handled, and what the procedure is for calling in sick.
Unmonitored shift swapping:
While it's important to offer some flexibility, shift swapping should still be monitored to ensure adequate coverage. Consider implementing a system where all shift swaps must be approved by a manager.
How Advanced Time & Attendance and its auto rostering module can improve rotas and scheduling
There are several advantages unlocked by auto-rostering systems that significantly improve rostering and make the entire process streamlined. Advanced Time and Attendance is a powerful tool designed to help businesses overcome common scheduling issues. Here's how it can benefit your company:
One of the key benefits of this system is its potential for significant labour cost savings. By accurately tracking employees' time, the software eliminates excessive overtime and ensures that staff adhere to their contracted hours, thus preventing overpayment.
The auto-rostering feature of our time & attendance software automates the time-consuming process of manual rostering, freeing up managers to focus on other important tasks. It also streamlines payroll processing, reducing the time spent on calculating pay based on work hours.
The software provides accurate time and attendance information, minimising the risk of human error in bookkeeping. This accuracy is crucial for maintaining compliance with labour laws and regulations.
The system allows employees to access their time and attendance records, keeping them informed about their schedules and hours worked, employees can quickly trade shifts with other qualified employees, in line with the schedule’s rules and constraints. This transparency can lead to increased job satisfaction, better employee relationships and reduced turnover.
Advanced Time and Attendance software provides an easy-to-use alternative to outdated manual processes. Its intuitive interface makes it easy for both managers and employees to use, reducing the learning curve and ensuring a smooth transition from old systems.
Switch to auto-rostering with Advanced
Our comprehensive time and attendance software, Advanced Time and Attendance, has an user-friendly interface and superior features that makes managing complicated work schedules seamless and also enhances the efficiency. Optimise your scheduling process and focus on the more important tasks. Check out our latest people management solutions.