Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘scheduling abuse’? It’s something that happens all the time as teams grow larger and the number of independent and temporary workers increases, and it’s not pretty. Essentially, it’s an attempt to force shift employees to work without pay. Using techniques like requiring an employee to work overtime without prior consent or additional payment, or scheduling shifts just a few days (or hours!) in advance, managers try to squeeze every last drop out of an understaffed team.
Managers often think they’re doing the right thing by maximising output from limited resources. “Why not structure the shift schedule so that my shorthanded team covers all the hours, without any added paid overtime?” they ask. “Why not change shifts at short notice, disregard formal holiday requests if we cannot spare the person, or cancel shifts at the last minute?” The manager invariably feels they are working for the betterment of the organisation as a whole, squeezing productivity and profits from the existing payroll, and that it would be churlish to object to these practices.
What that manager doesn’t factor in, however, is that unhappy employees quit.
In a typical case, a store staffed by ten people plus a manager spends a lot of money to replace workers rendered unhappy by scheduling malpractice – much more than they would if they paid each employee for two ‘unnecessary’ eight hour shifts a week.
So ensure that scheduling abuse doesn’t occur at your place of work. Implement these four easy steps in your business to save some money… and do the right thing by your employees!
1. Make informed scheduling decisions
To prepare an effective scheduling chart, first gather all available information about your organisation. How busy are you on different days of the week? What task does each of your employees perform best? What are your peak hours, and what are your best-selling products? Make informed decisions based on this data. For example, you may need to schedule an extra person on Monday mornings, or schedule a strong worker during your peak hours and weaker workers for quieter hours. Ensure that you don’t waste crucial shifts, or reduce customer satisfaction by being understaffed during key periods.
2. Be attentive to your employees’ needs
Scheduling abuse effects the company’s bottomline, but impacts more than that – it’s a terrible human resource strategy that can result in demotivated, disengaged employees. Treating your employees with respect and care keeps their morale high and guarantees their loyalty. So pay attention to issues your people raise. When they ask for time off, do your best to accommodate the request. Try to make your schedule at least a month in advance so that employees can plan ahead. An employee who feels valued is more likely to pick up an extra shift if required, or accept even the last-minute cancellation of a shift.
3. Plan a rota of on-call employees
Scheduling employees for shift on very short notice, or on-call, is a form of scheduling abuse only when businesses hire without informing the employee that this will largely be the nature of the job. It can become counterproductive when employees are scheduled for on-call shifts without being asked, resulting in refusal or reluctance and ill-will on both sides. However, on-call scheduling benefits your organisation, as it increases flexibility, and is a completely acceptable practice if employees are hired with the clear understanding that they will be used on-call. Plan to hire highly committed on-call employees who do not depend exclusively on your organisation for a livelihood in order to prevent improper scheduling practices and optimise organisational efficiency.
4. Automate your scheduling through an exclusive scheduling software
Manually organising shifts can sometimes result in inefficiency or unconscious bias. TimeLOGWeb’s Employee Scheduling Software helps save precious time planning and organising your shifts, also automating the process of assigning the best person for the job.
The employee attendance tracker and management software has a smart assignment algorithm, which uses constraint optimisation to take into account requirements of employee, company and customer before making scheduling decisions that work.
Automate your staffing and make effective decisions based on the skills, qualifications and availability of staff with the help of our user-friendly graphical Scheduler. This way, you can save precious time and control labour costs and staff resources to ensure that your budgets remain steady and within control. This Scheduler also implements a simple clocking system, and covers all mobile workforce management needs too. Using an effective automated scheduling software, you can optimise your human resource efficiency.
By following these four simple steps, you can improve employee efficiency and engagement. This increases employee retention and customer satisfaction, and maximises organisation productivity and profitability. In addition, you get to implement the best possible HR practices at your workplace… and build a fantastic employee brand and organisation!
If you enjoyed this blog post you can also read, Why you need a Job Costing and Activity Tracking Software Solution. Click here