As a busy manager, sometimes it can be hard to keep track of every tiny detail. One of the details that often slips through the cracks of a manager's daily to-do list is keeping abreast of every employees' scheduling needs. Some employees may be available only at night during the winter, but all day in the summer. Some may need to be off work early on Thursdays to pick up their kids from soccer practice. Some might be caring for elderly family members and need a more flexible schedule to work around their needs. It's a lot to keep in mind when working on weekly staff scheduling. Often, some of the staff's needs go unmet, which results in unhappy employees and lower productivity. Over time, it can even damage your reputation.
Fair staff scheduling should be a high priority for managers. Without the right tools, however, keeping track of all those different needs would be impossible. With an employee scheduling app, on the other hand, all scheduling problems disappear, and you end up with happier employees, more productive shifts, and a better bottom line. Here are our top four tips for effective staff scheduling using an employee scheduling app.
The first (and most important) tip for fair staff scheduling is getting input from employees. Finding out what shifts employees prefer, and when they cannot work, will help to fine-tune the schedule in the future. With built-in communication tools, employee scheduling apps can help staff members feel heard. With a scheduling app, employees have access to the schedule, are able to see what shifts are open, and can indicate if they can work or not. These features take a lot of the pressure off of management and give a little power back to your employees. When employees feel empowered, they also feel more loyal and part of a healthy community. Loyal and engaged employees are more productive, so give them the shifts they want whenever possible.
Employee scheduling apps can come with built-in labor law tracking, and the best scheduling apps, like Zip Schedules, will send alerts when employees are approaching danger zones. Labor law alerts allow for management and employees to make necessary changes in an instant, aiding in avoiding labor law fines and angry employees suffering from burnout. To prevent labor law violations altogether, when making a new schedule, an employee scheduling app, like Zip Schedules, can alert management to potential issues so they can be adjusted before the schedule is finalized. Employee scheduling apps should also be able to differentiate between adult employees and minors and subsequently apply the correct laws and alerts. Labor law notifications can also alert management to unapproved overtime and missed breaks.
Employees like to be heard, and just as is implied in the first tip, management should listen. In this case, we're talking about call-outs, sick time, and emergency leave. These unforeseen circumstances can hit at any time, and management needs to be ready to respond with compassion and understanding while still keeping an eye on staff scheduling fixes. When someone has to call in sick or leave a shift early, a business could end up dangerously understaffed. If using the right employee scheduling software, finding a replacement is as easy as a single tap on a screen. Alert employees to an open shift and give them an opportunity to volunteer for it. The right employee scheduling software eliminates awkward phone calls and frantic emails, and it gives employees a chance to pick up a few extra hours without having to beg for another shift. With the built-in labor law alerts provided by Zip Schedules, management can rest assured that even if an employee picks up an extra shift, the employee scheduling software will let you know if the extra hours would get the company in trouble.
Scheduling can be frustrating for employees when they have to come into the building or call to check for changes. Make scheduling changes easier and more convenient for staff members to manage by using an employee scheduling app that allows employees to check the schedule on their mobile devices. Not only does an employee scheduling app increase employee engagement, but it stops the excuse of "I didn't see the change." Allowing staff to view the schedule on their mobile devices and get alerts while not at work helps them feel connected and improves accountability, two important aspects for employee happiness.
More than likely, if you're looking for a better staff scheduling solution, your employees are hoping for one, too. Even so, you should never just spring a new piece of software on your staff. Let them know the change will be coming, and then keep them in the loop when you find one you'd like to try. If you really want to impress your staff members, ask their opinions on certain features and get a discussion going. Getting the right software to help with staff scheduling duties is a great way to show your employees you understand their needs and that you're listening, which will automatically improve their moods and help increase productivity. Once the new software is installed, learning to use it should be simple and only take a minute or two. Make the transition even smoother by choosing software that provides an easy-to-read dashboard and offers multi-language options, like our Zip Schedules employee scheduling software does.
Everyone should benefit from the addition of a new employee scheduling app. Staff members will be happier because their voices are being heard, you will be happier because you have less work to do, and your bottom line will be better because you're actively avoiding fines, overtime, and situations that could cost a fortune. Picking an app that allows you to take it for a trial run is your best bet, as this prevents any extra expenses and it gives you and your employees a chance to try before you buy. Avoid signing up for software that demands a contract—getting stuck with a product that everyone hates will just cause more problems and reduce your productivity.
There are many other ways to help employees stay happy and to increase their efficiency and engagement. Have you heard of the ways forecasting apps, like our Zip Forecast business forecasting software, can help manage labor costs? We've written a short article titled “7 Ways Forecasting and Workforce Planning Can Increase Your Profits” about forecasting software and how it can be partnered with employee scheduling software to increase profits. Check out the “7 Ways Forecasting and Workforce Planning Can Increase Your Profits” article also on the Hubworks Blog!