Shift planning can be a major headache with so many details to memorize. Our simple guide will teach you how to use online scheduling to fine-tune your scheduling duties and dial in on higher profits.
What’s So Hard About Making a Staff Schedule?
Planning employee shifts can be taxing on even the most seasoned manager. There is a multitude of factors to consider beyond staying within your labor cost forecasts. Vacation requests can muck up paper templates that are filled in too far in advance, call-outs and no-shows put the business in the understaffed danger zone and remembering which employees can work on which days can all add to the stress and mess. Logbooks were the traditional method of shift planning, but more and more businesses of all sizes are turning away from the past. Staffing sheets are cumbersome and can be damaged or lost, not to mention the cost of replacing your logbooks every month or printing new sheets each week. And what about that garbage or recycling bill? All of it adds up to too much waste: wasted time, wasted efforts, wasted money. Adding online scheduling to your business will cut all those extra costs, keep employees happy and productive, and help you get your profits back up to where you’d like to see them.
1. Watch Your Staff and Take Notes
If you’re switching from paper staffing schedules, you’ll need to take this first step a bit slowly. The data you collect here will help streamline your scheduling duties in the long run. Trust us; it’s totally worth it once you see how much you’ll save by switching to online scheduling! If you’re already using scheduling software, this tip is still useful for you to dial in the details and make your shifts more productive.
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Spend a week or so watching your employees on each shift. Take note of what works well, where efficiency seems to lag, and how each employee performs. If you notice one shift outpacing the others, pay attention to which team members are doing the best and consider moving one or two of them to one of the slower shifts to help even things out. It’s these small bits of information that will help you spread out the best staff over all the shifts, evening out the workload. It will also help the struggling employees learn by example if they have a great employee to mimic.
Take this time to go over past shift schedules to compare the productivity logs. You may spot an ongoing trend or be able to detect a problem area. If you already have scheduling software, you can pull those reports up in an instant. If you don’t have the apps yet, you can still look at your paper logs, but just wait until you see how efficient you can be when you finally have scheduling software that can make instant reports for you.
2. Listen to Your Employees
Nobody knows the front line like your floor staff, so ask them to give you feedback. Ask what they like, what they don’t like, and if they have any suggestions to make things smoother, more pleasant, or to simplify their duties. Don’t just gather employee input; take it to heart. When you listen to staff feedback, your employees feel like they truly matter and they’ll be more likely to work harder for you. Use a central communication system to gather this information. If you’re still using paper-based communication, cut time and costs by switching to a digital system. Look for something that includes instant, private, and secure communication between staff and management. If you get the right scheduling software, this functionality is built right in, including vacation requests.
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3. Stay Abreast of Labor Laws
Labor laws and employee work regulations are easy to overlook when you’re focused on everything else. Breaking labor laws, however, is a big mistake that cost much more than just money. Your reputation with staff and customers is on the line, too. Good scheduling software can send preemptive labor rule alerts to help avoid costly fines, and it can send notifications to avoid expensive overtime that you never approved. It can track breaks and lunches, time theft, and missed clock-ins, just to name a few features. Knowing what’s going on with the schedule and how your business is fitting within the labor laws is a great way to maintain a positive brand image and save money.
4. Answer Staff Requests Right Away
Paper vacation and schedule requests are messy and are prone to loss in the sea of paperwork you have to swim through each day. A lot of employee requests are time-sensitive, and if they’re not handled promptly, you risk a call-out or no-show and an angry employee who may decide not to come back at all. You can avoid this hassle by switching to online scheduling that includes a digital request system. Requests are handled with the tap of a finger, and the waiting game is no more. Your employees feel important, you get the requests taken care of before they pile up, and the scheduling software automatically finds the right employee to fill in.
5. Going Digital Gives Your Business an Edge
With paper logbooks and printed schedule sheet, changes are cumbersome and can be hard to update employees. Digital scheduling software changes everything. Easy communication, instant updates, and gives you an edge over your competition by spending less time on making schedules and more time on the important stuff. New promotions, better budgeting, the all-important staff appreciation efforts, and your top priority of guest satisfaction.
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How to Make the Switch to Online Scheduling
It might be tempting to just jump in with both feet, but don’t forget the first tip on our list. You want to watch and take notes for a little bit first. That way, when it’s time to actually introduce the software, you’ll already have all the essential data you need to make the switch seamless. Your employees will be impressed, and you won’t be stressing over hiccups you could have avoided. That said, look for scheduling apps that are simple, painless, and cost-effective. Avoid any long-term agreements, and be sure the app is connected to the cloud for maximum efficiency. Looking for more information on other productivity apps that can get your profits rising? We love this article on inventory and ordering software: https://hubworks.com/blog/3-easy-tips-for-smooth-purchasing-and-inventory-control.html