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5 elements of employee scheduling every HR manager should know

September 10, 2018


5 elements of employee scheduling every HR manager should know

4 min read

This is a guest post written by Jasika Adams, Talent Acquisition Manager at Index Time Clock.

Human resource managers can spend a large part of their work hours creating employee schedules and coming up with the right rosters for changing workload requirements. Improved staff schedules can provide many advantages since overstaffing can needlessly waste money and understaffing results in lost sales and poor customer service. Additionally, the more time HR managers spend on employee scheduling, the less time they spend working directly with employees.

What is employee scheduling?

Employee scheduling is the process of estimating when staff members will work and when your business may need part-time, full-time, and freelance work. Sounds simple? It isn’t always.

People are complicated, and so are their schedules. There may be staff members who cannot work on certain days, who need time off for health or family reasons, or who request to work at specific times. Unexpected time off such as sick leave or bereavement can quickly make employee scheduling a nightmare. It is best for you to have a policy in place so that employees are required to give a certain amount of advance notice for time off, especially for vacations and surgery.

Managers must also deal with peak hours and high seasons to allocate employees proportionally by the hour of the day and/or rotate employees to ensure an even spread of shifts for each employee. Union rules may place restrictions on work hours, overtime compensation, and the types of work schedules that can be implemented.

Struggling with employee scheduling? Here are the five things every HR manager should know about it.

Advance planning will save the day

It sounds simple but managers often fail to plan in advance, which can cause problems with employee schedules. Timing is of supreme importance. Reduce absenteeism by providing employees with work schedules beforehand. More time to prepare and swap shifts provide employees with the flexibility they need to move things around to match their shift schedules.

You can use scheduling tools to create employee schedules where you may track all training, vacation, sick leave, and other off-work requests. You can use it to assign breaks, duties, and tasks within each shift. Using scheduling tools or software can help you plan employee schedules in advance.

Keep track of your scheduling data

You can only make informed scheduling decisions on the basis of updated data. To ease your overall management of employee schedules, track and record employee activities, assignments, costs, and time-off. Managing this information will enable you to easily find qualified and eligible employees to fill open shifts based on availability, position, skill, labor cost, work hour limits, seniority, and other criteria.

Tracking information will also help you avoid any scheduling conflicts. Detect and alert all sorts of schedule conflicts like overlapping shifts, lacking required skills, not enough rest between shifts, or too many overtime hours. Any conflict can be clearly flagged and acted upon before it lands the organization in trouble.

Keep an eye on overtime

Overtime can be a sensitive issue for employees and needs to be handled with care. Timesheet data must be analyzed accurately in order to avoid confusion. Make sure you can adjust the shift’s scheduled start and end times to reflect the actual time worked and instantly see the revised hours and costs. Add notes and reasons to record or explain deviations and provide time card data for payroll.

The same principles should be applied to shift premiums and incentive pay. Use flexible pay rules to compute overtime and extra pay to employees working on public holidays, certain days or hours of the day, irregular shifts, and other conditions justifying additional pay. Ensure that there are no conflicts in this regard.

A fair shift distribution to ensure harmony

Human beings have a difficult time being unbiased, yet fairness in the workplace is highly valued when it comes to employee satisfaction. Bias can work its way into employee scheduling, assigning more or fewer shifts to certain employees. Use a scheduling tool or software to help with employee shift rotation and assign shifts according to availability, position, and skill.

Publish schedules to avoid any confusion

So you have managed to create the perfect schedule. Great schedules won’t be helpful unless everyone can access it, especially on their phones. To avoid any confusion, make sure everyone has a copy of their respective schedule. Publish shift schedules and calendars in advance and ensure your employees can access it in a range of formats. Automatically email work schedules (in text or iCalendar file format) to employees and/or their supervisors.

Scheduling can play a big role in your success as an HR manager. Your ability to utilize the staff available in the best possible manner can enable large cost savings for your company. So choose wisely, make a good plan and also be ready for changes, as and when required.

Jasika Adams is a writer with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of human resources, startups and business management. She is a Talent Acquisition Manager currently working with Index Time Clock. 

Twitter: @jasikaadams

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