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Coordinating shift schedules whilst enhancing employee retention

  • Posted on
  • Author: Nicki Bond

HR Automation is becoming a hot topic right now – enabling the automation of HR processes to reduce the degree of manual input, thus human error, and allowing employees to spend more time on the strategic and higher-value elements of their roles.

So, where does workforce scheduling fall into this? With the major focus on an organisations core HR system, it's easy to forget that this is an area that is ripe for automation. With the major impact scheduling can have on your business and the time taken to do this manually, regardless of the size of your organisation,  it makes sense to automate this process.

Additionally, system integration is a significant consideration. Many organisations tend to use multiple systems for HR, Payroll, Learning Management, CRM etc. Integrating these systems will provide a single source of truth and enable you to coordinate your shift schedules with the demands of the business.

Business benefits of adopting a workforce scheduling software solution

There are a significant number of solutions available on the market to enable you to do this, but what are the real benefits to the business?

From delegating tasks to improving the customer experience, employee scheduling solutions provide many advantages.

Shift schedules help managers and employees prepare for what's ahead (especially during seasonal upticks in business). Unfortunately, scheduling mistakes can be costly. If you're using outdated spreadsheets for scheduling instead of modern software, then you're likely feeling the pain already. The long hours spent preparing timesheets and ensuring everyone is notified of their shifts is very time and labour intensive.

More often than not, employee scheduling requires specific knowledge of the business, which makes it hard to delegate. However, one of the great advantages of scheduling automation tools is that they enable you to delegate certain scheduling tasks, such as setting overall resourcing goals, from whence shifts can be filled. This allows you to layer in strategic goals and thus drive the strategic direction of your business.  Depending on the tool you use, you can also delegate data collection. That way, you can focus on analysing areas for potential improvement.

 

Elevating staff satisfaction and retention rates

The rise in flexible working patterns (that emerged during the pandemic and looks likely to stay!) has made it even more complex to coordinate employee schedules. Having a flexible schedule is extremely important to employees and makes them more likely to stay at your company and bolster your staff retention rates. The best employee scheduling strategies consider employee preferences and needs, in addition to consumer demands.

In addition, of course, the logistics of enabling workers to be flexible can be challenging to manage. However, employee scheduling automation tools significantly reduce the administrative complexities and cost of managing flexible work schedules. Employees, therefore, achieve more, have higher morale, and are more satisfied. So, as an enabler of flexible work schedules, automation tools can significantly improve the employee experience and push up employee retention and satisfaction. Employees with more flexible scheduling arrangements report higher wellbeing, more engagement, and more effectiveness at work than those stuck in inflexible scheduling.

In essence, employee scheduling boils down to allocating the right resources at the right time for the right task. Of course, this is much easier said than done, which is why scheduling tools are so important. Scheduling software makes it's easier to see everyone's availability and roles. This way, you can optimise your employee scheduling by quickly assigning days and times for each worker without disrupting their work-life balance. Additionally, by having an efficient process for creating schedules, you can spend more time managing your teams.

The best employee scheduling strategies consider employee preferences as well as employer needs and consumer demands, but the enormous number of moving parts — operational needs, budget, regulations and compliance — can make it all very difficult to manage.

 

Synchronised scheduling

Nowadays, having a cloud-based system is no longer a 'nice-to-have' but a necessity. Being able to manage an increasingly remote workforce, HR managers and employees alike require access to synchronised scheduling tools that can be accessed anytime, from anywhere and from a multitude of devices. Additionally, by having self-scheduling software in place enables employees to select their own shifts, make any last-minute alterations, book time off, and check their schedules independently and remotely. This empowers employees, further increasing employee engagement and satisfaction, which is especially important during such unstable and uncertain times.

 

Enhancing communication

Employee scheduling flows more smoothly with excellent communication that increases trust relationships, creating a virtuous circle where efficient scheduling itself raises trust. Organisations should continue communicating around scheduling, asking how employee needs may have changed and accommodating them as much as possible.

In The 2020/21 State of Shift Work Report, produced by Deputy and based on responses from more than 1,400 shift workers around the world, 82% think that they could be a better employee if their organisation communicated and told them more about what's going on. Transparency, respect, and flexibility go a long way in the shift work business. Managers of shift workers are busy. They're creating schedules, trying to get their team paid correctly, and looking at labour costs. Sure, they want to make sure their team is happy, but where's the time? And what do shift workers even want?

The report provides further insight into the perspective of shift workers, with 82% wanting more communication from their employer, 66% ranking flexibility as their number one shift work perk, and 96% agreeing shift workers deserve more respect.

Encouraging employees to share their concerns creates more channels for communication between employees and managers and among employees themselves. In addition, it opens up the conversation around mental health and anxiety to reinforce trust and improve your understanding of factors that may influence scheduling.

 

Technological Advancements

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is stepping into many more HR use cases. Now managers can use AI tools to predict changes in consumer demand and plan ahead to meet altering workforce needs. Managers can use AI tools to predict changes in consumer demand and plan ahead to meet varying workforce needs. With AI and machine learning, HR teams can analyse employee strengths and weaknesses to understand which employees work best together. With these insights, you can construct the strongest possible on-schedule teams for every situation and place the right person on duty at the right time.

 

Beginning your journey

An excellent way to start is to try out the free trials of the best appointment scheduling software services on the market. This will help you learn more about their features first hand and gauge if they suit your needs.

For advice on solution selection, system implementation or HR Automation, please feel free to reach out to Tugela People, your partner for people-centric, cloud-based solutions and services on tel +44(0)1908 030360 or email: info@tugelapeople.com. Alternatively, complete the ‘Get in touch’ form and a member of our team will be in contact.

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