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Labour costs are some of the highest overheads in any business. After all, you need people to help you achieve your business goals and vision. Employee scheduling is a large part of how you manage both productivity and labour costs in your organization.

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If you want more control over these aspects of your business, it’s probably time to take a look at how you’re scheduling employee shifts. Chances are there are a few things you could do to ease the process and improve scheduling at the same time.


Know Your Business to Improve Employee Scheduling

The key to good scheduling is knowing your business. When are you busy, and when are you going to have downtime?

For most office workers, you’re going to be busy in the daytime, between nine in the morning and five in the afternoon. If you have other operations, however, such as a warehouse or a retail store, you may have multiple shifts and different busy times.

Demand can also be seasonal, so you may need to hire more people in the fall than you need in the summer.

Knowing these trends can help you predict more accurately when you’ll need to schedule more or fewer shifts in a day, week, or month.


Use On-Call Scheduling as Needed

Many businesses need on-call staffers. You may need to call someone in for the customer service department, or you may need an IT specialist to come in if the system is. The lab at a hospital or at a doctor’s office can equally benefit from on-call shifts.

If you make regular use of on-call staff, then you should hire some people specifically to be on call. This can help you eliminate scheduling abuses such as asking or expecting employees to stay late or eliminating shifts if business is slower than anticipated.

This can also help you control overtime costs, as some of the employees you might call in for overtime may need to be paid more than scheduled on-call staff members.


Use Software to Power Scheduling

Perhaps the best step to take when you want to improve employee scheduling is to adopt the right software. This can help you not only make up the schedule in record time, but it can also help you always ensure optimal staffing levels.

Software can also help you communicate updates to your employees. Finally, it collects data about your scheduling activities. It can help you determine which shifts you need, when you need them, and more.


Work with Your Employees

One of the most common reasons employees are late or miss shifts is that their employers don’t work with them when it comes to scheduling. The scheduling manager makes up the schedule, posts it, and then expects employees to make their designated shifts.

Employees who have other commitments might have special requests. For example, a parent may ask if they can work from 7 am to 3 pm, so they can pick up their kids from school after work. If you insist they need to be at work from 9 to 5, they may end up leaving work early or even giving their notice.

College students, parents, and even older employees have different needs when it comes to their schedules. You don’t need to fulfill every day-off request, but asking employees when they can and can’t work will go a long way to making sure people actually arrive for the shifts they’re scheduled to work.


Power Schedules with Data

Once you’ve adopted new scheduling software for your business, be sure to take a step back and analyze the data the program collects. It can show you where you’re succeeding and where you still need to improve.

By making your employee scheduling data-driven and people-centred, you can make scheduling easier and better for everyone.


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Kaneez Jaffer

Kaneez Jaffer

Kaneez is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) with an advanced knowledge of human resources and organizational structure and design. She has extensive experience with HRIS systems and understands the need to move HR from a transactional model to a transformational one. She has worked in the investment banking, insurance, and legal industries, as well as with large not-for-profit centres helping to simplify and streamline their internal systems. Kaneez is an expert in building relationships and affecting change in a positive and productive way. She acts as the key HR business partner at Apri Insurance Services Inc, managing the implementation of JungoHR, while providing expert advice and counsel on a range of HR matters. Kaneez holds a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management as well as a Certificate in HR Law for HR Professionals from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada.