An employee scheduling mishap can bring your work to a grinding halt without warning. An employee you are counting on could be having an emergency and fail to show up at work. This means you have to find another employee to cover the shift.
Sometimes your perfect plan can be the problem. You plan for a few employees, but there is an influx of customers due to nearby social events. The few workers will be overwhelmed and may not perform optimally. Another scenario is overstaffing, and some employees have to be sent home, which causes disputes and low job satisfaction.
Research shows that employee scheduling is among the top reasons for high employee turnover and absenteeism. What issues arise from shift scheduling, and how can you solve them to improve productivity and job satisfaction?
Common Employee Scheduling Problems
Many managers accidentally schedule employees for multiple shifts with minimal downtime. While some people may appreciate the extra hours to make more money, the burnout reduces productivity. Besides, some workers quit if they do not get adequate time to recharge and rest. Most state regulations require employers to provide eight hours of downtime before the next shift. However, workers who are not covered by the regulations can take up multiple shifts. Managers should utilise the schedule to maximise the work hours of every employee while reducing overtime and burnout.
Understaffing can cause a nightmare in any work environment. If the shift schedule has few employees and the customers increase, your staff will be overworked. It is a common occurrence since you may be expecting an average day, and suddenly the workload explodes. That means you will not have enough help to ensure customer satisfaction. Emergencies and frequent absenteeism can also leave you in a tight spot without adequate staff to complete the workload.
If you have back-up employees, you will not mind the influx of clients. However, the underlying problem could be a lack of enough employees, and you need to start hiring. Alternatively, your forecasting could be misleading you, causing understaffing or overstaffing.
In the past, managers would get a pen and paper to organise their employees’ shifts. The printout would end up providing poor guidance since it is rigid and inflexible. Besides, you will have to prepare a new one daily to factor in changes like absenteeism, shift swapping, and rotations. Disorganisation also occurs if you rely on the same system for long. If your business is growing, your scheduling needs increase, which means you need a better shift planner.
Planned Time off, Sick Days and Absenteeism
Companies experience scheduling problems when employees want some time away from work. It could be a sick day, or they have to leave work suddenly due to an emergency. Your workers’ personal lives will always collide with work. Therefore, you may need to shuffle work shifts to cater to absenteeism. Despite the inconvenience that sick days cause, it is vital to be mindful of personal issues.
The planned time off can also cause scheduling issues. If you do not adjust your shift schedule appropriately, you will have difficulty keeping track of employees. It would be best to organise each employee to get personal days a couple of times a month. However, you should track the number of staff at work to minimise chances of understaffing.
Employee turnover creates huge gaps in scheduling that can drain an employer’s time and resources. Unfortunately, workers resign, and sometimes the circumstance is beyond your control. The sudden absence turns your schedule upside down, and you have to knock a few doors to find shift replacements.
Proven Solutions to Employee Scheduling Problems
Provide Adequate Time Between Shifts
Burnouts from overscheduling can lead to complaints from employees. Ensure you provide adequate time for rest between shifts. Alternatively, you can develop a flexible routine that allows your workers to get adequate personal time. That shift security can improve satisfaction and motivate your staff to be more productive. The scheduling should also be fair. For instance, in a retail business, your employees should have the same amount of personal time.
Recruit Adequate Personnel
As the business scales, you should also increase your employees to cater to the growing clientele. Alternatively, you can have back-up employees that will cover shifts when you are overwhelmed. How do you know you have adequate personnel? Track your past sales record and use the data to predict future trends. For instance, if there is an event in town, you should prepare for more customers.
Use Employee Scheduling Software
Most of the issues caused by a disorganised scheduling system can be resolved with scheduling software. A rostering system is customisable for any industry, and it gives the manager flexibility to organise a seamless schedule. Employees can also receive notifications directly on shift changes or notify the managers of their availability and find shift replacements.
Deal With Employee Turnover
Employees quitting does not present a good image. While you may not have control over quitting, you should minimise the frequency. Address issues affecting employees like poor communication on shift changes. You should also set clear objectives and set your expectation before an employee starts working.
Streamline Vacation and Time Off
Sometimes employees request for vacation around the same holiday and make scheduling challenging. If you have an automatic rostering system, you can approve and deny the days off and ensure you have adequate employees. Employee availability is a major concern since workers need a work-life balance. You should balance the vacation days and make sure everyone gets the same number of personal days. Modifying shifts during the holidays will also ensure everyone is happy.
Scheduling issues should not reduce productivity or cause dissatisfaction. If your company has a hard time scheduling employees, the solutions above can help you navigate and solve the problems.