It’s hard to find great employees.
Once you do, the last thing you want is to lose these employees and have to hire new ones.
This is both costly, and takes time away from work.
Unfortunately, one of the reasons employees quit their jobs is due to scheduling issues. Inc. Magazine named scheduling as their 5th most common reason for quitting.
So how do you avoid scheduling challenges, and keep your top performers happy?
The answer is to develop a scheduling plan and stick to it.
Before discussing the solutions, let’s talk about some of the common employee scheduling issues at work today.
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1. Not enough employees
It’s hard to know what the day will bring.
For example, in construction planning and scheduling, you can get to a job site and soon receive a call from an employee who has an unexpected issue.
Now, you have fewer employees scheduled than needed to complete the job on time.
Or let’s say you are not sure how to schedule retail staff because you have an influx of customers unexpectedly due to a large event in town.
Regardless of industry, understaffing can cause a customer service nightmare.
Not only for team morale, but also for sales and customer experience.
On the flipside, scheduling an employee for too many hours will cause burnout and lead to quitting.
You want to maximize schedules so that everyone is getting the hours they want while limiting burnout and overtime.
3. Unfair scheduling
Although there are work schedule laws in certain industries to avoid burnout, not all industries require certain time off or scheduled breaks.
That means it’s on the business owner to stay up-to-date on scheduling abuse and unfair scheduling to avoid unwanted side effects.
The U.S. Department of Labor offers a host of industry-specific resources when it comes to complying with the Wage and Hour Division. Construction companies, for example, have different regulations regarding hours.
But finding the right guidelines to follow can be tricky. Not to mention the increasing popularity of state and city fair scheduling laws, which continue to change.
Being more consistent and fair with shifts can combat inconsistent work schedules, which can be harmful to both employees and employers.
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A Workforce article describes predictive scheduling in the following way:
“The laws generally require larger employers in retail, fast food, hospitality, and other service industries to give hourly workers some amount of advance notice of shifts and shift changes — typically seven to 14 days.
Depending on the jurisdiction, the laws may direct employers to offer additional hours to existing part-time employees before hiring new help or guarantee new employees the minimum hours they were promised when they were hired.
Some laws also direct employers to pay employees extra for last-minute schedule changes. In addition to paying back wages, laws may direct employers that fail to comply to also pay fines and in some cases damages.”
4. No formal schedule
This sounds like an obvious one, but if you have been in business for awhile, you may be relying on the same system since you began.
For example, you own a cleaning company and started the company out of your home.
You may have used a pad of paper and a pen to create a schedule that you are still using today. However, in 2019, there are several electronic programs that make scheduling issues easier.
5. Sick days and unexpected absences
Common scheduling challenges include when an employee needs to take time off.
Let’s say your employee gets sick or the school calls while they are at work and they need to leave to pick up their child early.
Life gets in the way of work and this leads to work shifts needing to be shuffled around. You have a business to run, but you also want to be a fair manager when personal issues arise.
6. Planned time off
No employee can work with no breaks. On top of that, everyone wants a vacation or a personal day.
But the issue is how to work these days into your schedule seamlessly. Let’s say for example you employ a lot of parents who all live in the same town and have the same spring break. How do you schedule when every employee requests the same week off?
7. Employee turnover
You try to avoid staff turnover as much as possible. Unfortunately, people leave companies and sometimes these are circumstances out of your control.
However, this creates huge scheduling issues when you are left with large blocks of time with no employee coverage.
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Employee scheduling tips to follow
Now that we’ve discussed some of the most common scheduling issues, let’s talk about how to manage staff scheduling for a seamless workflow.
Here are seven solutions to solve your work scheduling issues.
1. Hire enough employees
If one of your scheduling issues is you don’t have enough employees to do the job, then you need to hire more.
Sometimes it’s hard to know how many employees you will need if you are a start-up. If you are a small business, you don’t want the added expense.
The issue is you don’t want to drive potential customers away either by not being adequately staffed. It’s important to look at past traffic and sales patterns so you are not left scrambling to hire employees last minute.
2. Offer time between shifts
No one wants to be overworked.
Make sure your employees have plenty of planned breaks and time between shifts.
It’s also important to communicate this during the hiring process. Let your employees know you value company culture and that you are a team.
For example, if you are in retail and open seven days a week, give employees the same two days off per week. That way, employees have enough personal time and rest from work. Plus, a planned work week that they can follow and use to establish a routine.
3. Use a scheduling app
Common scheduling issues run across all industries so it’s vital to have a solid system in place.
This system should be digital and easily accessible so that it’s easy to schedule, track and evaluate employee time.
For example, Hubstaff is simple scheduling software that allows you to create a schedule, track how many hours each employee has worked, and set weekly time caps so no one is overworked. Plus. it’s available as a desktop, web or mobile app so whether you work on a construction site or in a salon, you have your schedule and time tracking available on the go.
4. Absence management best practices
By having a scheduling system in place, it’s easy to see who is not working the day of unexpected time off.
Call these employees to see who can cover these added shifts and offer incentives to do so. For example, give these employees a few extra vacation days or offer some overtime pay.
5. Be upfront about hours
Regardless of scheduling laws, the following guidelines should be followed to ensure a productive, motivated workplace. So, how do you schedule employees fairly? These tips will help employees and employers plan ahead.
- Provide an estimate of that person’s hours or schedule at the time of hiring
- Provide the work schedule at least 14 days in advance
- Provide enough notice when changing shifts at work
The list goes on, but this is a good starting point to your better scheduling practices.
6. Streamline vacation days
One of the scheduling challenges includes planning for vacation days.
When all your employees want time off around a certain holiday, it’s challenging to schedule correctly.
7. Plan for employee turnover
Employees quit jobs all the time for several reasons.
But you can lessen your turnover by implementing these employee retention tips. For example, communicate last-minute shift changes in advance, build trust between you and your employees, and be upfront about expectations.
What are your scheduling issues?
Every industry has its own set of employee scheduling issues.
However, by utilizing these solutions it will help minimize employee turnover, communication problems, and help plan for seamless scheduling from year to year.