Understanding Employee Schedules

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The Importance of Employee Scheduling

Employee scheduling plans every shift in advance to make sure your corporation is staffed optimally. Although employee scheduling appears simple enough in concept, it is actually a very complex process, especially for larger corporations.

Large businesses must create and manage a large volume of employee work schedules simultaneously. Your business not only needs to keep labor costs low but also avoid labor violations, all while keeping your staff members as satisfied and productive as possible.

Employees are your business's biggest investment and greatest asset. Scheduling employees appropriately will optimize both employee productivity and your business's bottom line.

In fact, stable employee scheduling can boost productivity by 5% while increasing median sales by 7%. With an increasingly expanding global market, stable employee scheduling benefits can provide your corporation with a competitive edge.

Businesses must manage last-minute schedule changes that occur due to employee illness or emergencies in addition to providing employees with specific schedules based on their availability. Changes in customer traffic or even the weather may further complicate the employee scheduling process.

Unlike a small business owner who may only be working with a handful of employee schedules, large businesses necessitate designated personnel on staff making sure your employee scheduling process is both effective and efficient.

Traditionally, the scheduling process for large businesses are handled by managers, and sometimes human resources departments will assist.

Your human resources department has a vested interest in employee scheduling as improper employee schedules result in disastrous consequences for your business.

Potential employee and customer dissatisfaction resulting from improper employee scheduling can be costly and time consuming for your human resources department to address and mitigate.

Instead of your human resources team having to manage the consequences of employee scheduling errors, their efforts would be better used optimizing your employee scheduling process alongside managers.

Thankfully, in addition to your human resources team assisting with the scheduling process, there are many scheduling software solutions available for large businesses to invest in.

Not only will scheduling software optimize the time employees spend working at your business, but it can also avoid unnecessary labor costs and labor violations.

Different Types of Work Schedules

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There are many different types of employee schedules ranging from full time to shift schedule employees. Large businesses will often use a combination of different employee schedule types depending on business needs and employee availability or preference.

Types of employee schedules include-

  1. Full time- A full time employee works between 37-40 hours each weekly schedule time period. Full time employees often have fixed work hours and work days.

    Full time employees may be paid on a salaried or hourly basis. If a full time employee is paid on an hourly basis it is especially important to analyze time attendance and work hours to make sure overtime costs or labor violations are avoided.
Due to the fact that these employees work so many hours each week, they are often entitled to employee benefits from your business. Your managers and human resources department must understand what benefits full time employees are qualified for and factor these benefits into your business's labor costs budget.

  1. Part time- A part time employee works under 36 hours each weekly schedule time period. Unlike full time employees, part time workers do not usually have fixed work hours or work days.

    Offering part time work opportunities can be beneficial for both a business and its employees. Some employees have other obligations ranging from childcare to alternative employment that only allow them to work a certain number of hours per week.

    Businesses can also decrease labor costs by not needing to provide the same benefits to part time employees as they do to full time workers.

  2. Shift- A shift employee generally has non traditional work hours scheduled over the morning, afternoon, evening, and overnight shifts. An overnight or late evening shift schedule may be preferable to workers who have other obligations such as education or additional employment.

    A shift schedule may have fixed work hours or days or may rotate depending on business and employee needs.

  3. Compressed- A compressed employee work schedule consists of an employee working the same number of work hours but over fewer days. Although the time employees spend is the same work hour wise, the number of days they are working is lowered which may be attractive to many workers who prefer more days off.

    For this employee scheduling type, make sure your human resources department and managers are aware of any additional labor costs or potential labor violations.

How to Create an Employee Schedule

Creating employee schedules requires evaluation of business and employee needs. If employees are not scheduled suitably or labor costs are too high, your overall business bottom line will be negatively affected.

Best practice tips for employee scheduling include-

  1. Base on business needs- Before developing an employee scheduling process you must first clearly understand your business needs. Employee schedules must be crafted in a way to help make your business as productive as possible, requiring careful consideration and planning.

    Make sure to research labor violations and worker's rights in accordance with local and federal laws. When crafting your business budget, labor costs must reflect any benefits that workers are legally entitled to.

    Your human resources department must create clear job descriptions in order to hire the most eligible employee for each role. New hire employees must understand their responsibilities to adequately perform them.

    Your business's hours of operation are a large consideration when creating employee work schedules. Once you've established business basics, deciding which type of shift schedule is most appropriate is much easier.

  2. Establish policies- Make sure every employee is informed about scheduling policies, including lateness consequences and time off request procedures. Although your business should schedule employees with as much consideration to their personal lives as possible, employees should be expected to extend that same respect back to your business.

  3. Plan- Create a master scheduling template that details any necessary skills or expertise level employees must possess to work a specific shift. Doing so ahead of time makes it much easier to schedule employees appropriately.

    The earlier you can provide employees with their work schedule the better. When employees are given more time, they will be less likely to need to switch shifts last minute or miss shifts entirely.

    Presenting employees with their weekly schedule last minute does not give them sufficient time to make arrangements for various obligations they may have such as childcare or transportation. Proper time management of employee scheduling will directly benefit both your business and employees.

    No matter how well a schedule is planned or how experienced your schedule maker is, there will necessarily be exceptions and unexpected changes. When you do need to make a last minute schedule change there are ways to notify your employees in real time including via mobile app through a cloud basedscheduling software program.

    4. Invest in software solutions- Scheduling software saves your business labor costs including the many hours a week that managers would otherwise spend on manual scheduling. Various features that may be available with employee scheduling software include-
  • Employee time attendance tracking
  • Automatic schedule maker
  • Employee schedule template
  • Labor costs analysis
  • Real time notifications
  • Time clock compatibility
  • Mobile app accessibility
  • Cloud based communication channel

Consequences of Scheduling Time Ineffeciently

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Improper employee scheduling has a wide range of serious consequences for your business ranging from decreased employee retention to increased labor costs. Consequences of improper employee scheduling include-

  1. Employee turnover- Scheduling employee shifts last minute or unrealistically decreases employee morale and satisfaction rates. Top talent employees are much more likely to leave your business if they are not satisfied with your scheduling process.

    Make sure to consider employee input and preferences regarding their work schedule whenever possible.

  2. Labor costs- Whether through costly overtime work hours or labor violation fees, labor costs accumulate quickly when scheduling is not appropriate. Labor costs that are harder to estimate include payment for hours not worked.

  3. Brand reputation- Negative employee reviews about your business can spread fast and are easily accessible to anyone through a quick internet search.

    Top talent employees are much less likely to accept an employment offer or even apply for a position if they are doubtful towards your scheduling process.

    4. Productivity- There are major consequences for productivity if employees are not scheduled with consideration of their compatibility and skills. It is nearly impossible to estimate the costs of lost productivity on both short term and long term business profits.

How to Solve Employee Scheduling Issues

While some small business owners may be able to use Word Excel spreadsheets to schedule their limited number of employees, large businesses need more comprehensive scheduling solutions. Even minor scheduling issues can develop into huge issues if they are not promptly and adequately resolved.

Find a balance between understaffing and overstaffing, both of which are disastrous for your business. Understaffing can lead to employee dissatisfaction and issues with retaining staff members long term.

Additionally, when there are not enough staff members available employees are unable to provide customers with the excellent experience your business seeks to provide them.

Alternatively, overstaffing can decrease employee morale and productivity while your business incurs excessive labor costs for unnecessary overtime. When employees are scheduled too often they may experience burnout or even quit.

Scheduling software is a great solution for many staffing issues. When your business uses a software program to create employee schedules there is a decrease in both labor costs and human error.

Great scheduling software will even consider the possibility of employees calling in sick or needing time off for personal emergencies.

Software features including a mobile scheduling app with real-time updates will increase time management capabilities for both your employees and business overall.

The Benefits of Employee Scheduling Software

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Previously, businesses were forced to use pen and paper to make their employee's schedules. Technological updates including Word Excel greatly simplified the scheduling process until dedicated scheduling software programs were created.

Although some small business owners still choose simpler scheduling solutions, large corporations are best served by investing in comprehensive scheduling software programs. Some benefits of employee scheduling software include-

  1. Communication- Scheduling software provides a centralized communication channel for employees to discuss their work schedules. If there is a free employee shift available, it is much easier for a staff member to volunteer to take the shift. If an employee seeks to make changes last minute to the schedule, requests will be reflected in real-time updates.

  2. Templates- The job of a schedule maker is majorly simplified with employee schedule template accessibility. Schedule templates can even incorporate various competencies of workers so that each shift is staffed properly.

  3. Labor costs- Labor costs are optimized with scheduling software. When employees are scheduled as effectively as possible, unnecessary labor costs are limited or eliminated.

  4. Updates- Real time updates keep all of your staff members informed with minimal effort. Instead of a schedule maker having to individually contact employees, updates are reflected on their scheduling app instantly.

    With a cloud based mobile app employees are able to access their work schedule from any location and at any time, so long as they have internet accessibility. An investment in scheduling software optimizes time management capabilities for both your employees and your entire business overall.

Employee Scheduling Key Points

  • Proper employee shift scheduling has many benefits, ranging from decreased labor costs to increased employee retention.
  • Stable employee scheduling increases median sales 7% while boosting productivity by 5%.
  • When your business schedules employees there are many employee schedule types to consider including full time and part time workers.
  • Create employee schedules based on business needs and make sure to provide employees with your business's scheduling policies when they are hired.
  • Improper scheduling consequences include decreased productivity and an increasingly negative brand reputation.
  • Scheduling software solutions benefit both employees and businesses by avoiding understaffing or overstaffing.