10 Tips To Supercharge Your Employee Scheduling Process

10 tips to supercharge your employee scheduling process | bookafy


Creating an employee shift schedule is time-consuming and frustrating. Depending on the amount of staff you have, the odds are that at least one employee will be left unsatisfied, and you will be left doing a last-minute scramble to try to find some sort of compromise.

There are a variety of ways of approaching scheduling, from online calendars to automation, to completely flexible working which allows the employees to negotiate between themselves (although the latter seems like the most chaotic).

We’ve created this helpful list of tips and tricks that can help take the stress of employee scheduling off your shoulders and streamline your process.

10 Tips For Employee Scheduling You Need To Hear 

1. Automated Shift Scheduling Software

Work smarter not harder. It’s for good reason that we have spent the last few decades developing technology to take over mundane and time-consuming tasks. Automated shift scheduling software does just this. It can plan far ahead into the future and take away the likelihood of human error.

This is an important consideration. Scheduling shifts is not just about having x amount of people in every day. You need to have certain skills on-site at all times, particularly in some higher-risk industries. Automated shift scheduling software can ensure that you have all of your bases covered and don’t have to deal with any of those hectic shifts where everyone is trying to keep up with the excess workload.

2. Streamline Communications Between HR, Ops Managers, & Workers

Effective communication between teams is essential to any business, particularly when it comes to a matter that is so imperative to employee satisfaction.

Changes can be instigated by the worker or the company, and can sometimes be last-minute and inconvenient. Keeping strong communication between employees can help smooth the creases such changes cause, such as employees being unsatisfied with their workplace or showing up accidentally to the wrong shifts.

Communication can also be improved through various software tools, such as those which help coordinate task management for teams. By ensuring everyone is in the know of what needs doing and able to keep an eye on progress, it will feel less like decisions are being made behind the scenes.

3. Have A Backup Plan To Ensure Shifts Are Filled

Let’s face it, having a backup plan is essential in life. Things can always go unpredictably wrong, and having a clear idea of what you can do in those situations can take away the element of anxiety.

Process libraries can be a useful tool in these scenarios, enabling you to quickly find the solution to your problem. In the case of scheduling shifts, it could surround storing information about who can cover each worker appropriately.

4. Adjust Your Workforce Size Accordingly

Sometimes, you have to be honest with yourself. Are you struggling with the shift schedules because you don’t have the right number of employees?

Too many employees can lead to over-paying staff who are not really necessary. This is frustrating and boring for the employees, who feel like they’re not contributing or adding value, but also pointlessly costly for your company.

If you find that you are adding people needlessly into shifts because you are struggling to fulfill their hourly contract, this is a clear sign that you are over-staffed.

Alternatively, not having a large enough workforce can be equally problematic. Overworked employees become stressed and have significantly reduced workplace satisfaction, particularly if it doesn’t seem like management is prioritizing hiring extra help.

Re-evaluating your workforce can be a huge help in making shift scheduling a much simpler process.

5. Evaluate Your Shift Scheduling 

Regularly check in with your current shift schedule, and how effective it is. Being open to the need for change can be an important first step, and can only be achieved through an objective look at your current processes.

This applies, too, if you try something new. Don’t make significant changes and then forget to follow up and analyze the impact they have had.

6. Create Schedules Several Weeks/Months In Advance

How far in advance do you schedule your employees’ shifts, one week, ten days? If there is one thing that shift workers can all relate to, it’s the frustration of not knowing when you will be working more than a few days in advance. It makes booking holidays, organizing your personal life, or scheduling just about anything else almost impossible.

By scheduling a significant amount of time into the future, you open up the opportunity for employees to voice preferences and swap shifts, as well as being able to rely on workers being available and showing up, as changes are far less likely to be last minute.

It’s a good idea to also have this extensive schedule easily accessible to employees, regardless of where they are.

While you may have taken it upon yourself to individually tell employees their shift pattern or write it up on the wall at your workplace, as a company gets larger, the manager often needs to take a step back. Everyone needs to know how to go about implementing processes without you needing to be so hands-on.

An online shift schedule is a great way to make sure employees always know when they are supposed to be working.

7. Understand Employees’ Needs And Wants 

All of your employees will be different, and understanding this is a great step to creating the perfect shift scheduling plan.

Respecting that employees with young children likely won’t want to work late at night or around pick up or drop off time for school can help improve the employee-employer relationship.

It’s also becoming increasingly common for workers to have other responsibilities, such as caring for an elderly parent. Allowing flexibility for workers can be a deal-breaker for whether they continue to work for you.

This could involve allowing some shifts (or all) to take place from home if the job role enables it. Employees are increasingly expecting flexible working from their employers since the COVID-19 pandemic, as many industries were forced online.

8. Put Shift Trading Online

Shift trading is one of those complications that every employer has to deal with… or not. Disputes and arguments over shift patterns could be taken out of your hands by hosting it online. This could enable employees to swap shifts as they choose without having to host uncomfortable conversations.

This can also save you time, as we all know that negotiations can be very time-consuming, despite often having a very simple resolution.

9. Create An Absence Management Plan 

Absence management plans are an essential addition. Sometimes, no matter how much juggling you try to do, there will be a gap in your workforce for a day or two.

Having a plan in place to ensure this does not result in a loss of revenue is extremely important for your business, and can be avoided by implementing ISO procedures.

International standards are used for the very reason that they assure the quality of your business and its procedures.

For example, if you were a SaaS company and your customer service team was severely depleted, a plan would need to be in place to avoid causing your customers serious issues in their line of work.

This could be outsourcing or ensuring that several employees have additional skills that can make up for this lack.

10. Cross-train For Increased Flexibility

Cross-training is an excellent way to upskill your workforce and take the strain out of shift scheduling. If you know that your employees can easily cover each other’s roles, it is not an issue if a few members of a team are absent—you can prioritize the workload and reassign employees accordingly.

This is also important from the point of view of the employees. While they may not be interested in permanently assuming someone else’s role, it enables them to widen their skillset and try new things out. This can benefit their long-term career progression and demonstrates to the employee that they are valued beyond fulfilling one task. 


Shift scheduling isn’t anyone’s favourite administrative task and finding a way to simplify it can take a huge chunk out of your workload.

Flexibility is a key aspect to work schedules in 2021 and can make or break the loyalty of your employees. By thinking outside of the box, and implementing a few of these simple tips, you can reduce your stress and increase your shift-workers job satisfaction, as they will feel in the know, and their needs will be heard.

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