Employee Scheduling: 7 Best Practices For Small Businesses

Employee scheduling can be the bane of your existence. Or it can be a strategic business management tool. If scheduling is causing problems, it may be time to implement some new techniques.

How do you become a better scheduler? To start, try out these 7 best practices for hourly employee scheduling to improve your skills.

1. Post Schedules Earlier

We recommend posting schedules at least two weeks in advance. This helps everyone. Your employees can arrange their childcare, transportation, and personal activities. And you will have less absenteeism and tardiness.

Providing sufficient notice shows your team that you care about their lives outside of work. True, you might need to do some adjusting after posting your initial schedule. However, it’s better to make a few tweaks in advance than to have people not show up day-of. If you have some employees with a set schedule, this will be easier.

Further, with predictive scheduling and fair workweek regulations are popping up everywhere, compliant employee scheduling policies can save you a lot of trouble. Besides, it makes good business sense to create a supportive work environment. It builds loyalty and goodwill.

2. Cross-Train for Scheduling Flexibility

Cross-training is an important labor management tool. It increases productivity and allows you to operate with a smaller, more nimble staff. It also affects employee scheduling. Make it part of your job descriptions. Build cross-training into your onboarding. That way, new hires will understand from the get-go that they will be learning more than one job role.

It’s common in restaurants for servers to bus tables and seat guests. In retail, train employees for each department. For businesses with a more diverse staff, there are multiple opportunities for job role overlap. No matter how you look at it, there are benefits for businesses who cross-train:

  • Entry-level workers will be eager to expand their skills so they can cover more shifts.
  • Your team will be better able to adapt to fluctuating customer levels.
  • You can do more with a smaller workforce.
  • If some job roles are less-pleasant, switching things up can improve morale.

3. Empower Your Team With Self-Service Shift Trading

These days, many employers have loosened shift trade policies. It’s a valuable employee perk, and if you hire capable workers, shift trading can help relieve the administrative burden on managers. For example, if an employee has an unexpected obligation, you can make them responsible for finding a replacement.

You’ll also benefit from increased morale as employees greatly value schedule flexibility. Workers are more punctual and less likely to miss a shift if they have some control over when they work.

4. Confirm Availability When Hiring

When interviewing candidates, find out which shifts they can work and how many weekly hours they want. This may seem like a no-brainer. However, many employers overlook this. When evaluating competing candidates with similar qualifications, schedule preferences can tip the scale.

5. Clarify Rules for Schedulers

If you are not the only one who makes schedules, clarify rules for managers who perform this task. Don’t assume the others have the same institutional knowledge. Instead, document schedule rules and other processes you’ve refined over time. There are universal best practices and business-specific best practices. Use both.

6. Reward Punctuality and Attendance

If you employ teenagers, you might have a problem with tardiness and missed shifts. Scratch that. If you employ teenagers, I guarantee you will have a problem with tardiness and missed shifts. It’s more cost-effective to correct problems than fire and hire.

Creating an award system can help. It doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, you can reward punctuality with first dibs on shifts or inexpensive company swag.

7. Track Scheduling Data

Busy owners don’t always notice incremental changes in scheduling needs. But gradual change eventually makes an impact. As a result, it’s important to regularly review historical data to detect trends.

Maybe you need to lengthen some shifts and shorten others. If you operate with a small staff, overlapping shifts for an hour or two can ensure high levels of service without adding another employee or shift.

Analytics also give you insight into your business hours, seasonal changes, and when to hire. Pay attention to the data and you may be surprised to find new ways to benefit your business.

Use SDP Time for Employee Scheduling Best Practices

Good employee scheduling increases productivity. It creates a pleasant work environment. It’s necessary for quality customer service. And it improves employee retention.

But employee scheduling doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming. SDP Time makes it quick and easy. If you’re looking to streamline your operations with data insights and workforce management technology, then let’s talk! We can review your account to help you get a better idea of how much you could save.

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