Demand-Based Scheduling, the Future of Employee Scheduling

Is Demand-Based Scheduling the Future of Employee Scheduling?

The more employees you have and the more complex your schedule needs become, the more information you need to improve and streamline your scheduling process.

No matter what type of work you are doing, it’s safe to assume that the more information and support you have regarding the tasks at hand, the easier the job becomes. Naturally, the same can be said for creating employee work schedules.

One of the reasons so many businesses love using Humanity is the fact that our application provides them with the information they need to make sure that they are scheduling the right employees to the right shifts. Employee scheduling software makes it easy for managers and schedulers to see who is available, what positions they are assigned to, what skills they have and much more.

All of this information gives schedulers the input they need to create optimal work schedules for their staff. Naturally, the more employees you have and the more complex your schedule needs become, the more information you need to improve and streamline your scheduling process.

That’s what demand-based scheduling is all about. Demand-based scheduling combines the power of big data with modern employee scheduling solutions to offer businesses with complex staffing needs the ability to reference other important business metrics and KPIs that can help them make the right decisions when creating their staff schedules.

Before all of this technology was available to us, the best schedulers needed to be experienced employees who were familiar enough with staff needs and general business trends in order to make educated guesses as far as who should be working when. Thanks to the introduction of sophisticated data analytics into the scheduling process, it’s now easy for anyone to take a look at the data and make informed, calculated staffing decisions when putting together a schedule.

That’s what demand-based scheduling provides – the ability to integrate important business data into your scheduling process in order to easily and efficiently create the best possible staff schedules.

How Does Demand-Based Scheduling Work?

Demand-based scheduling has been made possible thanks to modern technology’s ability to provide business owners with instant access to data that’s related to just about every aspect of their businesses. The people responsible for creating work schedules can then use that data to help make the scheduling process a more informed and accurate one.

When a scheduler knows what the company’s business needs are and what potential problems he or she needs to be aware of when creating the schedule, it’s much easier for the scheduler to create a work schedule that won’t be subject to constant alterations. Simply put, if the scheduler has all this data at his or her disposal, he or she can predict the company’s scheduling needs better and create the schedule according to those informed predictions that are based on concrete data.

So, what is this data that employers or managers can potentially use to streamline the scheduling process? Obviously, any data that in some way relates to how your business functions can be used to fuel demand-based scheduling, but here are some obvious data points that can be implemented in most business situations:

Customer Behavior

The type of customer behavior that business owners might be looking to integrate into the scheduling process depends on the industry and the data that is important to a particular business.

Retail businesses, for example, can use stats like foot traffic and sales to forecast their scheduling needs. Being able to see and recognize trends related to what times of the day or week tend to be the busiest allows managers to schedule staff accordingly, so that they are never over or understaffed.

One of the ways this can be achieved is by integrating POS software with a powerful scheduling application.

Scheduling according to customer behavior and trends helps businesses save money, obviously, but it also can improve their customer service.

Using retailers as an example again, a retail business can save money by not having an unnecessarily large number of staff members working on days or periods of the day during which there are not many customers historically present. And at the same time, they can forecast needs to always have enough staff members present to make sure that all of their customers are receiving the attention they deserve during particularly busy times of the week or day.

Staff Availability

Demand-based scheduling helps business owners to not only take into consideration the scheduling needs of their businesses but the scheduling needs of their employees as well. It allows them to create schedules that everyone will be happy with in the end.

Again, the most important factor for creating a successful employee schedule is making sure that the scheduler has access to all of the information he or she needs  at a glance. They need to be able to easily see when team members have, for example, vacation time scheduled so that they know who is going to be present and available to work a shift.

It’s also a good idea to give employees the ability to offer feedback on when they prefer to work and when they’d rather not. Allowing staff to set their availability enables schedulers to then use that information to schedule them appropriately. The biggest benefit of this is staff engagement and happiness. By creating schedules based on staff availability, managers are making it easier for employees to achieve work-life balance, which in turn leads to happier and more productive staff.

Staff Characteristics

Being well organized is key when it comes to demand-based scheduling. Not only should schedulers be able to easily reference employee lists by position and location at all times, but the more data they have about their workers, the better the schedule will inevitably be and the easier it will be to create it.

For example, when running a restaurant, there are usually employees who have the experience and skills to work multiple positions. There might be employees who can work as a host, server and bartender if the need arises at any of those positions.

Being able to have this type of information at your fingertips at all times helps managers to schedule more effectively and plug in the right employees based on what they know how to do.

Demand-based scheduling techniques can also be used to schedule employees according to skills and certifications. For example, people who schedule healthcare staff can enter certifications for their workers so that they know what qualifications each staff member possesses. This then makes it much easier to schedule people who are able to meet the patient care demands that need to be addressed.

The more information you have about your employees – their skills, experience and knowledge – the easier it will be for you to create schedules that will enable you to serve the needs of your company and your customers better.

Seasonal and Historical Trends

One of the best things about demand-based scheduling is the fact that it gives schedulers the ability to forecast schedules into the future based on past trends. By having insights into seasonal and historical business trends and knowing what to expect and how to plan their staffing based on that data, the scheduling process becomes more fluent and accurate.

By being able to see the ups and downs, ebbs and flows of one’s business, managers are able to make educated guesses when creating schedules that have a very good chance of being accurate, because they are all based on real, historical data.

Another great thing about demand-based scheduling is that it enables managers to put schedules in the hands of their staff ahead of time. One of the greatest causes of stress for employees is the fact that many won’t know when they are scheduled to work until the absolute last minute. That’s another common worry of both business owners and employees that using demand-based scheduling turns into a worry of the past.

Rules and Regulations

Demand-based scheduling is the perfect solution for streamlining your scheduling process and making sure that you are not losing money on staffing costs. Smart-scheduling software offers employers and managers real-time updates and is able to spot schedule deficiencies and problems within the scheduling process so that they never publish a schedule before they are certain that it’s as close to perfect as possible.

Advanced employee scheduling software can spot conflicts that a scheduler may have created by mistake. Not only that, managers can then quickly get recommendations on how to get rid of the conflict by easily seeing who is available to take the shift. Advanced employee scheduling software recommends employees to you who fit all of the requirements and can take the shift, so they never have to spend hours on the phone or on email trying to find out who can and can’t cover a shift.

Demand-based scheduling can also operate according to scheduling rules that users can set and personalize based on business needs. For example, if a manager doesn’t want anyone to work more than 40-hours a week, two days in a row, or 10 hours at a time, they can set all of those rules and the scheduling software will immediately notify them when these rules have been broken so that the problem can be sorted out easily before schedule is created and, obviously, before the timesheets go to payroll.

How Can Demand-Based Scheduling Help Your Business?

If taken full advantage of, demand-based scheduling can have a great business impact and the return on investment can be substantial.

Naturally, the biggest impact can be seen in the amount of money your business is spending on its staffing needs. The cleaner your work schedules are, the more money you will save. You can do away with the need for last-minute staffing and supplementary staffing by optimizing your workforce and creating schedules that enable you to cover all of your staffing needs with the staff members that are already available to you at every given moment.

If your business is leaking money on overtime costs, think of all of the money you can save by implementing features that will enable you to optimize your schedules so that you will never need to schedule overtime hours for your staff again.

It’s also important to remember all of the positive effects that optimized staff scheduling can have on the way in which you and your team interact with clients and customers. This experience can also be greatly enhanced with the implementation of demand-based scheduling.

Using automated scheduling tools that help you optimize work schedules ensures that you are always able to meet the needs of your customers. Demand-based scheduling helps you to not only have enough employees available to tend to your customers, it also enables you to have the right employees present – the ones who are going handling your customers’ needs properly and turn them into lifelong customers who keep coming back.


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