In workforce management, particularly staff scheduling, building an effective process largely depends on having the right information that reflects the needs of the business and the workforce. This is why an increasing number of enterprises are turning to demand-based staff scheduling, allowing them to combine the power of internal KPIs and forecasting with Big Data and then plug it all into modern employee scheduling solutions. By referencing important business metrics and KPIs—while factoring in employees’ availability and skills—businesses are able to make the right decisions when creating their rosters, in real-time.

Manual scheduling with spreadsheet software can’t leverage data on its own. Moreover, regardless of the level of experience and familiarity with staff needs and general business trends, scheduling administrators can still only rely on 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 any organization to leverage business data to make informed, calculated staffing decisions when putting together a schedule.

Five data points to incorporate when building demand-based schedules

Any data that in some way relates to how your business functions can be used to fuel demand-based scheduling, but here are the most relevant 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. Service-oriented businesses like retail, hospitality and even healthcare can monitor foot traffic on a daily basis or seasonal fluctuations to forecast their scheduling needs. Recognizing trends related to what times of the day or the week tend to be the busiest allows managers to eliminate over- and understaffing while keeping labor budget under control.

Staff availability

Demand-based scheduling allows managers to balance between the scheduling needs for the business and the scheduling needs of their team, so that the resulting roster is a happy compromise. With visibility into employees’ availability, leave of absence and time off requests, supervisors can create accurate schedules on the first go and avoid unexpected absences and looking for replacements at the last minute.

Staff members should also be able to offer feedback on their preferred working hours. That way, the company shows trust and makes it easier for employees to achieve work-life balance, which in turn leads to more engaged and productive staff.

Staff characteristics

To build staff schedules that are in line with customer demand, administrators need to be able to easily reference employee lists by position and business location, but also by their skill sets and seniority. Cloud-based employee scheduling solutions act as a source of record for these data and can even act as a reminder for renewing skill certificates. These platforms make it easy for managers to factor in all relevant information and assign shifts to the right staff members at the right time.

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Seasonal and historical trends

One of the most business-critical advantages of demand-based scheduling is that it allows managers to strategically build rosters based on past trends. With insights into seasonal and historical business data, supervisors can set realistic expectations for their staffing needs and keep their employees in the loop ahead of time. One of the greatest stressors for workers are last-minute changes and on-call scheduling, so employers are under pressure to finalize and distribute their schedules in advance. With demand-based scheduling, this kind of planning is more seamless and stress-free.

Rules and regulations

With the recent changes in federal and local labor laws, employers need to pay special attention to keeping their schedules accurate and conflict-free. Demand-based scheduling overcomes these challenges thanks to the insight into employee availability, risk of overtime, overlapping shifts, and other scheduling conflicts. Advanced employee scheduling software can even recommend available staff members who fit all shift requirements, so line managers never have to spend hours on the phone or on email trying to find out who can and can’t cover a shift.

How your organization can benefit from demand-based scheduling

Data-driven schedules help your business to not only have enough employees available, but also to have the right employees present—the ones who are tending to your customers’ needs and ensuring their loyalty.

To leverage demand-based scheduling, enterprises have to deploy robust employee scheduling platforms integrated with advanced HCM solutions, so record keeping is easy and seamless. Humanity enables managers to import the most relevant data to build schedules exactly how their organization needs, with schedule updates instantly communicated to staff members. Thanks to integrations with leading business applications—such as Workday, Ceridian, and BambooHR—Humanity customers can easily align their employee scheduling and workforce management processes.