Employee scheduling goes way beyond assigning shifts. Scheduling administrators are required to juggle business demands, budget, and staff availability, all the while struggling to get ahold of other departments to get information relevant to the staffing needs. The process can be time-consuming and often results in faulty schedules being published with little or no notice.

There are, however, best practices for scheduling professionals to employ to cut down the time spent on schedule generation and distribution. These will not only make managers more efficient in their work but will also have a positive impact on employee satisfaction across the board.

Leveraging business metrics and past data

Even in the most dynamic industries, there are clear cycles in business activity. For instance, retail stores can track foot traffic depending on the season and time of day, or they might have designated times for inventory management or shipping products to customers. Analyzing these activities can go a long way in planning and assigning shifts, as it reduces the risk of over- and understaffing and maximizes productivity.

Factoring in key metrics and expected demand fluctuations means your organization will be prepared to handle everyday challenges from the get-go. It may seem that data-driven scheduling takes even more time and effort but in the long run, it saves resources as it prevents scrambling in the last minute to adapt to changes in the dynamic that were entirely predictable.

Remaining alert to errors and conflicts

Copying and pasting schedules from one week to the next is the quickest way to get schedules wrong. Business needs may remain stable, but employees’ availability is bound to change. Correcting these errors and resolving conflicts causes delays and frustration with managers and employees alike. On-call scheduling and tracking down substitutes in the nick of time shouldn’t even be a one-time occurrence, let alone a regular part of the process.

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An effective scheduling system needs to account for employees’ preferred working hours, skills, and leave requests. When staff members feel their time is valued, they are more likely to stay loyal to the organization. Allowing employees to swap shifts independently, without supervisor intervention, is a needed function that provides flexibility and makes ensuring full coverage that much easier.

Establishing a team-wide communication system

Streamlined communication across the organization is the bedrock of efficient shift scheduling. Setting up a central hub where managers and employees can share information in real-time takes the toll from scheduling administrators and fosters a culture of transparency and collaboration. Printing spreadsheets for the bulletin board, and then re-publishing updated versions—which is inevitable in this antiquated system—requires the staff to constantly be on their toes. In contrast, a cloud-based schedule and messaging system ensure the entire team is synced at all times, while also saving time on the back-and-forth.

Each phase of the scheduling process—from planning to building to distribution—has room for improvement. Fortunately, skilled scheduling professionals are well aware that they don’t need to do it manually—there’s an app for that.

Find out how cloud-based scheduling can reduce your schedule creation time by more than 80%. Explore Humanity and try it for free now.