Ask any manager what one of the most challenging parts of the job is and the response will likely be scheduling.
This is often due to the fact that some older establishments still utilize outdated scheduling systems that aren't as efficient as the more advanced technology that exists today. After growing accustomed and comfortable with the old way of doing things, some business prefers to stick to their current work methods.
Then there are the restaurants who do at some point upgrade their practices to a modern scheduling system but still run into scheduling problems. These problems are not related to speed or efficiency; it is a result of management not following basic key rules.
Here are the 5 rules you need to follow in order to create the perfect employee work schedule.
One - Familiarize Yourself with Current Labor Laws
If you start scheduling without first knowing the labor laws in your region, you could easily and unknowingly break it.
This is why you need to fully familiarize yourself with all of the rules and regulations before you start scheduling. It's also vital to take it a step farther and continue to stay up to date on the laws because they occasionally change and are updated in time.
For example, when it comes to meal break violations, an employee who works past 5 hours without clocking out to take at least a 30-minute break would be in violation. The employee will not be penalized, however, the employer will be, as well as fined. These fines add up and ultimately will cost a company a lot in terms of costs and penalties, which can result in the shutting down of a business.
Two - Staff Accordingly
Every company experiences highs and lows when it comes to foot traffic. Realistically, a business will not see a high volume of customers every hour, every day.
There will be days where you get more customers in the morning and days where you get more customers at night or days where you may not see any at all. Then there are the weekends, which will probably be the busiest times of the week.
The point is that you cannot always precisely predict when you're going to need more or fewer employees working during a given time, however, it can be estimated through past experiences.
For a more accurate calculation, you can utilize the features from a modernized calendar schedule maker to forecast when you will need to schedule more or fewer employees to work.
Through the use of predictive algorithms combined with past metrics, your employee schedule will be greatly improved.
Three - Empathize with Your Team
Your staff is your most valuable asset, which is why you should always treat them with the respect they deserve.
To achieve this, it would behoove you to consider everyone's personal life, outside of work. Some of your employees might have a second job, a family to tend to, school to attend, and so on and so forth.
Ask your staff which shifts they prefer to work and what hours they feel the most confident working. When inquiring about availability, ask your employees to provide the following information
- Which shifts they prefer
- Which shifts they're willing to work if needed
- Which shifts they can't work
If you use a calendar schedule maker application, you can get this data in real-time through the application with its instant-chat feature. Employees can also submit availability updates through the app, which is incredibly convenient and beneficial for both parties.
It is also important to establish some ground rules about availability and availability submissions before proceeding with the creation of each schedule.
Four - Make the Schedules Easily Accessible
The best way to do this is to post and promote the schedule online. Online calendars are a good tool for this because it sends notifications to all currently staffed employees once a schedule is posted and when there have been any revisions applied.
Another great feature is automatic alerts notifying employees when an upcoming shift is approaching. For example, if a member of your team has a scheduled shift at 4 PM, that employee will get a notification 30 minutes prior, depending on the configuration.
With this feature, you increase the accountability of your staff, while also ensuring everyone is aware of the current schedule.
These tools are dedicated to schedule creation, and they have some of the best features you could ask for such as
- Automated schedule creation
- Automated shift switching
- Instant communication
- Time logging
- 24/7 access
- Mobile application and accessibility
Five - Have a Backup Plan - Always
Regardless of how strong your schedule is, the possibility of a last-minute call out is always bound to happen. Whatever the reason may be, you have to be prepared for the possibility of an employee missing an assigned shift.
That's why you need a backup plan. A last-minute call to the rest of your team to cover a shift is going to create frustration and unhappiness. The best backup for these situations is on-call employees.
Dedicated on-call employees are employees who are willing to come into work during specific hour windows and will either call in ahead of time or be called in my management indicating they are or are not needed for that day.
Scheudling tools can automatically show you who's available to take a shift when an employee doesn't show up, which makes your life much easier and resolves the problem at an accelerated rate.