What new managers need to know about scheduling & rostering

Staff scheduling and rostering can be tricky for managers when new to the role. Read more to get some ideas on how to manage your staff schedule.

When it comes to building a schedule for your employees, there are two primary considerations: cost and efficiency. You want to ensure you have enough staff on hand at all times, who are neither underutilised nor overworked; and you must keep the labour costs associated with running the organisation reasonably low. In addition, you want to ensure that all compliance obligations are being met.

That's where employee and shift scheduling tips like those in this article come into their own. From maintaining transparency to using HR tech like an employee schedule app to help with accuracy and timeliness, here’s how you can make your employee scheduling even better as a new manager.

What makes a great employee schedule and roster solution?

The best employee scheduling solutions make it easier for managers to manage staff and employees to understand their schedules.

They take care of three key things:

  1. Accommodating employee needs - scheduling flexibility such as the need to work different shifts or at different times of the day to suit the personal circumstances of workers, which results in happier employees and better productivity.

  2. Meeting your business's staffing requirements - being receptive to employee needs while ensuring they are scheduled for enough hours each week to justify your investment in resources and ensuring compliance-related obligations are met (such as having employees with the right qualifications rostered at a given time, or ensuring nurse to patient ratios meet legal requirements).

  3. Ensuring you are neither understaffed or overstaffed - making sure neither time nor money is wasted on both sides of the equation.

The keys to effective employee scheduling and rosters

A traditional way to manage schedules is to create a hard-coded schedule that is the same for everyone in the company. But this approach isn’t as sustainable or efficient as the one designed by a work timetable app, for example.

For instance, the conventional approach doesn’t take into account employee requests for flexible schedules or time off. This means that if you have a new employee who starts working on Monday and then needs to take off Thursday and Friday because they have a family emergency, you will be forced to find someone else to fill in for them - even though they might not have been hired with the expectation that they would work full-time every day of the week in the first place.

In essence, there’s no wriggle room. However, since technology now enhances pretty much every aspect of our work operations, leveraging schedule creation software to design effective employee scheduling and rosters is essentially now the key to smooth sailing in this area.

5 staff scheduling & rostering tips

1. Share a schedule distribution in advance

You are probably already familiar with the benefits of having shared online employee scheduling in place. It helps your team members plan their schedules, makes it easier for them to know when they are working, and makes life easier for you by reducing the number of questions you have to answer.

But what if you could take it one step further?

Sharing a schedule with your team members in advance lets them know what's coming up next week or next month (or even next year, depending on your level of planning). It also informs them about when they are working with each other or on their own, so they can plan accordingly. 

Furthermore, giving them the specifics of their shifts and allowing employees to request changes in the master staff schedule app can help reduce confusion and make sure no one is caught off guard by their work schedule.

2. Maintain open communication

Communication is the cornerstone of effective employee scheduling and smooth operations. If you want to keep your employees happy and engaged, you need to be transparent with them.

Be upfront about how your employees’ schedules are set up, and let them know if they are going to be working more or fewer hours than usual. And if an employee is sick, make sure they know when they can expect to return to work. 

Remember that one of the biggest mistakes you can make when managing your staff is to assume that everyone is on the same page. On the contrary, assume everybody is unaware of schedules until they “officially” hear from you.

3. Make your schedule flexible

Some employees may have unpredictable schedules due to things like school or childcare obligations, so it’s important for managers to allow as much flexibility as possible when setting up schedules.

One way this can be accomplished is by allowing employees to have a say in scheduling. Another option is granting extra hours when needed so employees can make up for any schedule changes.

That being said, make sure everyone knows what's expected of them, how much time they are expected to spend at work, and when they are supposed to show up/leave before you start scheduling and rostering.

4. Re-evaluate your staffing levels on a regular basis

Whether you are a startup or an established company, it’s likely your staffing needs are never going to remain the same. That’s why you need to re-evaluate your staffing needs every few months as well as after any major change in your business. 

For example, if you have hired new employees or made changes to your work hours, you need to assess how these developments might affect your routine and what you can do to reduce disruption.

Speaking of scaling your business, we have outlined a few more tips for building a resilient workforce in 2022 that are sure to help you make profitable HR decisions. Check them out!

5. Give your staff the technology and tools to be successful

HR technology is far more than just a buzzword today. It can be an excellent business tool to keep track of who is working and when. By using an easy-to-manage scheduling app like Humanforce, new managers can effortlessly create employee schedules and shift assignments from anywhere, at any time. It can also enable and empower your team to control their own schedules. 

Not only does it help make sure that everyone gets paid for the work they do, it also helps you avoid any scheduling conflicts or understaffing issues that can arise during peak business periods.

Learn more about leveraging HR tech and HR automation to keep leveling up the way you manage your staff.

Get in touch

If you want to speak to us about how Humanforce software can improve your staff scheduling and rostering to support your employees, schedule a demo, or contact us here.

Humanforce solutions

Humanforce is a leading provider of shift-based workforce management solutions that simplify onboarding, scheduling, time and attendance, employee engagement and communication.

Customers in more than 23 countries use Humanforce to build resilience, optimise costs, realise compliance confidence, retain staff, empower their team and drive growth. 

Humanforce was founded in Sydney in 2002, and today has offices across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK.