Automated Staff Rostering: How Does It Work and Why Do You Need It?

More and more companies are turning to automated staff rostering, thanks to the enormous business benefits it offers. But what is it and what can it do for your company? Let's take a look.

What Is Automated Staff Rostering and How Does It Work?

Automated staff rostering is the use of software, and in some cases AI, to automatically create staff schedules. It cuts down the labour-intensive work of manually scheduling staff, while also ensuring that shifts are compliant.

Here’s how it works: you input your staffing requirements and per-shift budgets into the software. Then either you or the workers themselves add their availability to the system.

Next, a fully costed and compliant schedule is produced. The software always looks for the best worker for each shift, taking into account their availability, award and industry-specific compliance, costs and certifications.

After you’ve made any changes you want and signed off on the schedule, it’s shared with workers.

The automation doesn’t stop here, however. If shift cover is needed or someone wishes to swap shifts, the system will automatically find the best potential replacements. You can let this happen automatically, with workers bidding for shifts and the system updating them, or you can set it so that all shift swap requests go through management.

Traditional or AI Rostering?

Even the most basic automated rostering will result in compliant, costed schedules, with far less work required from your team. However, recent moves towards AI rostering mean that even more intelligent schedules are possible. 

Traditional software-based rostering uses an “if A, then B” structure: “if this staff member is not available, schedule a staff member who…” This never changes, unless you change what A and B are. 

AI software, however, benefits from machine learning. It collects data and adapts over time. On a basic level, this could mean the software discovers which staff members are most likely to be available on certain days based on previous data and automatically schedules them, rather than selecting a worker at random. 

However, on a more complex level, it facilitates demand-based rostering. This means the software adapts the schedule based on projected labour demand, which can be calculated through a variety of methods: scheduled sporting events, seasonal fluctuations, past absenteeism levels, table reservation numbers, weather conditions and more. 

Rather than looking up this information, deciding how many staff members you need and inputting that into the system, AI software can analyse the raw data and historical trends to automatically estimate the required number of workers and schedule them. 

You still sign off the schedule, but you won’t have to do the hard work of calculating labour demand.

What Are The Business Benefits of Automated Rostering Software?

Automated rostering has numerous benefits, including:

Reduced Labour Costs

Automated rostering typically leads to fewer incidences of overstaffing and less reliance on expensive short-term cover. Managers will always have the most cost-efficient schedules at the touch of a button. What’s more, they will be able to see the bigger picture – meaning they will be less likely to get mired down in the smaller details and overlook potential issues.

Less HR Stress

Software-based scheduling will free up HR staff and team managers to focus on the important things, like customer service and worker engagement. As the number of hours they spend staring at spreadsheets and draft rosters falls, their job satisfaction and fulfilment will also increase.

Fewer Scheduling and Rostering Issues

Errors are expensive, stress staff out and can cause compliance issues. They are also surprisingly common.

Automated software, however, significantly reduces the risk of human error. If it’s AI software driven, it can accurately forecast and make data-based scheduling and rostering decisions, with increasing accuracy over time – meaning you’re less likely to be surprised by fluctuating labour demand.

Moreover, when someone is absent or late, managers can immediately see that and take action.

A Happier, More Motivated Workforce

Automated rostering software cuts down on scheduling and communication errors while taking workers’ preferences into account. It’s less stressful for staff members, plus it demonstrates that the company cares about them. In turn, businesses see less worker fatigue, higher engagement rates, improved retention rates and better performance and productivity.

Reduced No-Shows and Late Starts

With automated rostering, you can create schedules that work for employees as well as managers. This also facilitates smooth, automated communications, with staff receiving schedules with plenty of notice. As a result, absenteeism and unpunctuality rates tend to fall.

Improved Quality of Service

Understaffing is minimised while staff members are engaged and energised. In turn, customers receive excellent service.

How to Get Started With Automated Staff Rostering

Switching to automated staff rostering is quick and simple, but there are a couple of important things to do first.

Look for a system that either integrates with or can replace your existing systems, from payroll through to communications channels. Ensure it is capable of handling modern awards and other areas of compliance.

Next, get everyone on the team on board by underlining the benefits for them, whether they’re a manager or worker.

Finally, get in touch with an automated staff rostering software provider and ask for a free demo.

Automated staff rostering is a win-win situation: your costs are reduced, your staff are happier and your quality of service is improved. New technology, such as AI and demand-based rostering, are creating increasingly intelligent schedules that help your company focus on the important things rather than the paperwork.

At Humanforce, we believe our job is to help make sure every shift goes smoothly by automating rostering and scheduling, team communications, onboarding and more. To find out how automated staff rostering can save your company time and money, get in touch today for a free, personalised demo.