Workforce scheduling optimization means enabling your workforce to be as efficient as possible; it’s all about scheduling the right person to do the right things at the right time in order to make the best use of your resources in order to improve the bottom line.
But in order to make the most of your human resources, optimizing your workforce includes indirect aspects of workforce management, like considering the people that work for you, in order to get the maximum benefit out of those in your employ.
Benefits of workforce scheduling optimization
What are the key benefits that workforce scheduling optimization can bring to your business? Let’s take a look:
- Reduction in errors, due to optimized schedules for workforce management.
- Enhanced customer service because contract obligations are more likely to be met in totality, chaos is reduced and your brand comes across as being more professional.
- Improved employee satisfaction, low turnover and increased retention and decreased absenteeism because managerial actions show care for the desires and needs of employees, expectations are clear, and schedules are provided in enough time to allow staff to make personal arrangements in order to accommodate their shifts.
- Reduced costs due to increased productivity and the reduction of time consuming tasks.
- Improved productivity as both management and employees are able to do more valuable work instead of time spent on unnecessary aspects of workforce scheduling.
- Better service at a lower cost because employees are empowered to perform more and better because time is accounted for and not wasted.
3 Brilliant workforce scheduling optimization tips
#1: Streamline scheduling processes
This tip involves identifying problems and areas that can be improved in the scheduling process, and then redesigning them:
- Analyse the current process: what causes frustration, where do bottlenecks occur, where is quality forsaken, where could costs come down, and what steps take the most time?
- With your analysis in mind, and imagination in high gear, map the desired process using a good old flipchart and sticky notes. Don’t be shy with your imagination! If you or your team can think it, there’s software that can do it (and one of them is probably called workforce management software). It’s suggested you call on your team for help with this step, as you may miss some crucial details if you’re not “on the floor”.
- Using sticky notes allows you to easily rearrange steps. Once your team agrees on the desired process, recreate it into a digital format using the appropriate software, like Lucidchart.
You will also want to bear in mind that your process should include policies, like time-off requests, and by when they should be sent, and the channels in which they should be sent, and to who. Remember, your aim is to make the process simpler, faster and more effective.
- Acquire necessary resources – now check if there is technology available to fulfill your desired process wishes, and obtain the appropriate permissions to buy it. In addition, any other resources should also be listed and action taken to get them on board.
- Communicate changes to all necessary parties, and update your onboarding process.
- Be sure to make continual improvements as you go along.
The goal of optimizing processes is to find inefficiencies in over or under scheduling, reducing misspent time, and increasing productivity, especially during the times that are most busy. This is made easier with workforce management software because availability is easy to track, and it’s easy to schedule in breaks, duties and tasks within shifts. In addition, technology eliminates human error.
#2: Set and follow rules
Regardless of which workforce scheduling approach you decide on, it’s vital to set up and rigorously follow scheduling rules.
These rules may be based on skills, overtime, or qualifications.
The reason why rules are so important is that not only does it help control labour costs, but also cuts down on complaints around the schedule. Very importantly: if you create a rule that governs the amount of overtime allowed for a certain pay period, adhering to that rule will keep the budget on the straight and narrow.
While we’re at it, let’s not forget employee satisfaction…in this vein, it’s recommended to take the needs of your employees into consideration, and create working hours based on their needs, as much as possible. For example, you may know that someone enjoys evening shifts, so do your best to accommodate them.
Considering your employees has two big benefits: it helps make the person feel appreciated, plus it may reduce the number of schedule change requests. Everyone’s happy.
#3: Combine automated and manual scheduling
It goes without saying that a workforce management solution like EasyRoster is essential if you’re trying to optimize the time of employees working in your business, but balancing between automatic scheduling with technology and manually maintaining the schedule is key.
The software should take the brunt of the hard work around scheduling, but an actual human needs to take a second look to ensure it’s on target and to shape it around the specific needs of the team.
Discuss metrics and goals with employees, and then to make sure they are keeping on par with their goals, use the workforce management system to track them.
Instead of only relying on technology, be sure to factor these metrics into productivity reporting:
- Quantity of work
- Deadline management
- Customer satisfaction
- Quality of work
Base processes around manual means of extracting this information, and add them to employee KPIs.