3 Common Rostering Problems Managers Face (And How to Solve Them)
When most managers think of a roster system, it’s usually just about letting staff know of hours they’re expected to work. Paul on the night shift, Sally on the morning shift, John on the weekends — how difficult is it to even make the perfect roster?
Turns out, it’s extremely difficult.
Why build the perfect roster in the first place?
A ‘perfect roster’ can mean differently for various businesses. There is just no one size fits all when it comes to workforce schedules.
Every business aims to increase their effective profit margin. More profit means more choices, more take home pay, and less ongoing risk. And the easiest way to increase profit is to reduce the largest yet most controllable expense in a company: staff wages.
The roster, being a primary source of wage costs, is often overlooked as the single biggest opportunity to increase profit. Cross-industry research shows that rosters are under-optimised most of the time, making a massive difference to the bottom-line of a company. Without realising it, businesses are losing money due to poor shift planning everyday. One day of inefficient rostering can set a budget off-balance, which managers only discover when the pay period rolls in.
How can managers improve their rostering system?
More than setting the hours, those who oversee staff are also responsible for optimising wages. The problem is that a lot of managers are either too busy to do so, or are not equipped with the right tools to do it.
We work with thousands of managers from different industries and have summarised some of the most common problems they encounter when it comes to rostering. Read more about these blockers and our tips for success.
Problem #1: Manual rostering is extremely time consuming
Manually writing down the hours staff are rostered is easy for a business with just three people. You put in the hours they need to show up and paste the sheet on the office bulletin board, and that’s it. Job well done, roster’s finished.
But for bigger companies with hundreds and thousands of staff? Not the most ideal way to schedule employees. Scheduling will take weeks, if not months to do.
The band-aid solution is to create a spreadsheet of everyone who needs to be rostered — usually via Excel or Google Sheets. Yes, this cuts down time compared to paper-based rostering, however it’s still not the most efficient way to do so. In essence, your timesheets are still being done manually this way, which makes it prone to human error and time theft.
The solution: Cloud-based processes, from rostering to attendance tracking
An efficient rostering software can help managers cut down the task from a couple of hours to just a few minutes. Templates have also become an efficient way to copy and paste staff’s schedules, because why do the same thing over and over again, every time?
While rostering is half of the job, attendance tracking can now be automated as well. With photo- and location-verified time tracking apps, managers are saved from the guesswork of who’s worked when. Not only does this make timesheet approvals a seamless process, it also prevents time and wage theft on a bigger scale.
Problem #2: It’s tricky to communicate with staff regarding their roster
You’ve created the perfect roster; now you need to tell your staff. But what’s the best avenue to do so? Through face-to-face interaction? Mass messaging? Printing it out?
Not only does choosing a platform become potentially exhausting, it can also become confusing for staff to keep up with where to really check their schedules. One missed message and an entire team’s schedule could go downhill, lowering productivity and service quality for the day.
The solution: Communication tools readily available within the rostering system
While a good rostering software is still seen as a tool that communicates only start and end times, managers can actually use it as a messaging tool for everything to do with shifts — not just when to start and when to end.
Communication or the lack thereof can cause a lot of missed shifts and misunderstandings at work. By having built-in tools in your rostering system, letting people know when they’re expected to work becomes a natural next step than anything. It’s a lot easier for managers and staff alike to have a messaging feature within their scheduling app, directly asking one another about rosters in real-time. Some apps such as Workplace by Facebook also started integrating workforce management tools within their system.
Problem #3: Rostering becomes complex when industry awards come into play
With the recent high profile cases of underpayments such as George Calombaris and Subway Australia, fear of penalties in following labour regulations have become universal across many businesses. While this seems to be happening more often than usual, most cases are probably unintentional. The tension here lies in the difficulty of keeping up with requirements as managers roster their staff. It’s a risky game to play when you’re never 100% sure you’re still compliant when rostering employees.
This complexity heavily applies for overtime, weekends, and public holidays. Of course, calculations become a bit more of a puzzle when the type of employment is taken into account, as well as respective qualifications for every shift worked. And with specific pay rates being regularly updated by the government, employers need to take extra care ensuring that the rules they’re implementing are still relevant.
The solution: Automated pay rule updates and direct-to-payroll calculations
Managers shouldn’t have to sit down and read through legal jargon just to roster staff.
A software that automatically updates pay rates based on industry updates (or even custom EBAs, depending on the business) is the most helpful and effortless solution. It saves managers from the complexity of computing rates per employee, and avoiding legal apprehension in the long run. When everything is automated, you can focus on creating the perfect roster without having to worry about the compliance side of things.
In conclusion, the best way to optimise your rostering process is to leave it to a trusted software to take care of everything. With workforce management software such as Tanda, rostering becomes a breeze, and everything else — attendance, timesheets, unavailability, shift swapping, and payroll processing — all happens in one place.
To make rostering an effortless task, try Tanda for free today.
Awards & Rostering |
How much do full-time staff really cost?
Being in the business of managing staff costs, we often hear people say that casual staff just cost so much more than their full time equivalents. I mean, that extra 25% is a killer, right? Especially for staff who work a fairly consistent schedule each week, it’s almost like free money. For a while there I went along with that, not really giving it much thought. But today the thought struck me – casuals miss out on plenty of benefits afforded to full and part timers, so are they really better off? I decided to investigate further. What follows may surprise you. First – how many days in a year does a full time employee work? Weeks in a Year: 52 Working Days in a Year: 260 So far so good. We’re going to ignore the 1 or 2 days that we’re off by, for the sake of a nice round number. Next, let’s look at this full time employee’s entitlements, in days. Annual Leave: 20 (4 weeks) Personal Leave: 10 (2 weeks) Public Holidays: 10 We’ll assume a 7.6 hour work day and 17.5% leave loading. So how many hours of leave are we paying? Annual Leave – Base: 152 Annual Leave – Loading: 26.6 Personal Leave: 76 Public Holidays: 76 Total Hours of Leave Paid: 330.6 Earlier we calculated how many days of work one can work in a year, now let’s subtract leave taken to get a more accurate figure. Days of Leave Taken: 40 Actual Days Worked in a Year: 220 Actual Hours Worked in a Year: 1672 Divide 330.6 (hours of leave paid) by 1672 (hours worked) and we get 19.77%. Remember, we are comparing this to the 25% loading paid for casual staff. So from this perspective, yes, your full time and part time staff are still cheaper – but only by 5.23%. And even that number is probably on the low side. We ignored long service leave and maternity leave because they are a bit more unreliable. Both they are also costs (or accruals) that can definitely add up! When you take into account the fact that you only have to pay casuals when you need them, it’s easy to see why more and more Australian employers are turning to casual staff. According to the ABS, this has been growing steadily since the 90’s, and today over 1 in 5 jobs in Australia are casual.
Events & Media AU |
Mossman State High School graduates Tasmin Trezise and Jake Phillpot are hoping to set up a head office in Far North Queensland for their rapidly growing tech business, Tanda (Previously PayAus). The software and payroll processing company is currently based in Brisbane and is helping organisation of five and upward staff significantly reduce their labour costs. “Tanda deliver a digital answer to traditional time sheets,” founder Tasmin Trezise said. “Our system eliminates time theft and produces unbelievably easy reporting and businesses save money from day one as there is no upfront cost.” The system involves installing a managed hardware device into your business and employees record their start and finish times by entering a unique four digit. The system will send the data back to the central server where organisational rules are applied and time sheets are calculated effectively reducing labour costs. “It’s not a choice anymore, small to medium businesses need to be thinking about their staff costs all the time and we are able to help them do it.” Mr. Trezise said. Tanda founder Jake Phillpot said growing up in local small business families meant the pair were passionate about bringing technical innovations back to far North Queensland. “We made Tanda to be the most powerful and economic payroll and cloud timesheeting solution on the market for small to medium size organisations,” he said. “It’s about keeping family business strong, simple and together.” Visit www.tanda.co for more information.
Product Updates |
Text Me Maybe: Share Your Rosters by SMS!
Tanda’s (PayAus) roster management tools just got even more powerful, with the ability to send your staff their rosters by SMS, instantly. No more printing rosters out and making sure they don’t get lost, or trampled on, or wet. No more casuals calling up during the busiest time of the day to ask when their next shift is. And no more typing text messages up yourself – Tanda can do it all for you. Once you’ve designed a roster in Tanda, just follow the prompts to SMS it to your staff. You’ll be able to select which staff members get their rosters delivered, and even see a preview of the message they’ll get. Rosters by SMS cost 25 cents per message, but as a gift to Tanda customers, we’re making the first month absolutely free. Have fun! P.S. rosters are sent to the phone number you’ve provided for your staff, so you’ll need to make sure that’s correct. If you are having issues entering phone numbers, or need help importing a lot of phone numbers, please contact us!