Shift Planning 101: Optimising and Swapping for Success
It’s no secret that many businesses go under because of ineffective shift planning. When a shift isn’t staffed with the correct number of people, customers are disappointed and revenue is lost. Over time, your business reputation can go down the drain. This is especially true in the hospitality and healthcare industries, where the staff is required almost 24/7. Optimising the roster is a necessary investment for the business. Here are five easy steps to get you started:
1. Identify peak hours and events
Peak hours vary per industry, so it’s important to identify which ones are yours. For restaurants, being understaffed during lunch and dinner hours can result in sub-par food quality and customer service. For retailers, peak hours largely depend on what kind of product or service is being sold. Your Point-of-Sale (POS) system can track the number and type of sales each employee makes, and more importantly when they make those sales.
For hotels, on the other hand, events in the area can cause a spike in patrons and conference room reservations. It’s best to synchronize your marketing and administrative calendars with them. Keep abreast of trends as well, so you can create packages specifically for them, and organize staff accordingly. Whatever your industry, planning everything from discounts to rostering depends on correctly identifying peak hours and events.
2. Organize data on your team
Knowing your team well is instrumental to shift planning. Having all the details on hand allows you to make decisions quickly. Organizing the data this way lets you have a big picture of who you have working for you, and who you might still need to hire. It also allows you to respond to changing conditions, which can determine the success of your business. You can start by listing the following:
- Availability. Chart when they can and cannot come in to lessen schedule conflicts down the line.
- Qualifications. Identify their skills, certifications, and restrictions. They may have qualifications that are being overlooked, and skills that can be beneficial to the growth of your business.
- Personality. Take note of when and with whom they work best. Team dynamics is a major consideration in shift planning. Complementary personalities working together are more likely to deliver their best to clients.
- Career trajectory. Consider what their career trajectory is, especially if they intend to apply for promotions, or shift to a different department.
- Other skills. Identify what jobs they can substitute for when necessary. The rostered employees aren’t always available, so it’s good to have a back up plan.
3. Pick out your best employees
Knowing who the top performers are allows you to schedule them with those who can use some inspiration. The presence of efficient employees will improve overall performance during the shift. It also has the added advantage of shining the spotlight on future managers. Allowing good employees to hone their skills in demanding situations will equip them for bigger responsibilities.
4. Choose a shift planning method
Traditional. There are several ways to make a shift work calendar. Traditionally, managers used good old pen and paper or a whiteboard to lay out the schedules. This becomes unsustainable when there are more than ten employees. Plus, there is plenty of room for error when using these methods.
Spreadsheets. Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets are more common these days, but no less time-consuming. Setting the roster up can take a while, and each detail must still be inputted manually. Changes must be communicated to employees via a separate tool, making it a chore for many managers.
Cloud-based software. It’s likely that you’ve thought about using a shift planning software, and you’re not alone. A 2016 survey by consultancy firm EY indicated that 92% of businesses intend to adopt some form of HR technology in the future. Of businesses that already did, 76% use a cloud-based system like Tanda. Cloud-based software is popular because they allow you to:
Create and monitor rosters.
You can create and save employee schedule templates, or import them from Excel. Tanda’s multi-roster view and colour coding make it easy to see who’s working where. You can even swap shifts in case someone can’t make it to work.
Introduce shift swapping.
Tanda’s shift swapping feature integrates into its time and attendance web and mobile apps. It lets staff request to drop or cover a shift right from their mobile phone, while managers control all swap approvals and roster updates. It decreases the amount of administrative work, is suitable for over 20 employees, and can even be used to generate an analysis of your workforce. Read more about shift swapping for managers here.
Generate optimized shifts automatically.
There is no need to rely on intuition with Tanda. It analyses a variety of demand indicators to generate shifts. It also reviews data from your sales history to predict the number of employees you will need on each day.
Control labour costs in real time.
Tanda shows managers the labour cost percentage before they send the roster out. Timesheets and roster costs are compared each day, so managers can track their progress throughout the week. You can start making better financial decisions instantly.
Update your roster from anywhere.
Managers can make changes to the roster whether they’re on their desktop at the office, or on their smartphone during transit. Employees can also send leave requests anytime, allowing their manager to find substitutes immediately. This easily eliminates any shift conflicts at work.
Communicate the roster instantly.
Send SMS and email updates about your roster to all employees with one click. This feature lessens the risk of miscommunication and missed shifts from the moment it is implemented.
5. Monitor productivity and savings
The greatest reason to optimize shift planning is, of course, to increase productivity and savings. Establish your baseline before implementing a new rostering system. Compare your productivity and savings with it after six months, and adjust as you go along. If you are able to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your shift planning system, you will have a much better chance of succeeding in your industry.
Ready to find out what Tanda can do for your business? Book a demo today.
Industry Insights |
3 Strategies to Master Your Wage Costs
Understanding your wage costs from a financial report is a bit like trying to piece back together a fruit smoothie that’s already been blended. Only a fraction of employers ever master their wage costs. Those who do are able to turn what’s viewed as a burden by their competitors into their best competitive advantage. A well trained and engaged workforce is a terrifyingly sharp weapon to take to your competition. The secret to it all is actually highly practical in application. It has been proven through decades of research that links highly engaged workforces to increases in topline revenue. We’ve worked with some of the most successful companies in traditionally low margin industries. Here are three of the most potent strategies you can apply to turn your workforce into your weapon in the new year. (1) Start measuring the future, rather than just reporting the past Financial reports are good if you want to see what happened yesterday. But taking control of wage costs is a long-term game. This means managing all expenses that a company bears for the employment of a staff member. This includes everything from gross salaries and benefits to other legal employer contributions. If you want to improve your future wage cost position, you need to start in advance. Building a conceptual report of your future wage costs works well because changes to the way you manage your workforce can take a long time to flow through. That’s especially true when it comes to agreed rostered hours, employment types, and hiring strategies, which take time to materialise into long term savings. You know what Christmas trade was like last year, so what will it look like in the new financial year with higher wage costs and new employees? What could you change throughout the year in terms of things like the types of employees you hire and their agreed hours? The difference can be significant. Scenario test your forecasts based on employment type, age, level and test the impact of unforeseen overtime. Software will greatly speed this process up. If you’re only reporting on how well you’ve done, start reporting into the future in 2019. Plan to be successful in the future so you can start moving towards your goals now. (2) Tie up loose ends with a sharp ‘day of operations’ plan A well-run shift feels good, it’s like a hot knife through butter. The perfect win-win-win for business, employee, and customer. For some businesses, this is a random occurrence, but businesses that invest in the success of their workforce replicate this effect on a daily basis. It sounds simple enough: you need the right people in the right place at the right times, and management that leads the charge from the front. The reality is that planning and execution have many moving parts, which is why the day of operations plan holds key to your long term success. Staff levels should track your schedule, or day of operations plan, like clockwork. Any observed discrepancies should be viewed in light of demand being increased or decreased versus what was expected. At Tanda we we’ve quantified the ‘loose ends’ of a shift to be worth at least 1% of total payroll cost, based on clients who moved off manual timesheets. These represent just the small 1 to 5 minute variances here or there to what was planned, so with larger unexpected variances there can be a much larger than 1% difference between your plan and actual costs. Executing shifts with precision and recording times accurate to the minute is low hanging fruit in 2019. You can do this by setting goals for the time between trading or production end, and the official shift end, to encourage staff to finish diligently. If the original plan results in success, sticking to the plan guarantees it. Tanda’s Live Wage Tracker lets you see wage costs in real-time and adjust staffing levels to drive profitability (3) Return Managers to the Frontline If you want to sell more, make more, and ultimately do more in 2019, empower your managers to lead from the front. This is an opportunity that most businesses leave on the table. Frontline managers are your managers who lead shifts and teams, and they lead more employees than any other level of management. Remember, frontline staff have direct and measurable impacts on top line revenue and quality — they are the doers of any company. Research shows that the most valuable thing a frontline manager can do is allocate time to lead from the front, yet frontline managers spend more time on administration than on more important things like coaching and training. Make the admin the exception. Analyse what keeps managers in their office and automate it, so they can lead the charge from the front. Industrial engineers use the fancy term “task-based observation”, but in practice finding out what to automate is as simple as analysing each piece of paper a manager touches and asking, “why?” Tanda’s Live Wage Tracker monitors your wage costs in real time as Tanda’s Award Engine calculates the exact cost of your wages for each minute of the day Master your Wage Costs Mastering your wage costs only takes a few key changes to the way you do business. First, investing in the right software will empower you to accurately forecast the next 12 months and beyond based on both reported data and common scenarios. Workforce success platforms like Tanda eliminate the need to guess how different employment and overtime levels affect revenue. Second, planning ahead and having contingencies ensure that every shift runs well and no resources are wasted. Besides having a sharp “day of operations plan”, preparing for staffing difficulties is possible with features like shift swapping that dramatically reduce no-shows. Third, ensuring that managers have a connection with both the staff and the customers gives you an edge over the competition. A manager that is not stuck in the back office understands concerns from all ends, and makes better decisions as a result. Help your business grow by implementing these three strategies today! Curious to know more about a workforce management system that can help your business get better? Book your FREE demo with Tanda today.
Industry Insights |
Why employees love Tanda’s Workforce Success software
Workplace automation, including the use of artificial intelligence and robotics, is expected to surge in the next three years, according to multinational insurance broker Willis Towers Watson. This development is unsurprising, as automating HR can lead to significant cost savings for your organisation, especially when implemented in managing attendance, eradicating benefit errors, and automating compliance. With the growing demand for advanced technology use, automating HR processes is not an eventuality, it’s a necessity. But streamlining processes and lowering administrative costs is only one side of the coin. Yes, owners, employers, and managers stand to gain a lot from ensuring that the business is ready for the future. But employees, too, are benefiting from workforce technology platforms that not only ensure wages are paid accurately and on time, but also introduce flexibility and increase transparency in the workplace. Employees love Tanda’s workforce success software because it empowers them in more ways than one. Read about how Tanda is making a difference in workplaces around the world. Error-free Timesheets and Pay Runs The first and most obvious benefit of workforce technology platforms is error-free timesheets and accurate pay runs. Companies that still use manual methods for timekeeping and pay calculation can cause employees to second guess if they’re really getting paid the right amount every time the payslip arrives. In fact, Australia recently had a spate of wage theft accusations, leaving in its wake damaged reputations and millions in back wages. Owners and managers commonly cite a lack of understanding of Australia’s complex award system as the reason it happens. Read more: Taking Back Time: Solving the enduring wage theft problem in Australia Switching to the Tanda employee time clock app ensures staff that their shifts are recorded accurately throughout the pay period. Timesheets are processed with Tanda’s award interpreter, to account for modern awards of Fair Work Australia as well as other enterprise award agreements. This is then exported in a format compatible with a host of payroll integrations, making pay runs quick and reliable. This increases the level of trust and transparency between employers and employees, which in turn increase productivity and engagement in the long run. Better Work-Life Balance When employees have a healthy work-life balance, they become more fulfilled with their work, and more invested in the future of the company. There are a number of ways flexibility can be introduced into a company without hurting the bottom line. For instance, Tanda’s unavailability calendar feature lets employees tell their managers whenever they might not be open for shifts. This helps the company create rosters around each person’s unavailability. Another feature, leave management, optimises the leave request process and lets staff file requests via the web browser or employee app. For some companies, more novel solutions like shift swapping are providing employees with more options to achieve better work-life balance. It allows shift workers to trade shifts with one another when the need arises. This lets shift workers strike a balance between their personal commitments and work responsibilities. Tanda’s shift swapping feature that integrates into its time and attendance web and mobile apps. It lets staff request to drop or cover a shift right from their mobile phone, making it easy for them to start the swapping process. Read more: Achieving Workforce Success: Shift Swapping for Managers Reliable Rostering and Communication Employees need to know their schedule well ahead of time so that they can plan their upcoming week. Tanda’s web-based rostering software cuts down the time companies spend making the weekly roster. Cognitive Rosters® can be connected to your existing roster templates for the predictive suggestion of staffing requirements. Once approved, Tanda sends the roster to staff via SMS, email, or employee app. Employees can then inform their manager of any leave requests or else apply for a swap, dramatically reducing the chances of unfilled shifts throughout the week. Proper rostering is extremely important because overstretched employees aren’t productive. Too few staff on a given shift affects how they engage customers and respond to demands. Tanda’s Predictive Workforce feature uses sales data from the business’ Point-of-Sale (POS) to give an accurate forecast on how many people are needed on any given shift. During the day, Live Insights can be used to make key decisions on whether to call more people in, ensuring that the high quality of operation is sustained and uninterrupted. Read more: Introducing Live Insights: Using real-time staffing to secure your business Transparent and Engaging Workplace According to a survey done by Interaction Associates, 86% of employees say that they are more productive if they trust their employers. A separate study by advocacy group Trust Across America found that trustworthy companies outperform companies in the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index. Building that kind of game-changing trust starts with transparency within the organisation. Employees must know that their company is working in the interests of all and they are open about the information that matters to them. With a world-class workforce success software like Tanda, employees have access to a portal that lets them know their time and attendance records, time off allowances, and upcoming shift schedules. It also increases employee engagement in other ways, like clocking in by taking a selfie on the Tanda Time Clock. Starting the workday with a smile can change the employee’s whole perspective, which can lead to a better rapport with customers and fellow coworkers. And with Tanda doing most of the admin work, employees have more time to do the things that matter to them. Read more: Crafting Workforce Success at Windsor Alehouse Why Workforce Software Matters For the modern employee to do their best at work, they need to feel that the company is supporting them and is willing to adjust to their needs from time to time. They need to know that the company they’re working for pays them correctly, supports their life commitments, and effectively communicates with them at all times. Companies can make all this happen by moving on from outdated processes that bogs down human resource management. By using workforce management software, employees are more motivated to work, empowered by a platform that allows companies to drive trust, engagement, and the ultimate employee experience. Ready to find out what Tanda can do for your business? Book a demo today.
Industry Insights |
Should you approve shift swaps at work?
If you run a service-oriented business, you’re all too familiar with staff requesting to suddenly change or drop shifts. It’s something that any business owner cannot control; staff will encounter unlikely situations and will get sick from time to time. What is shift swapping? Shift swapping is a need for staff to change the time that they’re rostered for work. A situation where shift swaps happen can vary from work-related to personal reasons. But all the same, the employer is always given the power to let changes in rosters happen. Operational risks Letting staff take control of their time is one way of showing respect to your people. Sick leaves and personal emergencies are really out of the question when it comes to approving time off. However, without the knowledge of who can immediately fill in vacancies, more so the ability to get replacements instantly, business operations become tricky. Shift swapping that results in vacancies gives your business the risk of giving inconsistent service to your customers. For pubs, loyal customers come back for the quality of drinks and those who serve them. We hear regulars say, “the usual” when they order something, and having that one person take unexpected time off can derail your customers’ expectations. Because businesses enter ‘firefighting mode’ when staff is out, it’s not easy to assure that whoever comes in will provide the same level of service — or worse, that someone else even agrees to come in in the first place. Administrative costs It’s not a chore to mark your staff unavailable when they suddenly decide to take some time off. But it becomes confusing when multiple shift swaps happen within a day, week, or month. The fact that staff members have different rates, allowances, and hours can leave you organising pay data for ages. The good news Despite the risks you get with shift swapping, managers are still in control of their operations. With modern technology, apps can now accommodate these gaps. No-show shifts can easily be filled without the worry of overlapping schedules and calculating hours for payroll. Recent shift swapping technology not only fills your vacancies, but it also ensures that whoever is taking up a shift is a good fit, i.e. they are available for the hours, they belong in the same team, and will cost your business the same/less. So yes, go ahead and approve shift swap requests at work. With shift swapping technology, there’s no room for worry and firefighting for your business. Not only are you creating trust between managers and staff, but you’re also at ease knowing that operations will keep running while keeping costs in check. To know more about Shift Swapping, visit https://www.tanda.co/features/shift-swapping/