Introducing Smart Templates

Renée Mellish

31 January 2019    |   

Creating rosters using templates is great because in one click you have an entire roster worth of shifts. But even with templates, there are still a bunch of edits that you have to make after it is applied, for example: swapping out staff who are now on leave or unavailable, assigning staff to vacant shifts, etc. Today, we are introducing Smart Templates, a way to apply a template and have the best staff assigned to vacant shifts at the same time. You can start using Smart Templates today, by clicking the Apply Smart template option in your template menu on rosters. How it works: 1. Start by creating a template that has the coverage you know you need for the week, e.g. you know you need 3 people in the bar on Saturday night and 1 person to always be on the front desk. Note: Only vacant shifts will get adjusted so if you have shifts you don’t want to be altered just make sure those have staff assigned. 2. Apply your smart template. 3. When a template is applied any vacant shifts will have staff assigned automatically using the Tanda’s Cognitive algorithm. The algorithm works like this: Look at all the vacant shifts in the template across the week Avoid adding users with clashing shifts/leave/unavailability Avoid breaking roster validation rules Assign a cost-effective team Aim for fairness by spreading out shifts Read more: What’s new in Tanda — January 2019 FAQ Does it assign staff to shifts on a day by day basis (mon-sun) or does it look across the entire week? The way the algorithm works is it looks for the best combinations across the entire week at once, rather than doing it day by day and making the choices for available staff on the last day the least favourable. If I have shifts in my template that already have staff assigned i.e. full timers, part timers but those staff are on leave when I apply the template will those shifts be swapped out? At this stage no, only shifts that are left vacant will be filled – but we plan on making this part of a future version of smart templates.

Creating rosters using templates is great because in one click you have an entire roster worth of shifts. But even with templates, there are still a bunch of edits that you have to make after it is applied, for example: swapping out staff who are now on leave or unavailable, assigning staff to vacant shifts, etc.

Today, we are introducing Smart Templates, a way to apply a template and have the best staff assigned to vacant shifts at the same time.

You can start using Smart Templates today, by clicking the Apply Smart template option in your template menu on rosters.

How it works:

1. Start by creating a template that has the coverage you know you need for the week, e.g. you know you need 3 people in the bar on Saturday night and 1 person to always be on the front desk.

Note: Only vacant shifts will get adjusted so if you have shifts you don’t want to be altered just make sure those have staff assigned.

Tanda-Smart-Roster-Template-1

2. Apply your smart template.

Tanda-Smart-Roster-Template-2

3. When a template is applied any vacant shifts will have staff assigned automatically using the Tanda’s Cognitive algorithm.

The algorithm works like this:

  • Look at all the vacant shifts in the template across the week
  • Avoid adding users with clashing shifts/leave/unavailability
  • Avoid breaking roster validation rules
  • Assign a cost-effective team
  • Aim for fairness by spreading out shifts

Read more: What’s new in Tanda — January 2019

FAQ

Does it assign staff to shifts on a day by day basis (mon-sun) or does it look across the entire week?

The way the algorithm works is it looks for the best combinations across the entire week at once, rather than doing it day by day and making the choices for available staff on the last day the least favourable.

If I have shifts in my template that already have staff assigned i.e. full timers, part timers but those staff are on leave when I apply the template will those shifts be swapped out?

At this stage no, only shifts that are left vacant will be filled – but we plan on making this part of a future version of smart templates.

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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.

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Calendar Integration for Employee Rosters and Leave

Today we’re releasing some new features driven by open data, designed to make staff management in the enterprise simpler and more flexible. Tanda users are now able to export or subscribe to calendars of staff leave, rosters, and birthday, in the open iCalendar format. This format works with any computer or mobile device and doesn’t require specific apps or further work to integrate into other systems. If you are already a Tanda user, you will see this new feature when you next login to the system. Otherwise, if you love the sound of this, sign up for a free trial of Tanda. Tanda CTO Alex Ghiculescu said, “By making data open for our users to access, they can use it from any system they like. While some competitors lock their users into specific data formats and apps that only work on Windows Phone, we believe that employees using Tanda should be able to see their roster from whatever phone they happen to own.” How is the feature used? Using Tanda, staff are sent their rosters by email or SMS when published by managers. They are also sent a link they can use to subscribe to their roster in a calendar program like Google Calendar, iCal, or Outlook, or a phone calendar on iPhone, Android, or any other platform. This calendar updates automatically as managers publish new rosters. Managers are also able to subscribe to a calendar of staff leave or a calendar of birthdays. The only thing it doesn’t do is bake them a cake.

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New weather feature for Tanda Rosters

If your business is often affected by weather conditions, wouldn’t it be great if you could roster your staff based on whether it’s sunny or raining next week? Now you can! Tanda has just integrated a 16-day weather feed into its new rostering platform. This new feature helps improve the decision process for rostering managers, by giving them more relevant data. The weather information even includes high/low temperatures for each day with data refreshed every 10 minutes. The data is sourced from a major weather information provider with data of over 200,000+ cities around the world so it doesn’t matter if you’re rostering for a location in Sydney or Antartica.   Existing Tanda user? If you’re already a Tanda user and want to learn how to roster using the new weather widget, go to our support page: http://help.tanda.co/   Not a user yet? Learn more about Tanda and our other features including Award In terpretation and Time Clocks to create online timesheets. Otherwise, sign up for a free trial here.

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About the author

Renée Mellish

Development: Renee is part of the software development team working as a UI/UX designer. She is responsible for designing Tanda in a way that provides the best possible experience for our users.

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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 […]

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Calendar Integration for Employee Rosters and Leave

Today we’re releasing some new features driven by open data, designed to make staff management in the enterprise simpler and more flexible. Tanda users are now able to export or subscribe to calendars of staff leave, rosters, and birthday, in the open iCalendar format. This format works with any computer or mobile device and doesn’t […]

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