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 […]
3 October 2018 |
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. Read more: How to Serve 200 Customers Daily in an 8-seat Restaurant 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. Read more: From Battlefields to Boardrooms: Finding Good Managers with William Gooderson 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.