VCS Blog

22 January 2016

How NOT to Schedule Your Staff ... a List of No-No's

Posted by Diane DiMemmo
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Dollarphotoclub_82241580.jpgFor large and small businesses alike, payroll is one of the largest costs, and wasted resources can significantly add to this cost. Wasted time and abused talent can prevent your business from succeeding, and often, waste is bred through inefficient scheduling processes. This post discusses four scheduling scenarios that show how mistakes can cost your business numerous resources.

No Contingency Plan

It’s well known that throughout the year, you will have to plan and accommodate for employees who call in sick, quit, take vacation days, change their work positions, or simply just forget they are working on a certain day. One of the most important initial steps is to make sure that you have a part-time workforce of employees who are able to cover these last minute changes, helping to avoid more costly employee scheduling mistakes. Scheduling without a contingency/backup plan will guarantee inefficiencies and excessive spending for your company.

Reactive Scheduling

If you have ever worked on a schedule for the week, it’s likely that you’ve experienced this unfortunate situation: you walk into a shift and find out that only a small percentage of the people necessary to run the shift are at their posts. Yes, we know it’s a painful experience, especially after spending hours of hard work crafting a seemingly perfect schedule. However, when schedules are completed using Excel or paper, it’s too easy to make simple mistakes. A common mistake that happens is giving too many employees the day off, leading to possible overtime when last minute coverage is needed.

Using an automated workforce management system is an effective way to wean your business off of reactive scheduling practices. This type of automation can prevent multiple employees from taking the same day off, preventing large gaps in the schedule. In fact, scheduling software also has the ability to send out alerts to managers when a shift is understaffed.

Reactive scheduling is not only a nuisance for employees but it can also have a noticeably negative impact on your business.

Obsessing About Preventing Overtime Pay

If you are scheduling your staff properly, you will have the ability to compile accurate scheduling forecasts, so that you can schedule your workers efficiently. In these cases, overtime will not be necessary unless an unexpected issue arises.

Many business owners assume that paying overtime is complicated, expensive, and inherently wrong, but this isn’t necessarily true. Although overtime attracts a premium, in reality, the fully loaded cost of overtime is only slightly higher than normal paid time. Business owners should allow themselves to utilize overtime workers when the situation necessitates it. Scheduling software automatically identifies the shifts where overtime is necessary, thus taking the guesswork out of the scheduling process.

Mishandling Shrinkage

Staff shrinkage generally refers to the amount of time that employees are not available to handle typical work responsibilities. This includes many unproductive activities like long lunch breaks, meetings, training, one-on-one conversations, and general unexcused absences. While staff shrinkage can be frustrating, it’s important that you track your employees' time, so you can understand how many people will need to be scheduled going forward.

If you neglect to factor in shrinkage when calculating how many employees to schedule for a given day, you will always be unable to achieve completion of the company's daily tasks. Most reliable workforce management systems offer data for calculating shrinkage from your most recent attendance reports.

VCS Software | Workforce Management & Scheduling Software

Traditional time & attendance systems - which are still widely used today – clock the hours employees are on the job after they have worked because the hours are counted after the shift has taken place. This reactive approach breeds overspending and inefficiencies. VCS’ software systems compute scheduling data prior to shift work, so that the planned hours and positions are properly staffed. Proactive scheduling promotes a productive, compliant, and fiscally responsible workforce.

Want to get a handle on your work scheduling practices? Check out our Complete Guide Of Work Scheduling to learn about the pros & cons of 30 scheduling plans that can help maximize the productivity and efficiency of your business.

 Pros and cons of 30 scheduling plans designed to maximize the productivity of your workforce.