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Staff Scheduling: A Critical Organizational Function in 2024

With an average of 70% of a company’s costs relating to the workforce in one way or another, managers come to realize that scheduling is more than a cost center: it is the most critical investment area of all.

What is Staff Scheduling?

At its core, staff scheduling involves selecting and assigning employees to shifts within an organization and determining when and for how long those shifts should occur. However, it extends far beyond these basics, encompassing considerations such as qualifications, hourly thresholds, task assignments, and more.

This essential organizational function tackles a spectrum of complex issues, including adherence to union rules, managing overtime, and addressing absenteeism. The staff scheduling process can become time-consuming and overwhelming without the appropriate resources. Moreover, inefficient scheduling can incur significant costs; while the impact varies by industry, employee labor expenses typically account for 35% of overall gross sales for most businesses. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

When you factor in avoidable overtime, absenteeism, and scheduling errors, the financial toll can escalate even further. In today’s management landscape, there is a growing realization that scheduling transcends its traditional HR role and is, in fact, a critical organizational function.

The Staff Scheduling Process

Employer creating its staff schedule

Most people would assume that creating a staff schedule is a simple task. While many might assume that crafting a staff schedule is a straightforward task, delving into the process reveals many factors to consider. Questions naturally arise: 

  1. Who is currently on or off duty among the staff?
  2. Which staff members possess the necessary qualifications for the tasks I require?
  3. Am I inadvertently causing unnecessary overtime?
  4. How many shifts are essential to meet the current demand?
  5. What is the anticipated demand for this specific time?
  6. Am I adhering to both union guidelines and labor laws?

With all these factors to juggle, the intelligent choice is automation. Manual processes can easily lead to mistakes, and automated systems help run your staff schedules smoothly.

The Ramifications of Flaws in Your Schedule

In order to fully understand the effects of schedule errors, we asked our customers which problems occurred for them as a result of inefficient scheduling. There were 4 main areas of concern; Customer Satisfaction, Regulation Compliance, Cost of Operations, and Employee Retention.

Problem Area Potential Issue from Inefficient Scheduling Possible Outcomes
Customer Satisfaction Unfilled, Understaffed shifts, or Unqualified employees
Dissatisfied customers or clients
Loss of future business from those customers
Damage to reputation from word of mouth

Regulation Compliance

Lack of Compliance with Union or Government Regulations

Strikes from workers resulting in disruption to work
Receiving fines/penalties from Unions or the Government

Cost of Operations
Avoidable Overtime
Increased, unnecessary payroll costs
Employee Retention Lack of schedule flexibility and communication resulting in high turnover Unnecessary time and money spent seeking, hiring, and training a new workforce
Lack of available employees to fulfill current demand & loss of potential profitability

This list helps paint a picture of how important it is to have a solid staff scheduling process in place in just a few of the very important parts of running a business.

Staff Scheduling Solutions

As we’ve already mentioned, staff scheduling issues impact you no matter your industry. As a result of this globally recognized struggle, Staff Scheduling Software is more popular than ever. Organizations worldwide are turning to more sophisticated tools and resources to help them improve their staff scheduling practices. With developments in technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other automation, it’s becoming more and more difficult to ignore their potential.

For most organizations, the bottom line is what matters, right? In the past, businesses viewed shift scheduling software as an additional cost. Their operations did not deem them crucial. However, when you dig deeper into the issues that staff scheduling software can solve, you might be surprised at how it can help your bottom line and put extra money into your business.

How can Staff Scheduling Software save you money?

Automation

With staff scheduling software, you can cut the time to create a staff schedule by up to 95%. That can clear up time for your managing staff to focus on growing and operating the business and give them back valuable time in the day. You can generate a weekly or monthly employee shift schedule with any length or even rotating shifts – in minutes and automatically communicate schedules with staff. All this means you can redirect the time and effort that used to go into staff scheduling elsewhere without worrying.

Easily Handle No-Shows

How much time and money do you think your organization has spent in handling sick calls or last-minute schedule changes? It can cost you thousands. Absenteeism can cost you over $2,600 per employee per year.

However, this fear is now becoming something of the past with automation tools available. Most staff scheduling software today enables finding, contacting, and confirming replacements within minutes, eliminating the need for a single phone call. That potential savings alone can mean thousands back into your business.

Control Overtime

With staff scheduling software, you can create rules and limits around overtime scheduling. Telling your system how to handle overtime helps you stay on budget and prevent all avoidable overtime. This increases profitability and ensures shift fulfillment.

Eliminate Time Theft

Although not all staff scheduling solutions have time and attendance features, you should opt for one that does. Timesheet or timecard fraud can cost you as much as 7% of your payroll, and 43% of workers admit to padding timesheets.

Additionally, 74% of employers experience payroll losses related to buddy punching when one employee checks in for another. Staff scheduling software that tracks time and attendance is vital to avoid these costly pitfalls. Have staff members clock in/out and have real-time alerts! This will help us ensure that we accurately handle all payroll and billing and cover all locations.

100% Accurate Payroll & Billing

Payroll and billing are vital business functions. Not only that, but time & attendance, and payroll errors can cost you as much as 8% of your payroll value. Comprehensive staff scheduling software alerts you to exchange time and attendance information automatically in your payroll system. This will combat two costly and common payroll issues by only paying workers for the time they worked and avoiding paycheck errors.

The money you could save from just one of these areas could be enough to cover the costs of staff scheduling software. At Celayix, we’ve helped companies save over $22,000 a year by improving employee scheduling, check-in/out, timesheet validation, invoicing, and payroll processes. If you want to see how much we could save you, look at our ROI Calculator here or contact one of our Solutions Advisors!

Written by Nippun Arora

Written by Nippun Arora

Nippun is the Marketing Coordinator at Celayix, primarily creating content and email marketing. He has been working with them for over 3 years.

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