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Implementing Fair Scheduling for Employees

As a scheduler or a manager who does scheduling, fairness and transparency in the shift assignment process is key. Having a fair scheduling process ensures employee satisfaction and can even reduce turnover. Read on to learn how to make a fair shift assignment policy.

In today’s business world, the scheduler has many challenges while planning out schedules and shift assignments. Particularly, they must ensure that both the business’ and employees’ needs are met. It can be challenging to maintain fair scheduling for employees. For example, some employees are more available and qualified for certain shifts and are preferable to schedule. Or, some shifts may be more desirable for employees (e.g., higher gratuities at certain locations, morning shifts vs. graveyard shifts, etc.). Employees may wonder:

“Why is that person is getting the best shifts all the time?”

“Why do I get the worst shifts every week?”

It’s important to have a fair scheduling process to ensure employee satisfaction.

Transparency in Fair Scheduling

The best way to prevent these questions and disgruntled employees is to have a clear and easily accessible policy on the process of shift assignments. The policy can cover many things, but a few things to consider are:

1) Employee Availability

Many companies typically follow the policy that employees are always available for the operational times unless the employee communicates in advance they are not available for certain dates and times through time-off requests.

On the other hand, there are companies that require employees to communicate their availability and preferences ahead of time. Without this, the scheduler doesn’t consider the employee in the schedule and assumes they are unavailable. This is especially true for companies that have employees who work on a part-time, temporary, or on-call basis. This allows the scheduler to assign shifts appropriately in advance without having to inquire from each and every employee.

Having the ability to communicate this information allows the employee to be more proactive and take an active part in getting work. Employee scheduling software can easily track and automate time-off requests and availability information for the employee and the scheduler, saving time, effort, and questions all around. Above all, employees will be fairly scheduled according to their availability.

2) Qualifications or Certifications

Certain jobs require employees to have certain qualifications in order to do the expected work. This can include specific licensing, certifications, or company-specific training. Employee scheduling software can record these qualifications and expiry dates and automatically warn employees and schedulers of renewals. This also ensures all shifts that require certain qualifications are properly assigned in a fair manner.

3) Seniority

At many companies, especially those with a unionized workforce, senior employees (either through rank or number of years served) have first dibs on available shifts.

Transparency would require that this list of employees and ranking be publicly accessible for all.

4) Rotations

Another form of shift assignment is to have certain lists (e.g. senior, intermediate and temporary part-time) where all staff in one list have the same seniority. In this case, shifts are assigned by rotation, working through each list in order. The rotations are tracked so that in the next round of assignments, shifts can be assigned starting from the next employee.

Once again, transparency would require that these assignments are available to all employees, after every round. If this sounds like too much overhead and record keeping, that’s because it is. Celayix’s Autofill by Rotation feature supports this mechanism by keeping track of all rotations and generating reports so you can share with employees.

However, all best-laid plans can go wrong; emergencies and no-shows will happen. No work assignment policy will be complete if it does not outline how exceptions will be handled. Here are some of the ways to address unscheduled absences.

Interested and want to learn more? Contact the Celayix team and we’ll be happy to help you!

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