Have you ever had an employee that backed out from a shift due to personal reasons? Was that particular employee essential to your organization? If so, then certainly that must have caused a lot of panic for your organization. Such unplanned circumstances and schedule changes seem to become more common for employers with hourly workers, disrupting their business operations and ultimately causing stress.
Erratic scheduling is a nuisance for the employer, employee, and the business. As a result, handling scheduling changes is of utmost priority with managers that seek to cut out any unplanned circumstances. Scheduling changes can arise from anywhere or anytime. There could be a situation where there are too few employees working a shift. As an employer, you’d find it unacceptable if no security guards are patrolling an assigned location. Similarly, there could be a case when too many employees work a shift when you require less. Subsequently, effectively managing scheduling changes when there is a change in demand for staff is the primary goal for any employer.
Before we discuss ways to handle scheduling changes, it would be beneficial to discuss the impacts of poor scheduling and change management.
Impact of poor Change Management
Poor scheduling is often a combination of irregular scheduling and unplanned circumstances. In either of the cases, employees are affected concerning their engagement levels with the organization. A survey by Washington Post reported that 71 percent of dissatisfied hourly employees are currently looking for new jobs, citing unstable schedules and difficulties reaching their managers as reasons for leaving. While working paycheck to paycheck itself adds stress to many hourly employees, the difficulty in combining work and non-work responsibilities causes strain and disengagement. Unfortunately, 50% of such employees have a problem asking for time off. Why so?
- Nearly half of workers (45%) surveyed by the International Social Survey Program said their “employer decides” their work schedule. Consequently, employees find it difficult to work their preferred hours, forcing them to adapt or leave their current jobs.
- Six percent of hourly workers, 8 percent of salaried workers, and 30 percent of those paid on some other basis work irregular or on-call shifts. Lack of certainty in shifts make jobs less desirable and frustrate employees that want more clarity in their life.
- Calling in sick amongst hourly employees is rarely possible, with 31% of such employees finding difficulty changing shifts with another coworker. As a result, the options available for hourly employees are to either work their shift in sickness or be underemployed.
Due to the problems mentioned above, employees that do not get discretion in deciding their schedule often become disengaged from their workplace.
Employers and businesses are acutely affected as a result of improper change management. Many companies manually attempt to assign shifts to their employees, and these shifts are often inflexible. Such inflexibility leads to absenteeism and often missing shifts which lead to lower productivity. Lower productivity plays a crucial role in financial losses for any organization. Creating a poor schedule that isn’t dynamic for employees leads to employee turnover and unnecessary overtime hours for some employees to make up for lost work. All these add to the financial burden for the employer.
Industries such as hospitality and manufacturing may often have significant shifts in demand for staff, sometimes at the last minute. Sometimes, more guests show up to an event, which may require an increase in staff present. Without sufficient backup, staff may create a curb on guests allowed, which would reduce the financial welfare generated. Likewise, there might be a case where a machine in the manufacturing process breaks down and requires repair. Although this might prevent staff from working, you still have to pay them for the hours present in the workplace. This, too, creates a financial burden for the employer who had initially scheduled their shifts.
Decreased customer/client satisfaction
Every modern business works using the customer-centricity model. Any effect within the business supply chain will have some impact on customer satisfaction. The relevance of customer satisfaction with poor scheduling may be unclear but very much real. Event organizers are often expected to provide a hospitable environment for the guests. Employees are central in creating such an atmosphere. An issue such as too few employees may result in poor services, causing decreased customer satisfaction. These events are often unexpected to many event managers yet are planned to remove the possibility of a bad review. Nevertheless, without the right scheduling strategy, it usually takes a small obstruction to create chaos that could only be dealt with by having a backup at all times.
Decreased customer satisfaction is more imminent in the security industry, where security guards play the role of protecting a site. The absence of any security guard might backfire against the security company through safety complaints by the people inside the site or any thefts or other crimes that occur. Lawsuits would arise as a result.
So, how do you cope with an irregular schedule and an unpredictable hourly workforce?
How to Handle Last-Minute Scheduling Changes
Last-minute no-shows or calling in sick is typically problematic for any employer. Here are some ways one could handle any such last-minute scheduling changes. Employers and managers, this section is for you!
Use a centralized employee schedule.
The word ‘Centralized’ is key here. Have you ever by-mistake made any double-bookings or created overlapping events? When multiple managers are working on scheduling, such events tend to happen. Scheduling employees’ time requires confirmation from the employer as well as the employees. Without knowing who is working, when they’re working and where they’re working, any employer will lose track of options available to make any last-minute scheduling changes. Moreover, with employees unable to confirm shifts, employers are responsible for knowing who can work the backup shift and who cannot.
The role of a centralized employee schedule would be to provide the ability to make schedules that do not have any overlaps and communicate any last-minute scheduling changes with the other employees to get approvals or confirmations. However, the employer must bear in mind that the system requires active engagement from the employees; otherwise, the system will not have its intended effect. Active engagement would mean employers and employees updating schedules constantly, whether in the form of an email or through the Celayix Mobile app.
Create a standby pool
The most common solution to handle last-minute scheduling changes is by creating a standby pool. Acting as a backup, a standby pool would contain some of your most flexible employees that could substitute in to plug any gaps at work. A standby pool might consider workers of all types: part-time, full-time or even contingent workers. While this might lead to paying overtime costs at a premium, a standby pool could be used to recover any revenue that could have been lost without their presence.
Celayix’s find replacement feature that you may be aware of does exactly that except that rather than selecting out of the standby pool of workers, this feature automatically finds the most optimal employee to replace for any last-minute changes given the restrictions such as availability and qualification. Moreover, with the help of the Celayix Mobile App, rather than getting in contact with each employee from the standby pool to see who is available, the Mobile App automatically notifies the employees about the availability of this open shift. It assigns them whenever an employee accepts the shift.
Let employees input their availability.
Well, rather than trying to seek solutions, why not eradicate the problem itself? It’s more likely that employees show up for work rather than calling in sick if they choose their shift. Flexibility within employees isn’t always possible and giving the employees the freedom to decide their available timings offers employers the chance of creating a schedule that fulfils employees’ requirements. If the employee does not still show up for work, you would always have an idea of other employees available during that time and can replace the shift. Overall, there’s an excellent likelihood that last-minute scheduling changes occur less often when employees work at their discretion.
Like mentioned before, with Celayix’s Find replacement feature, providing automated notifications help fasten the selecting process for an available employee. By sending notifications about shift openings to qualified employees instantly, employers can take a sigh of relief knowing that they shouldn’t have to suffer if an employee does not show up for their shift.
Any scheduling software should be able to incorporate all available data regarding employees and use its intelligence to provide the fastest solutions to any last-minute changes and communicate it to the rest of the employees.
Celayix’s Find Replacement Feature
The ‘Find Replacement‘ feature makes last-minute no-shows, sick calls, and other last-minute changes easy to deal with. This tool has saved managers time, money, and lots of headaches over the years. By using Celayix, you have an easily searchable roster of available, qualified employees at your fingertips. As an added benefit, Celayix uses both our Rules-Based engine and our Artificial Intelligence to power this feature. This works because a scheduler will be able to hit the find replacement button and be given a number of available staff members who meet all business rules, are not scheduled already and meet requirements such as no overtime.
This provides managers with a list of the best fit and most cost-effective staff members, cutting down drastically the search for any replacement and making it a matter of minutes. That is where the true advantages of Celayix Find Replacement lie; not only does it remove the pain of searching for the employee, it finds the best possible replacement. The speed at which Find Replacement also means that last-minute schedule changes are easy to manage.
You can finally give your heart some rest from this unnecessary panic through all these tips mentioned above. An employer’s job is as tricky as an employee’s, and such last-minute events are bound to happen. By taking help from an employee scheduling software, you could save so much time and money.