The Genesee District Library (GDL) is a public library system serving the residents of Genesee County, Michigan. They have 19 locations across the county and provide both in-person and online library services. Over one million visits are made annually to the GDL for books, movies, music, technology, and programs.
Location: Flint, Michigan, USA
Size: 100+ employees
Across the country, libraries have lost funding due to lower tax revenues. Genesee District Library is no different. The 19-branch system in Genesee County, Michigan must continue to serve patrons with fewer resources.
The library system struggled with creating library staff scheduling manually each week while trying to balance union requirements, staffing needs, and staff preferences. Three different Excel spreadsheets were used to coordinate the library staff. Balancing those spreadsheets was a time-consuming task.
So simply scheduling full-time and part-time staff for work each week using an Excel spreadsheet was not sufficient and the library knew it needed a better way. Across more than 150 employees, the process became a puzzle that had to consider the needs for each branch, employee requests, vacation, sick time, and union requirements.
“It was just taking up too much time. We couldn’t get our work done”, explained Kelly Richards, Branch Operations Manager. “We were looking for something that could schedule our staff automatically based on certain criteria.” The manual approach also left room for error. If vacation wasn’t properly considered or one location was double-booked, the Genesee District Library risked the chance of a branch not opening on time.
In the search for a way to simplify library staff scheduling, Richards knew what he wanted: auto-fill capabilities. The library sought a solution that would merge employee desires and availability with branch needs to come up with optimal employee schedules automatically.
“Celayix was the only solution we could find with auto-fill capabilities”, Richards said. “Others said they could add it as a custom feature, however with Celayix, it was already a built-in feature.
For implementation, the Celayix team guided the library on conference calls and webinars. With the help of Celayix, the library established its business rules in the software, such as maximum hours employees can work, types of staff that must be at a branch, and ensuring that an employee with key privileges is always scheduled at a branch. Going forward, the library team makes such changes to business rules on its own.
Celayix then combines the library’s requirements with employee preferences. From any computer, employees log onto the self-service portal to enter their availability and time-off requests directly into the software.
To create a schedule, the scheduling manager uses a schedule template and starts the auto-fill process. The system auto-fills employees into shifts based on the business requirements and the best fit employee.
Fairer scheduling, with reduced error
Celayix’s rules-based engine helps the Genesee District Library and the employee scheduling process. For example, approximately 30 employees are not assigned to specific branches; instead, they are floating to various locations as needed. The library utilizes the auto-fill option to assign staff according to availability preference first. The staff realize though, preferences aren’t always a guarantee. The Genesee District library still has to make sure the library staff scheduled at a branch can open and close the branch.
“Preferred availability doesn’t guarantee library staff get what they want but it allows for employee input with the scheduling process”, said Andrea Smiley, scheduling coordinator.
With automated library staff scheduling, the Genesee District Library has made the process faster, fairer, and more resistant to errors. Before, it was possible to double-book a staff member at two locations, meaning one location was not covered when the shift started. Most importantly, the library saves much-needed time and resources every week in creating a post-able employee schedule.
Clear and accessible schedules
Staff now have the ability to look online at any time to see the current employee schedule and any changes immediately after they occur.
Celayix also gives managers and staff the ability to look at different views of employee schedules. On one, they can see library staffing for an entire branch for an entire week, so everyone knows who’s suppose to work when and where. Another shows just the library assistants. For the latter, if someone calls in sick, Andrea Smiley can quickly reallocate the floating library assistants.
Color coding on employee schedules gives managers in particular important insight. For example, Key Holders show up in a certain color. Also, those presenting programs at specific branches are highlighted in another color, indicating they cannot be moved from that location.
“Now, with the help of Celayix, posting an employee schedule only takes a couple of hours a week”, Richards said.