The holidays are hectic and stressful for many industries, such as hospitality and retail. While witnessing a thriving business brings joy to every owner, they equally despise grappling with the challenges that frequently emerge during this time of the year! Generally, these are employee scheduling problems!
Employee scheduling is a rugged, complex business function, even at the calmest of times. Throw in a global pandemic and the holiday season, and you have a recipe for disaster! Some find life challenging when there’s a staff shortage, while others feel stressed trying to manage a busier schedule. However, like with most things in business, planning can help lighten the load. With Celayix, your retail, hospitality, or tourism industry can be revolutionized.
Scheduling problems to expect during the holidays
4 common scheduling problems arise during the holiday season:
Scheduling Problem 1: Understaffed & Overwhelmed
Regarding hospitality and retail, it is prevalent for businesses to hire temporary workers to meet the increased demand. While this may sound easy, we can assure you that it is not. In light of the labor shortage caused by the pandemic, businesses will likely grapple with scheduling challenges this holiday season. In recent years, there has been a change in the demands of holiday workers.
According to a study by the International Labour Organization, flexible working hours and increased pay are two of the most important! As an employer, if you cannot offer either of these benefits to seasonal workers, you will struggle to hire. This will ultimately result in your current workforce being overwhelmed, which can lead to absenteeism and possibly turnover.
Scheduling Problem 2: Hiring the wrong employees
In some ways, this is related to the point above. Generally, when employers struggle to hire, they resort to hiring employees who may not be the right fit. While this is far from ideal at any time of the year, it is particularly damaging during the holidays.
During a busy season, the ideal new employee will hit the ground running, take initiative, and show up when it matters. Hiring the wrong person can create more work for existing employees and even affect employee morale.
Scheduling Problem 3: Holiday overtime
Whether or not you’ve hired the correct number of employees, overtime is common during the holidays as demand increases. Overtime is a common employee scheduling problem; without the right resources, it can become costly. Not only that but consistently resorting to overtime will likely contribute to burnout and absenteeism amongst your employees, which is far from ideal at this time of year.
Scheduling Problem 4: Complaints of bias from employees
Anyone who has ever worked in retail or hospitality during the festive season knows that there are certain days/shifts that you don’t want to work. For some, it’s the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday), or perhaps it’s Christmas Eve? Either way, this can be difficult to manage as a scheduler or manager. Regardless of who you schedule for, there will be complaints of bias or unfairness from your staff. Scheduling problems like this is challenging to avoid without the right tools to do the job!
How to avoid these scheduling problems during the holidays!
Employee scheduling during the holidays doesn’t need to be a considerable burden. You can do the job problem-free with the right tools, resources, and planning! Let’s look at avoiding common scheduling problems this festive season.
Some managers/schedulers only think about the festive season once Thanksgiving rolls around. Everything from recruitment to scheduling should be thoroughly thought out before the holidays. Determine how many temporary workers you need, and start advertising these positions early. You have time to search for suitable candidates by advertising and interviewing earlier.
With that, remember to include adequate time for training new staff if necessary, and hire them in plenty of time to allow for this. It also helps to build out holiday schedules, even without assigning employees, to get a scope of what the holiday schedules will look like.
Employee scheduling software
On top of planning ahead, having the right tools and resources to help with scheduling over the holidays is key. The right employee scheduling software will reduce the risk of all the scheduling problems above. Here at Celayix, we have the following features that can help you over the holidays;
Labor forecasting is a scheduler’s dream. It allows you to create ratios based on employees to guests, making it perfect for hospitality and restaurant schedulers. It helps you create a schedule with the perfect amount of shifts to optimize your workforce.
This can save you both time and money while creating your holiday schedules! Create schedules faster, and only schedule the stuff you need. This will avoid the scheduling problem we discussed above of being understaffed and overwhelmed.
As we mentioned above, the demands of temporary workers are changing. Offering flexible scheduling allows schedulers to attract the top talent for the festive season. Celayix offers both self-scheduling and shift bidding, so schedulers can decide how much control they have.
Self-scheduling allows employees to claim open shifts on a first-come, first-served basis. Shift bidding, however, will enable employees to express interest in claiming an open shift. Once all bids have been submitted, the scheduler has the final say on who the shift is assigned to. Flexible scheduling can help you attract new, top talent, improve employee morale, and reduce the likelihood of no-shows.
Speaking on no-shows, they are a common scheduling problem that crops up during the festive season. It’s cold and flu season, and your employees are dealing with the public, so it’s not impossible to imagine them calling in sick. Some very organized schedulers may have created an on-call group of employees for every shift, but this can be time-consuming and difficult to manage.
Celayix offers a find replacement tool to find and suggest an available and qualified replacement for your no-shows in minutes. This reduces the stress of having to call around many employees before possibly finding a replacement employee.
As mentioned above, avoiding the common scheduling problem of holiday overtime can be difficult. Luckily, Celayix has a rules-based engine that can help eliminate avoidable overtime! More often than not, overtime is a result of poor resource management. Without the right tools or knowledge, schedulers fail to see changes they can make that might eliminate overtime from the schedule.
With the rules-based engine, schedulers can fill open shifts with employees who will not break overtime or any other business rules they have created.
None of these features have addressed the scheduling problem of complaints of bias from staff. Thankfully, though, Celayix has even thought of that! Celayix offers artificial intelligence to aid schedulers in the creation of their schedules.
Celayix AI can fill shifts based on your scheduling history and the best fit for the shift based on many factors. It can also offer further suggestions to improve your schedule once it has been created. However you choose AI to aid your scheduling, it is a great tool to avoid scheduling bias. This can be explained to employees to reassure them that all shifts are assigned reasonably!
Video: Using Celayix AI as a Scheduling Tool
The best part about the Celayix platform is that you can use one, some, or all of the above features in the same schedule. Celayix offers complete flexibility and functionality to the scheduler to achieve the best employee schedule this festive season. If you’d like to avoid these common scheduling problems this festive season, or you’re planning early for next year, reach out to a solutions advisor today!