Self-Service Scheduling for a Better, Happier Staff
Author: Chris Peckover
Running a business is difficult. One of the many challenging things about running a business is making sure your employees show up to work at the right time, and that you’ve scheduled them at a time that they are available. Having people call off or not show up is annoying, and it can be stressful finding last minute replacements.
As you probably know, scheduling your employees can be difficult, and keeping track of who can work when and for how long can be a time consuming process. Some business owners and managers spend several hours per week just trying to sort out who can cover their shifts. For industries with large volumes of employees, with large number of shifts to fill, the scheduling process can go from being problematic, to a nightmare. How can a person be expected to remember that Jennifer can’t work Tuesday mornings because she has to take her kids to school? Or that Ramon can’t work the Friday night shift because he is taking night classes? While this may seem like a burdensome and impossible task to manage, there is a solution. Why not just post the open shifts you and then tell your employee to pick whichever shifts they can work? That sounds easier doesn’t it? Who would know their schedule for the upcoming week better than the employees themselves? With Celayix’s self-scheduling solutions, this is one of the many features we offer that can assist you with turning the task of scheduling from a burden, to a breeze.
Here is how it works. First, all you need to do, as a scheduler, is figure out what blocks of time you know your customers need you to have people working. You make the schedule, but all you define is the location of the shift, and the start and end time. Now, the question is who is going to work these shifts? All you need to do is post the shifts. Using Celayix’s eTime Xpress application, you can define and post your required schedule. Then, your employees can login using Celayix’s user friendly Team Xpress app on their mobile devices or computer. From there, they can choose to see what shifts are available and at what times. They can then pick up shifts by simply clicking on them and clicking the submit button. Your employees get automatically assigned to the shifts and they have now self-scheduled themselves and the hardest part of the scheduling is done for you! Another nice thing about this feature is that it can be configured so that the shifts are made available to a certain “group” of employees with priority. An example of this would be you have a group of what you would consider your “best” employees and you want them to have first chance at picking their shifts. This can be accomplished using Celayix’s rule based scheduling software. This gives you control and can prevent someone with less seniority from selecting all the shifts that your more senior employees should be getting. Another thing with the self-scheduling feature is that this will account for things like Qualifications or Restrictions. Maybe you need someone that is First Aid certified to work this shift? That particular shift would only show up to people who actually have that particular qualification. Maybe you know that Johnny is not a good fit for working the coat check shift at a particular customer. You can set up a restriction that prevents him from seeing that particular shift.
With Celayix’s eTime Xpress application you able to check the schedule and watch how it fills up. There is a feature that allows for you to search for the remaining “open” shifts. These will typically be the ones that are least desired by your employees; maybe they are at a location that isn’t as desirable at a time slot where everyone would prefer to be out at the beach. If the employees don’t fill up all of the shifts themselves, then of course it will still be your duty to schedule them. By this time though, the majority of, if not all of the shifts, will have been filled. Instead of spending hours trying to figure out who can work when, now all you have to do is fill in whatever is left over. In most cases, all the shifts are filled and you can move on to other tasks! In the cases where you do need to fill in the left overs, Celayix has an “Availability” solution which allows you to search for the best employee to fit the shift, based on their experience, qualifications, and verifying that no overtime is incurred. This feature can also be used by the employees so they can submit what days they are available to work.
What about competition you may ask? What if two or more people want to take that same Tuesday afternoon shift? How do we determine who selected it first? Celayix’s scheduling software has an advanced algorithm that tracks what time the request is made from the time the person clicks the button on the mouse to the time the request was received by our servers. This is tracked down to the microsecond, so if two people claim to choose a shift at the same time, this data is tracked in eTime Xpress. This is available for the scheduler to access so they can show the employees that yes, in fact you were just .001 seconds slower in submitting your request, which is why you did not get the shift.
What is the end result? Well for one, you save time having to manage the difficult task of assigning a particular employee to each shift. This should make your life easier and make you happy. On the other side, the employees get the freedom to choose their own schedule. They don’t want to work this Thursday? That’s fine, then don’t pick any shifts on that day. Chances are another employee would be glad to pick them up instead. It saves you time as a scheduler and gives the employees control over what shifts they get to work. Another benefit is that if the employee chooses the shift, they know when they work, and there is a much greater chance they will show up, given that they chose to work it. This reduces the amount of call offs you may get and reduces the amount of headaches you get from having to find someone to work a last minute shift. All of these factors should lead to a happier workforce, and should make your life as a scheduler less stressful.