What is Self Scheduling and its Benefits?

Self-scheduling is a method of scheduling a workforce through the participation of employees. Is self-scheduling right for your company?

There are many ways to schedule your staff, from traditional pen & paper, to more automated ways. One of these automated options is self-scheduling.

What is Self-Scheduling?

Self-scheduling is when schedulers allow employees to essentially choose their own shifts. The scheduler creates open shifts and the employees are then able to self-select into shifts they are eligible for and able to work. Self-scheduling takes the burden off the schedulers and gives employees much more autonomy while providing flexibility for everyone involved and ensuring shifts are only filled by qualified staff fitting business needs.

How Does Self-Scheduling Work?

When a scheduler or manager is creating a shift schedule, they can decide to leave all or some shifts “open” or unassigned (pictured below in yellow) and release them for self-scheduling. Employees can then view any open self-scheduling shifts they are qualified for. If they are available to work they can claim whatever shifts they would like, filling the open shift while making sure all business rules and qualifications are still followed. Unlike Shift-Bidding, Self-Scheduling is often managed on a first come-first served basis. Self-scheduling still takes into account all business rules, including overtime, making it the best of both worlds for schedulers.

Celayix interface displaying how self-scheduling works on a desktop view

With Celayix, once the employer has created all of the shifts that they need filled, they can send out a notification to their employees and invite them to claim them. With the Celayix platform, supervisors can even go as far as creating specific groups of employees that they would like to be notified about open shifts first, giving the option to further control the selection process with automation. Employees are notified through their mobile app, and can claim their chosen shifts with the touch of a button. After the employee has chosen their shifts, both the scheduler and the employee will receive a confirmation message.

Basically, self-scheduling does two things:

  1. Allows you to create schedules much faster
  2. Give employees more freedom to achieve a strong work-life balance.

Who can use Self-Scheduling?

Self-scheduling is already the norm in a lot of industries. It is becoming very popular in any type of shift work that works on variable or static schedules, such as the hospitality industry. Another example is healthcare. The healthcare industry is a prime example of how self-scheduling can be implemented, widely accepted, and benefit both managers and staff members. It helps reduce nurse turnover rates and costs operating as a tool for recruitment and retention. The best part of self-scheduling is that any industry where employees work varying shifts/days can incorporate self-scheduling into their process. Here are some examples of industries we have seen successful implement self-scheduling;

Celayix scheduling user interface for hospitality

Just about any industry with multiple shifts can benefit from introducing self-scheduling. Read on to learn more on the specific benefits.

Benefits of Self-Scheduling

Improved Employee Morale & Retention

Employees can take control of their life with self-scheduling, all while staying committed to their employer and ensuring shifts are filled. While choosing shifts, employees can factor in their preferences, needs and other requirements. In fact, according to QuickBooks, the number 1 challenge faced by shift workers in the US is having enough time for their hobbies, followed by finding time to see friends, exercise, eat well, and get a good night’s sleep. As stated in a previous blog, autonomy and a healthy work-life balance can lead to increased employee morale and retention.

With a greater amount of freedom over their work schedules, employees are likely to enjoy their job more. They will aslo be more emotionally invested in your company. It’s also worth noting that offering self-scheduling may aid you in attracting the best talent to your organization. Research from the International Workplace Group found that 80% of workers would choose a job that offers flexible scheduling over those that don’t. This makes self-scheduling a win-win from multiple aspects of the organization.

Increased Productivity

Following on from how self-scheduling can improve employee morale, it will also lead to increased productivity. The improved work-life balance that your employees will experience from self-scheduling will have a domino effect on other aspects of their work lives. Improving work-life balance has been proven to reduce stress, prevent burnout, improve mental health & well-being, and improve motivation. All of these factor into employee output. When the employee feels balanced, they will be much more productive and committed to their job.

Reduced Absenteeism

Absenteeism is a huge issue for organizations today. Typically, factors such as family reasons, depression, stress/burnout, and poor punctuality contribute to the problem of absenteeism. Offering flexible options such a self-scheduling decreases the likelihood of employees missing shifts, or even arriving late. When they select their own shifts, they’ve likely accounted for any reasons that would prevent them from turning up on time, or at all. Absenteeism impacts both productivity & profitability, so any steps that you can take to avoid or reduce it should be high priority.

Save Time Scheduling

By allowing employees to self-schedule, schedulers do not have to spend as much time combing through lists of employees and factoring in overtime, availability and qualifications. In general, introducing a shift scheduling platform like Celayix can reduce your scheduling time by 95%. We’ve helped companies reduce their scheduling time by 2 weeks! By spending less time and effort on creating and maintaining schedules, you free up time and effort that can be put into other areas of your business and improve your bottom line. Not only will you save time, but you save money on things like overtime and scheduling errors. If you want to know how much money you could save with Celayix, check out our amazing Cost-Benefit-Analyzer!

How to Implement Self-Scheduling

Introducing self-scheduling isn’t just as easy as flipping a switch and hoping for the best. It will look different for every organization, but there are some things that you should definitely consider before making the change.

Keep Your Staff Informed

It’s always worth consulting your employees before making any big scheduling changes that will affect them, even if it is for the better. Springing unexpected changes on them may create a negative association before they’ve learned about how those changes can benefit them. Once everyone has been informed and your staff are on board, the next step is to train them on the new process. Even though a quick memo can do this step, many organizations miss it making it difficult for employees to know how/what to do.

Why does this matter? Well, without proper training, and without employees having a solid understanding of the processes involved in self-scheduling, you may end up creating more work for yourself as a scheduler, which is the opposite impact. When employees don’t understand a new process, they tend not to engage with or make use of it.

To make sure the introduction of self-scheduling goes well for your organization we suggest organizations introduce the new scheduling process to the team, with clear objectives of how you want the process to work. Do you want your entire schedule to be self-scheduled? Will you allow employees to self-schedule their entire work week? These are all important considerations, and important for you to provide clarity on. Once employees understand the objective of self-scheduling, and the process itself, it’s also important to ensure that they are comfortable using the software by sending a quick memo, email or by sending one of our Get Started guides for employees. As straightforward as it may seem, it’s best to assume that everyone is learning from scratch. This will avoid issues further down the road.

The final step here is to welcome feedback from both your employees and schedulers on how the process is going. Giving your team an opportunity to have their voices heard, will further amplify the positive results that can be achieved with self-scheduling, and provide the smoothest experience possible for everyone involved.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Leading by example is the best way to introduce big changes into any organization. Encourage senior managers to embrace self-scheduling, and more importantly to encourage it. It’s also a great idea to openly talk about the benefits of self-scheduling for employees. This will make them feel more supported on their search for that work-life balance that everyone is in need of. By supporting self-scheduling, the unified adoption of it throughout your company should be seamless.

So, now you know what self-scheduling is and how it could benefit both you and your employees. The desire for work-life balance has been on the rise for the last 10 years and isn’t going anywhere. Employers that fail to adapt to the changing needs of their employees will inevitably fail to retain those employees, or attract new talent. So why wait? If you’d like to introduce self-scheduling into your business, we want to help. Get in touch with one of our solution advisors and let us help you improve your scheduling process.

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