Streamlining Shift Assignment

Employee Scheduling Software

In today’s business world, the scheduler has many challenges while planning out schedules and shift assignment. In particular, they must ensure that both the business’ and employees’ needs are met. In situations where there are more available and qualified employees than shifts, or some shifts are preferred over others (e.g. services that need less effort, or locations that offer better tips), or shifts that aren’t as preferred (graveyard shifts or long travel times), questions of fairness and transparency often come up – “How come he (or she) is getting the best shifts all the time?” or “How come I get the worst pick every week?”

How to Manage Shift Policies

The best way to prevent these questions and disgruntled employees is to have a clear and easily accessible policy on how shifts are assigned to employees. The policy can cover many things, but a few things to consider are:

1) Employee availability

Many companies typically follow the policy that employees are always available for the operational times unless the employee communicates in advance they are not available for certain dates and times through time-off requests.

On the other hand, there are companies especially those that use many temporary, part-time or on-call staff, that require employees to communicate their availability and preferences ahead of time, otherwise they are deemed unavailable. This allows the scheduler to assign shifts appropriately in advance without having to inquire from each and every employee.

Having the ability to communicate this information allows the employee to be more proactive and take an active part in getting work. Employee scheduling software can easily track and automate time-off requests and availability information for the employee and the scheduler, saving time, effort and questions all around.

2) Qualifications or certifications

Many job types require that the employee be qualified to perform the work they are assigned – whether it is licensing, certification or company training. Employee scheduling software can record these qualifications & expiry dates and automatically warn employees and schedulers of renewals.

3) Seniority lists

At many companies, especially those with a unionized workforce, senior employees (either through rank or number of years served) have first dibs on available shifts.

Transparency would require that this list of employees and ranking be publicly accessible for all.

4) Rotation lists

Another form of shift assignment is to have A/B/C lists (e.g. senior, intermediate and temporary part-time) where all staff in one list have the same seniority. In this case, shifts are assigned by rotation, working through each list in order. The rotations are tracked so that in the next round of assignments, shifts can be assigned starting from the next employee.

Once again, transparency would require that these assignments be made available to all employees, after every round. If this sounds like too much overhead and record keeping, that’s because it is. Celayix’s Autofill by Rotation feature supports this mechanism by keeping track of all rotations and generating reports to be shared with employees.

However, all best-laid plans can go wrong; emergencies and no-shows will happen. No work assignment policy will be complete if it does not outline how exceptions will be handled. Here are some of the ways to address unscheduled absences.

Interested and want to learn more? Contact the Celayix team and we’ll be happy to help you!