What is self-scheduling?

smartphone and tablet with scheduling applications displayed on them

In Self-Scheduling, staff members are able to select shifts that match their qualifications and follow business rules such as overtime, hours threshold, and more. This enables staff to find an ideal work-life balance while employers have their shifts easily filled, saving time for everyone involved.


Self-scheduling refers to a method of scheduling employees through the participation of employees. There are many ways to automate scheduling, whether that be by shift bidding, or using AI to auto-fill shifts. Self-scheduling takes the burden off the schedulers to find and fill employees for all of their company’s shifts. Is self-scheduling something your company should invest into? Find out by reading the blog below!

How Does Self-Scheduling Work?

Self scheduling starts from the schedulers of the company. The schedulers will proceed to make the shifts they would like employees to work. In addition, they can also set the qualifications needed for specific shifts. In Celayix’s Schedule Xpress, schedulers can create a preferential group of people they would like to receive the notification for the new shifts first. After the layout of the shifts are complete, the scheduler will confirm the shifts and send out of notification to all the employees.

As a result, the notification will indicate to employees that shifts are open. Employees will then launch the Team Xpress app and will then be able to choose a shift of their choice. Shifts will be available on a first come first serve basis. After the employee has chosen their shifts, both parties will receive a confirmation message.

The scheduler will then receive a message saying that this specific employee is now scheduled for this shift. The employee will also get a confirmation message listing the newly signed up shifts. Finally, all the empty shifts will be filled, all according to your employee’s choice.

Benefits of Self-Scheduling

Employee Retention and Happiness

With self scheduling, employees can take control of their life. While choosing shifts, employees can factor in their preferences and needs. As stated in a previous blog, having choice and a healthy work-life balance can lead to increased employee happiness and retention. Many employees, once they have had the chance to choose their own schedule, find it hard to give up. With a greater amount of freedom, employees may enjoy their job more and will be more emotionally invested into your company.

Reduced No Shows

When employees create their own schedules, they are more likely to show for the shift. Having the freedom to choose what shifts employees would like to work can reduce the amount of no shows in your workforce. With employees using the self-scheduling feature, there is a less likely chance that the employee will no show from a job due to scheduling mistakes or sick days.

Save Time Scheduling

With employees scheduling themselves, schedulers do not have to spend as much time combing through all the different employees. They also do not have to constantly look for qualified employees for specific shifts. Most of the work is done by the employees and the scheduler only needs to confirm whether he or she likes the people who are working specific shifts once all the employees have signed up.

Disadvantages of Self-Scheduling

A Sense of Entitlement

One thing to be careful about with self-scheduling is when certain employees try to game the system. In a study done by the MIT Sloan School of Management, it was found that in their experiment with self-scheduling and nurses, a small minority of nurses tried to game the system. A couple of nurses tried to circumvent the sign-up rules and obtain all the best shifts for themselves. The study found that some nurses could not keep the best interests for themselves and the unit in check. An imbalance in either one of these can result in unfair schedules and improper care.

MIT stated that employees must keep a dual agenda, and to keep themselves and the need of the unit constantly in mind. Because a few select nurses chose to put themselves in front of the needs of the unit, they caused the self-scheduling system to fall apart. As a result, nurses started to see self-scheduling as an entitlement, and not necessarily as a function to increase both employee and patient satisfaction. In the end, the researchers cancelled the self-scheduling experiment and the hospital went back to its old ways of scheduling.

Things to Note When Implementing Self-Scheduling

A research paper from Russell et al has some interesting insights into how to implement self-scheduling into your workplace. Here’s two ways to increase the chance of self-scheduling succeeding in your company:

Keep Your Staff Included!

When you are beginning to develop your self-scheduling plan, get everyone involved. Having your staff be knowledgeable of how the system works and getting their feedback is very crucial. By being through the initial process, your staff can be educated on the intricacies of the scheduling process and budget constraints. Employees who know the system being implemented are more likely to optimize the system and participate in it. Having a proper structure for feedback and ways to improve will make the implementation much smoother.

Maintain A Positive Attitude

Change can be terrifying. With new changes to a time-tested method, many people will be skeptical of the new change. To mitigate the skepticism of the employees, staff in positions to lead junior members have to support self-scheduling. Furthermore, it is crucial to the success of the implementation of self-scheduling that the staff support this scheduling method in a positive manner. By supporting self-scheduling, the unified adoption of self-scheduling throughout your company will become more seamless and more well received.

Conclusions about Self-Scheduling

Self-scheduling is scheduling method you may have not consider yet for your company. However, it has many benefits such as an increased amount of employee freedom with their work schedule and the ability for employees to have a fantastic work-life balance. Additionally, it can be the make or break factor in retaining employees and be a key factor in the happiness of employees. If you would like to know about how Celayix can help you and your business with self-scheduling, feel free to contact us at our toll-free number or email us today!