Around the world, there are business owners and managers at this very moment who would rather be doing something else.
Anything, that is, other than spending hours building a schedule for their employees. Sorting through hastily written vacation requests and trying to remember whose kid needs to be picked up from daycare on Tuesday while ensuring you have a manager scheduled is like playing Tetris on expert mode.
However, it’s not just the misery of coordinating schedules and the anxiety of scheduling conflicts. It’s that employee scheduling is fundamentally flawed as most businesses currently handle it.
Scheduling is more than just assigning time slots to employees. After speaking with over 150 business owners about scheduling, we believe it’s necessary to rethink the practice altogether.
The secret? Breaking schedules into shifts so you can choose the best combination of employees on each shift.
The best combination means employees work well together, fulfill the responsibilities of each shift and, importantly, offer great ROI. Your employees shouldn’t be scheduled merely on availability. Availability is just one element to consider among many others. Why not take into account all the factors that go into creating a good shift?
Imagine building a shift for your best cooks and servers for your busiest nights, ensuring you have the customer experience you want to foster.
Imagine a shift where the combination of employees’ unique skills helps your business and customers.
Imagine shifts created with your employees’ happiness and contentment in mind, reducing turnover.
By creating shifts you can determine who is needed and when, based on real business data. You can make informed decisions within a logical framework as to who is working that day/night.
Scheduling is more than availability. It’s about smart shifts.
Preparing for the future of work
With the gig economy becoming more of an ever-present reality and technology changing the way we work and live, the traditional model of a 9-5 work week with one employer will be flipped upside down.
Even the restaurant and retail industries, which don’t adhere to a 9-5 work week, will be competing for employees who will be working multiple jobs, gigs (like Uber or Postmates) and will have even more complex schedules than before.
Millenials will replace Baby Boomers in the job market as they retire. As Millenials look for flexible work that allows them to live life on their own terms, savvy businesses will recognize that the battle for labor will involve appealing to the flexibility and work/life balance of those making up the job market.
In short: businesses will compete for in-demand employees who are finding strategies to optimize their own earnings. It may not be the George-Jetson-flying-into-work-in-a-spaceship-that-folds-into-his-briefcase future that we expected, but it does mean that the relationship between employee and employer is about to change even more. These trends are going to mean a new direction for businesses and employees.
It sounds scary. It sounds chaotic. But the reality is that this shift in work will create opportunities for businesses to be more flexible, data-driven and profitable. When the internet changed the way businesses operate, those who didn’t get with the times were left behind, while those who saw the light experienced unimaginable growth. Embracing the future isn’t a threat, it’s an opportunity.
Unleashing the potential of business.
Imagine your dream employee.
They’re capable, promising, profitable— and working somewhere else.
With a working future based around shifts, that employee who has been working 45 hours at one business now has the flexibility to work for you, too. Knowing that she is open on Tuesday afternoons and Wednesday mornings while she studies for an MBA means an employee you might not have otherwise been able to hire is now available.
This tendency towards shifts opens up another opportunity. A fashion boutique may not need a visual merchandiser on staff every week. A caterer may only work Fridays and Saturdays with their crew. However, knowing that these employees are working shifts at other businesses, you can schedule them and build flexibility into your business. When you have access to specialists or temporary staff and can schedule by shift, you create a healthy working partnership.
As businesses big and small utilize data and analytics to cut costs and maximize profit, they’ll look to labor costs— one of the biggest expenses a business has. Business optimization based on employees’ skills will become increasingly important. Reducing costs associated with employee turnover will be a core focus for organizations.
By scheduling employees in shifts, they have a sense of stability and can plan around a well-defined schedule. This stability and respect helps retain employees. Shifts based on the personalities, relationships and preferences of your employees make for happy teams that stick around.
Another business bonus
The average business owner or manager spends 20 hours each month building schedules. Part of this reason is that they’re using inefficient technology or methods (like Excel or pencil and paper), but another factor is that it’s difficult and time-consuming to schedule around employee availability.
Scheduling by shifts saves untold hours each year because it’s a straightforward and logical way of planning. When you know you need two cooks and a server or a florist and a delivery driver for each shift, you can reframe your scheduling to serve the business and not just availability.
What comes next?
Traditional scheduling tools simply aren’t built to schedule by shift— and doing this by pencil and paper definitely isn’t going to streamline your life.
WorkAxle was built to solve the scheduling issues of business owners and managers. It’s crafted for the future of work, a tool that allows employers and employees to collaborate and plan effectively as work and employment transforms.
With WorkAxle, you schedule employees by shift. When choosing employees, requests for days off, roles, skills and scheduling conflicts prevent you being shown employees who shouldn’t be scheduled.
From there, use data and your own intuition to plan shifts. Choose the best opening manager and the best closing shift leader. Think about your busiest days, the most likely times for rushes and holiday sales. You’ll have the data to make these calls.
When we spoke to the 150 business owners and managers we consulted with as we built WorkAxle, not a single one of them listed scheduling as a favorite task. More than that, the primitive approach to scheduling doesn’t harness the potential for greatness in business and employees. It doesn’t speak to retention, efficiency or data-driven decisions that help businesses and employees alike.
As more businesses move towards scheduling by shifts, we’d love to show you how WorkAxle can help you streamline your life and business. Be sure to schedule a time to speak with one of our business experts today!