6 Tips for Smooth Scheduling When Your Employees Have Different Availability

All of your employees have a life outside of work. Whether they’re judging families, school, or a part-time job, it can be difficult for them to plan 2 weeks in advance before the next official schedule. While it’s true employees did sign up to work for you, it’s still essential for businesses to avoid unpredictable scheduling that can harm their workers by utilizing these techniques.

How to Find Scheduling Abuse in the Company

Scheduling abuse can come from the employee or whoever schedules shifts week by week. If employee scheduling abuse is the issue, it will show up in one or more of the following ways.

  • Consistently calling in sick Friday, Monday, or on weekends
  • Leaving early multiple times a week.
  • Switching shifts with other employees for any reason.
  • Avoiding shifts that may pose difficulty for an employee.
  • No-showing consistently or asking for last-minute changes to the schedule.

Calling in sick often is a scheduling issue, but if your employee calls in sick and can’t find a replacement themselves, that falls on you as an employer. Don’t blame your employees for tasks that should be delegated to managers, or consistent absences will occur if you do the following.

  • On-call scheduling for employees that aren’t specifically delegated to on-call.
  • Canceling any shift last minute or updating a shift days before.
  • Keeping employees on a shift past their scheduled time.

6 Best Scheduling Practices for All Businesses

1. Evaluating and Choosing Employee Scheduling Software

It can be challenging to plan ahead when multiple employees have different availability, but employee scheduling software can make this process easier. In the past, employers would have to call individual employees while creating a schedule. Now, this time-intensive process is simplified with the use of drag and drop schedules, punch limiting, notifications for shifts, and more. Employees can state in advance when they wish to work.

2. Hire On-Call Employees for On-Call Work Only

Most of your employees need a steady paycheck, so the concept of on-call work won’t be attractive to them. If you put regular employees on on-call shifts, you not only ruin their day by keeping them on your leash, but you also prevent them from working elsewhere. Hire on-call staff that only receive payment when they work to avoid massive employee dissatisfaction.

3. Speak to Your Employees Before Scheduling

Even with employee scheduling software, you’ll still need to understand your employees’ life outside of work. For example, students can’t work in the morning or afternoon, while moms may only be able to work in the mornings. Scheduling compassionately will ensure the shifts won’t be missed and will stop the dread of your employees constantly asking for a switch.

4. Publish Schedules Early

A 7 to 14 days advance should be mandatory for any business, as predictive scheduling laws actually require you to plan ahead. Although situations can evolve where an employee can’t make a shift, most of your team will know if something must be changed within the week. Scheduling online with a calendar can also remove the busy work of printing or emailing.

5. Give Extra Shifts to Those That Want Them

Without even knowing it, an employee can quickly become upset and question their own worth in your company if you pass them up for others when they ask for more shifts. If you don’t want them working more on a specific day, tell them why; otherwise, schedule them more. There will always be someone under your employment that wants to work. If not, find them!

6. Be Honest With Why Shifts are Scheduled

Too many employers feel the need to hide things from their employees when all that creates is resentment towards you and the rest of your staff. If an employee asks you why they are needed on a morning shift when the store is dead, tell them exactly why. For example, maybe you need extra hands in case a rush happens. As a rule, don’t expect or guilt your employees into taking extra hours when you know they can’t, as that can cause further scheduling conflicts.

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