There are many tips and tricks that managers have to make their employee scheduling tasks easier and faster. From different ways to organize availability to how shifts overlap, everyone has their own “life hacks” that help streamline the process. However, there is a huge tip that will not only make your scheduling easier but all aspects of your management better - communication. When you infuse better communication practices into your scheduling habits, you will see an improvement in your staff scheduling creation and a reduction in your turnover rate.
Easy and Open Availability Communications
Start making your employee scheduling easier at the root with the availability. Before you even ask for availability, you should create a culture of open communication about needs for each shift. Give your employees an idea of minimum staffing changes for each day depending on holidays or promotions the restaurant is offering. Then listen to their needs and encourage employees to come to you with questions and requests about their hours or staffing.
At that point, the process for employees to submit their availability should be simple for them to provide. Employees should feel comfortable knowing that, once their availability has been submitted, they won’t see weird shifts or hours on their schedule based on their needs. Likewise, they should expect to not have to resubmit or reshuffle their availability requests every month. Creating a comfortable environment for availability submissions with that open door communication policy will not only allow you to create more accurate scheduling, but also encourage employees to be more flexible and committed to the schedule.
Listen to Employee Concerns
The most important component of communication is listening. This is true when it comes to scheduling employee's as well. Part of creating that open door of communication is listening when employees have concerns.
If employees have scheduling change requests, it is important to listen to their concerns and work with them to come up with a solution. This doesn’t mean taking hours out of your week to rearrange and customize schedules after releasing them. Listening and respecting will empower employees to resolve much of their scheduling concerns by working directly with their coworkers to solve their needs.
There could be other concerns employees have that will affect your scheduling changes and workload as well. Employees may raise concerns about working with certain coworkers on different shifts, having too many hours or not enough, always being placed on slow lunch shifts, etc. Even if the apparent solve is not scheduling related, the insight employees provide by talking out problems with management can help you fine-tune your scheduling to reduce the number of times you have to go back in and change shifts.
Go Paperless to Streamline Employee Scheduling
Are you still doing any of the following:
- Having employees submit their availability on a paper calendar?
- Requiring employees to call, text, email, and/or speak in person with coworkers and management to make scheduling changes?
- Using Excel sheets or other Microsoft Office programs to complete and maintain scheduling changes?
- Sending emails to all employees to update them on scheduling changes which may or may not affect them?
If so, and we are going to be a bit blunt here, your communication around employee scheduling is outdated and inefficient. Having a variety of avenues for employees to communicate about the scheduling and trying to manually maintain updates to the schedule by yourself means changes get lost in the shuffle and everyone (especially managers) are spending more time than necessary to get schedules right.
The most efficient way for all employees to communicate about scheduling is by going paperless and streamlining all scheduling-related communications into a single platform. This would allow employees to work out trade time and update schedules without involving managers until final approval is needed. Employees whose shifts are changing would receive an automatic notification to make it easy to communicate changes to those who need to know. Employees could submit availability virtually and managers could update seamlessly without spending hours fitting the pieces of the scheduling puzzle together.
Sounds great, right? You should check out how ShiftNote’s employee scheduling software can help improve your shift-to-shift communication all around and reduce the amount of time management has to spend creating schedules. Start your research and see how technology can help your management by exploring