Perhaps the most frustrating thing about being a manager is keeping track of all the nuances of scheduling your employees (aside from the squeaky chair). Chances are that you have found it is impossible to make sure all of your employees are happy with their schedule. Sally was scheduled for the day she requested off for the dentist, but you haven’t reviewed that request yet (or she forgot to put it in there but is blaming you for losing it), Mark wants to trade with Tom because he needs to pick his kids up from school, Steve is supposed to be on Vacation that week, but it never got marked correctly; the list of frustrations continues ad nauseam. Can you relate to this?
“Chances are that you have found it is impossible to make sure all of your employees are happy with their schedule.”
Let’s not forget about the headache of making sure you don’t schedule your part-time employees for more hours than they are supposed to have or making sure you have enough people to cover each shift. It gets even worse when you schedule someone for overtime when you could have covered that shift with someone at straight time. It’s annoying – I agree.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way where you could delegate some of that work to your employees? What if you could color code everything and instantly see if you had everyone scheduled for the right time, the correct number of hours, no overtime, and no one scheduled on a requested day off. You can! (This is the part where you take a deep sigh of relief).
There are many employee scheduling software apps out now that allow you to do just that. Not all of them are created equal – some of them seem like they are still holding on to the glory days of the “Windows ’95” interface but, some of them are so impressive it will give you goosebumps. I will give you the 4 key elements you want to make sure are in your employee scheduling software.
The 4 Key Elements the best employee scheduling software should have
1. Let your employees do some of the work.
Your employees can log on to the app from their computer, iPhone, or Android phone and access their schedule (no one can complain about not realizing they were supposed to work today). Once logged in, they can submit a request for a day off or input their availability and you can approve it from your computer, your iPad, or even your phone (you can finally set up your employee schedule at Starbucks Coffee while sipping your Carmel Macchiato). Once it is approved it will gray them out of the schedule for that day eliminating any risk of scheduling your employees on requested days off (this makes your employees very happy).
By the way, the screenshots I am using are from our app, When I Work, but you can use any employee scheduling software that has these functions. (And if you are really just getting started and don’t want to start with an app, you can check out this article for some free tools. http://wheniwork.com/blog/3-free-ways-to-schedule-your-employees/
What about trading shifts? That’s easy too. Mark can log in, submit a request to trade with Tom for Tuesday afternoon. Then you can approve it instantly without having to worry about any paperwork.
That was easy!
2. See who is scheduled quickly.
The schedule can be color coded by shift or by employee position so you can easily see who is scheduled, if every shift is covered appropriately, and that no overtime is being accrued. This saves you time and money – two things that I happen to believe are very important for business success and personal happiness.
3. Make sure everyone is on the same page.
A schedule is no good unless everyone has easy access to it. When you publish your employee schedule, it should send an email and a text message to everyone letting them know when they work. If the schedule changes those employees should be instantly notified – ideally through two ways (email and text message), that way there is no excuse for someone not knowing their schedule.
If an employee forgets when they work, they shouldn’t have to drive in to your store or restaurant, and they definitely should not rely on calling in to their friends to find out the schedule – that is just asking for no-shows and other staffing headaches. Your employees should be able to see their schedule from their Smart phones instantly, and if they are still rocking the old school Nokia flip-phone (I finally convinced my mom to upgrade just this year), they can send a simple text message and have their schedule automatically texted back to them, again eliminating communication issues and excuses.
4. It should be easy – like really easy.
We all have those employees, the ones who are afraid of technology and give up without even really trying to figure it out. While most of our employees probably have smart phones now, some of them are still stuck in 1990 and prefer Fax machines over email. This employee scheduling solution only works if everyone can easily use it. If you need something to schedule your employees make sure it is not bogged down with a bunch of “bloated” features that you don’t need or want – that just gets in the way of using it.
There are many online schedule maker solutions out there but, there is only one that I am personally aware of that actually has all 4 of the key elements needed to easily manage your employees schedules – that’s When I Work. All of the screenshots I used above are straight from the When I Work employee scheduling software. When I Work was built from the ground up to be the easiest and most intuitive employee scheduling platform.
Get in the app and see just how easy it is to get things set up – the app walks you through getting the basics entered. If you do get stuck, there are some incredible videos that you can watch to figure it out yourself. Sometimes though its just nice to ask someone – if you need a little help, don’t hesitate to contact our support team – their goal is not to just focus on customer support, but to actually focus on customer success. Our app is no good if it doesn’t make your life easier by helping you schedule your employees as easily and quickly as possible, so we make it a priority to get you set up and help you succeed.How Do I Make Scheduling Employees Easier? William Harris