Scheduling Strategies for a Happier Team

by | Communication, Leadership

Creating a staff schedule that ensures the work you need done is covered and your employees are all happy can sometimes feel like an impossible task. Most any manager in the service industry will tell you that scheduling is one of the biggest challenges of the job. These days, there are many technology-based tools that make scheduling easier, but that increased efficiency doesn’t always translate to a happier staff.  These staff scheduling strategies can help:

Communicate Clearly

If you expect your staff members to show up when you’re counting on them, you need to make sure they fully understand their schedule. Many companies are going away from posting the schedule on the bulletin board, and instead are using tech tools to communicate the schedule. These tools are helpful, but managers should also communicate with employees directly. For your Spanish-speaking employees, this can be particularly challenging, which makes language training a must.

Give Ample Notice

Get schedules to your staff members at least two weeks in advance. This gives employees the time they need to line up personal matters that help them get to work, such as transportation and daycare. This also allows for enough time for staff members to trade shifts to cover any scheduling conflicts.

Be Flexible

Your staff has a life outside of work, and the easier you can make it for them to juggle their personal and work lives, the better off you’ll be. Do your best to accommodate special scheduling requests, and when you’re unable to, be honest with your employees as to why. You’ll inspire loyalty among staff members when you make a genuine effort to help them balance work with other parts of their lives.

Have a Backup Plan

Speaking of balance, as a manager you’re likely all too familiar with trying to land perfectly in the middle between over-staffed and under-staffed on any giving shift. You don’t want your workers to get in the weeds because they don’t have enough support, and you also don’t want to have to send people home early when you have too many people on a shift. Cross-training on a variety of positions can be invaluable and can also provide opportunities for staff members who want to move up. Also consider providing small incentives to staffers who are willing to be on call for your busiest shifts.

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