In any industry where the workforce is the largest resource, it’s essential to take all measures necessary for workforce management. For such industries, workforce scheduling forms the foundation for smooth day-to-day business operations. If your company relies on labor for continued production and revenue generation, it’s essential to understand the principles of workforce scheduling optimization.
Effective workforce scheduling and management have proven beneficial for revenue generation, profit, and employee satisfaction and well-being. The process requires managers to intensely scrutinize, plan, and optimize business strategies for workforce management.
This article aims at explaining the concept of workforce scheduling. We will look at the benefits and challenges of workforce planning and how software can help overcome these challenges.
What is workforce scheduling?
Workforce scheduling is the pragmatic shift scheduling of hourly workers and laborers according to the current demands of the workplace, keeping the future demand forecast into account. Effective workforce scheduling involves maintaining schedules that make the transition from one shift to another seamless and ensures no interruption in productivity. It is also essential to provide enough workers present in a shift such that work remains uninterrupted.
For optimal workforce scheduling, several factors need planning. For instance, if you’re scheduling for a retail business, you have to consider the hours during which the footfall is more. Every industry has its unique workforce scheduling requirements. That being said, some common factors, too, include employee skills, productivity, and availability.
With industries adopting a dynamic workforce culture that allows them to hire more hourly workers, the workload changes frequently. For human resources, this is a nightmare as they have to change employee schedules to handle such workload changes often. This makes automated scheduling processes necessary for every industry. Today, traditional spreadsheets or timesheets are not regarded as efficient tools for workforce scheduling because there is much more to employee scheduling than simple timesheets.
How does workforce scheduling benefit your business?
With workforce scheduling optimization, there are some valuable benefits for any company. Any business can optimize its operations, maximize resources, create a balanced and positive workplace environment, and enhance profit generation through a workforce scheduling system.
Here are some of the benefits of workforce scheduling.
1. Increases productivity
When workers are effectively managed, it ultimately maximizes productivity. Workforce scheduling is the best way to automate the manual processes involved in workforce management, such as manual time tracking, attendance management, and report generation. By adopting workforce scheduling software, companies can provide managers with enhanced scheduling capabilities, saving them time to invest in activities that directly increase productivity.
2. Cost control
Workforce scheduling optimization helps companies manage labor costs regarding operational efficiency and resource management. With proper scheduling, organizations eliminate the possibility of over or understaffing entirely. It is the best way to ensure that you have the correct number of workers on payroll to minimize labor costs.
3. Lowers worker turnover
Workers have some expectations from their workplace, and if a company fails to meet them, they feel frustrated and burnout. This eventually leads to higher turnover.
Workforce scheduling can help you keep employees engaged and motivated. It will prevent the outflow of workers from your company, and you will be able to attract the best talent available. With proper scheduling, companies can ensure that the workers are well-rested, engaged, and appreciated. If your workers feel that the workplace environment is incompetent and unfair, they will leave when they see an opportunity.
4. Reduce unnecessary overtime
Unmanaged over time can be a disaster for any company. As the labor laws dictate, pay for overtime hours is almost twice the regular wages. If you are not effectively managing overtime within your company, it can directly affect the bottom line. With workforce scheduling, you can precisely track a worker’s time on a particular job. Based on the data, required managerial actions can be taken to reduce unnecessary overtime. It also helps minimize compliance issues.
The challenges of workforce scheduling
If this is your first time implementing workforce scheduling, there are some challenges that you must be aware of. Scheduling presents various challenges for any organization, and managers must balance many variables for effective workforce scheduling optimization.
Let’s explore some of the biggest challenges.
1. Tracking workers
Irrespective of the industry, workforce scheduling requires accurate tracking of workers. You must be aware of the number of workers available, the labor needed for a given shift, the location of the project, compliance requirements, and much more. Additionally, you must know the available resources within the company that, includes the number of employees, their skills, their qualifications, overtime status, etc.
You can anticipate how overwhelming it will be to manage all these requirements manually in the absence of a workforce scheduling system.
2. Responding to changes
Another major hurdle in workforce scheduling is responding to changes on short notice. Such changes can arise for several reasons, such as absences, sudden rise in staff requirements, or employee turnover without warning. For instance, if a worker calls in sick, their manager has to find a replacement immediately, which can be tricky. If such changes are handled manually, it will be very stressful for the managers and result in inefficient scheduling affecting workers’ health and engagement.
How can scheduling software help?
Today, workforce scheduling technology has evolved to automate any operational process for workforce scheduling optimization. AI-powered employee scheduling solutions like Truein can handle large workforces and create optimally balanced shifts for workers. Such applications also empower employees to take control of their schedules as they are notified of their shifts or any changes in real time.
1. Easy time tracking
Workforce scheduling software can help you accurately track the number of work hours for workers. It puts you in a better position to make decisions regarding overtime and quickly identify situations that can result in understaffing or overstaffing. It also plays a critical role in complying with labor laws regarding overtime.
2. Shift management flexibility
With software such as Truein, workers have access to their schedules. It puts them in a better position to request shift change or leave in case the need arises – for example if they have to attend urgent family obligations. This flexibility lowers the chance of absenteeism and improves employee satisfaction as they can take care of emergencies without losing pay.
3. Customizable reports
The software eliminates the requirement for workforce managers to spend hours preparing shift schedules or reports on a spreadsheet. Automated and customizable reports save valuable HR hours and help calculate essential metrics such as absences per quarter, shift swaps by a particular employee, the pattern of increased workload, etc.
Truein for complete workforce scheduling
Truein is a suite of employee time and attendance software and shift scheduling tools. A cloud-based, hardware-less solution, it has versatile workforce scheduling features that make it a perfect fit for any organization.
This software solution can help companies manage shifts based on the work location through GPS geofencing. It can help you streamline workflow at multiple sites from the same dashboard. Truein allows job mapping functionality that allows workers to map their job at hand with the time. Managers can use its reporting to verify project progress and evaluate productivity using real-time metrics such as attendance.
Truein gives complete control to managers to record, identify, and mitigate workforce scheduling issues. At the same time, it offers workers real-time awareness of their shift changes as they take place.