• 1) Executive Summary

    This whitepaper will examine various challenges managers and business owners come across in various industries when scheduling their employees. Through further reading, you will discover the solutions to simplify tasks such as last minute shift changes, staff turnover and rotations, remote staff scheduling, tardiness and absenteeism as well as real time access to employee availability.

  • 2) Introduction

    The foundation of a successful business is being internally well organized and having motivated and happy employees. One of the most common difficulties managers come across is effectively scheduling their employees. Managing people is already complicated enough as they come from different backgrounds, vary in age and have different priorities. Managers are required to take into consideration all these variables when creating a work schedule. Another time consuming issue related to employee scheduling is the process of receiving employee requests face to face or through email, flipping through spreadsheets and constantly reminding employees of their work shifts. Employees suddenly drop their shifts or come in late, and managers don’t have time to find someone to cover or don’t have access to employee availability. Moreover, if a large number of staff is being managed, the problem of keeping track of clock in times or buddy punching can arise. For business activities to run smoothly, managers resort to technology such as online scheduling software to ease their employee scheduling process.

  • 3) Retail Industry

    The retail industry is fast paced with ever-changing staff due to peak sales periods such as holidays, weekends, special sales or events. Staff can be part-time or seasonal and accommodating a work schedule to ensure full shift coverage can be difficult.

    a) Problems
    As the employees in the retail industry vary from part time students, employees who have another job apart from working at the store and full time employees, managers struggle to find a balance and create an effective work schedule where employees won’t ask to reschedule or drop shifts. As managers also have employees who partake in other activities outside of work or have second jobs, they also face challenges with tardiness and having available staff to cover or replace them.

    According to a study Ximble conducted, across the span of a year, employees are on average late 121.4 minutes and 29.3 shifts are missed per employee. This ultimately affects businesses’ bottom line as missed shifts can incur a loss of roughly $2147, whereas tardiness can incur a loss of $927.

    b) Solutions
    To ensure adequate shift coverage and reduce absenteeism and tardiness, managers and business owners should leverage the power of technology. Precisely, they should resort to using online scheduling software such as Ximble, instead of archaic pencil and spreadsheets methods. With the use of online software, managers can have an on hand overview of employee availability as well as take in specific requests through the system, instead of receiving employees face to face or having to scroll through an abundance of emails. Moreover, employees can have real time access to the work schedule and receive notifications of their newly assigned shifts or changes in the schedule. By incorporating online scheduling software to your management style, you can also empower your employees as they will have the ability to request shifts themselves in the open schedule and reduce potential misunderstandings regarding shift coverage.

    According to Ximble’s study, with shift reminders, the amount of time employees were late on average was reduced to 95.9′, and the number of missed shifts decreased to 21.4′.

    Using online scheduling software can not only increase profits but also save managers’ valuable time so that they can focus towards floor management and customer satisfaction instead of spending hours in back of house flipping through spreadsheets and contacting each employee separately to ask about their availability. Online scheduling software can also be accessed through mobile phones, which simplifies the notification process and provides real time access to any relevant information.

  • 4) Restaurant Industry

    The restaurant industry is one with the highest rate of staff turnover. Due to miscommunication, being understaffed and scheduling conflicts, unsatisfied employees are compelled to resign and search for jobs elsewhere. Restaurant business environments are known for burning the candle at both ends. This fast-paced environment complicates the process of effective employee scheduling.

    a) Problems
    Managers from the restaurant industry face multiple challenges related to employee scheduling, such as lack of staff coverage, giving staff adequate down time, employee turnover and, more importantly, ineffective staff communication.

    Roughly $2100 to $4100 is lost by businesses per year due to ineffective staff communication. According to the data the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compiled, the staff turnover rate in 2014 was 66% and has been rising ever since.

    The reason this percentage is so high is due to unsatisfied and overworked staff. Managers don’t give employees enough down time, double book them or even schedule them during times they claimed to be unavailable. The satisfaction or, therefore, lack of it, directly impacts customer satisfaction and may cause a loss in customer base. As restaurant businesses heavily rely on their customers, a loss of customers will directly impact their bottom line and overall brand.

    b) Solutions
    The ideal fix to decrease staff turnover and improve employee satisfaction is clear communication and flexible scheduling. Online scheduling software can be used to keep track of staff availability and requests as well as have a clear overview of the hours each employee is scheduled to work for. This will enable managers to assess when employees require down time and can avoid double-booking or overworking the staff. Online scheduling software, such as Ximble, also have chatting platforms that can improve the communication among staff members as well as help managers by creating group chats for chefs or waiters only to funnel information. When all the staff is well informed, it eliminates the risk of work schedule conflicts and miscommunication, and ultimately improves the satisfaction of the staff. Allowing employees to self-schedule in the open shifts also increases the flexibility and provides a better work-life balance. The more satisfied the employees are, the higher the staff retention rate will be, and more importantly, the staff’s service will improve as well as customers’ satisfaction.

  • 5) Hospitality Industry

    The hospitality industry, similar to the restaurant industry, also suffers from a high staff turnover rate and, according to the BLS, it rose from 66.7% to 72.1% in just a year’s time. As the hospitality industry is seasonal and relies on their customers, having to constantly replace employees can prove to be costly and affect business profits.

    a) Problems
    Employee scheduling challenges managers also face in the hospitality sector are double-booking, lack of employee availability knowledge, miscommunication and real time access to employees and work schedules. Managers are required to manage large teams and ensure adequate shift coverage all the while making sure they don’t overwork their staff or double-book.

    With large teams, it has proven to be difficult to ensure all relevant information is equally distributed across all employees and departments.

    Managers also need to manage off site staff depending on the department they work in, such as drivers. If the staff doesn’t have real time access to the work schedule, the staff might not even be notified of their assigned shift. This is why it is crucial for managers to ensure easy work schedule access.

    b) Solutions
    Managers should take advantage of online scheduling software in order to overcome the challenges of staff scheduling. When creating work schedules online, managers can have a clear overview of their staff’s availability and view them by department. Another advantage of online scheduling is the fact that it can be accessed from any location and device. This makes employee notification swift and simple. All employees can access the work schedule at any time and stay up to date with their assigned work shifts. Online scheduling can also empower the employees and increase their productivity as they are able to request work shifts themselves and some online employee schedulers, such as Ximble, also allow the employees to cover for each other or request to swap work shifts with other employees. Moreover, employees can communicate through the chatting platform the software provides and reduce or eliminate work scheduling conflicts.

    With online employee scheduling, you can save up to $4100 per year, which are lost due to poor communication.

  • 6) Case Study

    We will examine the case of Rudy’s Pub & Grill, a restaurant business that strives to generate revenue from customer satisfaction.

    Rudy’s Pub & Grill struggled with miscommunication that resulted in employee tardiness and absenteeism. Their employee notification routine was through weekly paper spreadsheets.

    They turned to Ximble’s online employee scheduling software to aid them in overcoming their challenges.

    Once they started using Ximble, their missed shifts dropped to 60%, and they noticed an overall improvement in staff satisfaction.

    Ximble allowed their employees to review their work schedule through mobile phones, as well as to receive push notifications for any shift related changes via mobile app or SMS notifications. It also allowed the employees to communicate better through the chatting platform and eliminated the risk of misunderstandings and miscommunication.

    Moreover, Ximble reduced the overall time managers would spend creating the shifts and gave them more time to focus on business growth.

    Here you can learn more about how Ximble helped Rudy’s Pub & Grill become more successful and improved their overall employee scheduling process.

  • 7) Conclusion

    Regardless of the industry, the most common employee scheduling challenges managers face are: tardiness and absenteeism, information regarding employee availability, notifying employees of last minute schedule changes and remote employee scheduling. Once any of these issues occur, businesses begin to dysfunction, which directly impacts the bottom line. Profits start to decrease, projects get delayed and companies may suffer customer loss.

    It is without a doubt that employee scheduling is a challenging and timely task but, by leveraging the power of technology and using online scheduling tools, employee scheduling can turn into a simple and rewarding task in terms of labor force efficiency and bottom line improvement.

  • 8) About Ximble

    Ximble is the ultimate workforce management tool for managers and business owners across the globe. Ximble is online employee scheduling and time tracking software that simplifies managerial tasks. With the self-service work scheduling system, employees are permitted to request shifts from the open schedule as well as request to trade shifts, cover for each other and request time off. Instead of receiving each employee face to face or scrolling through an abundance of emails, managers just enter the system and with the click of a button, they either accept or reject these requests. The work schedule is customizable and can be tailored to the needs of your respected industry. It is accessible through mobile phones and tablets as well, which provides real time access to all staff at all times. Ximble also provides the option of automated SMS and push notifications that notify your employees of newly assigned shifts and relevant changes in the work schedule.

    Ximble’s time tracking module provides employees with the ability to clock in and out from any device the manager has permitted. Managers can opt for the photoClock option that takes a picture of the employee that is clocking in as well as have them use QR and pin codes. These options eliminate the chance of buddy punching and let managers rest at ease knowing the assigned employees are covering their work shifts. The time tracking module also provides managers with the clear overview of their labor costs and how much each employee is salaried or paid for their shift. With Ximble’s time tracking module, the payroll process that once used to be a tedious and time consuming task now takes minutes to get done. Ximble strives to simplify the job of managers and keep your business organized and on track.