The Shift Planning Primer

Shift Planning, The Shift Planning PrimerEmployee Scheduling ought to be that one truly great contact, every week.

Good Shift Planning lets you do it!

Your one great in, every week is a chance to renew that commitment.

Every email is too.

For many of our best clients, those who are the most pleased – like retail stores, hospitals and call centers – and even a few factories – operations are going on 24 hours a day and seven days every week. Numbers are looking good, thank goodness but…

Keeping these places going means staffing them with reliable, attentive and dedicated people. The costs to organizations who don’t realize this are just ridiculous. Unfortunately for all of us, though, that “employees-last” model remains very much the Standard Operating Procedure.

Yet for each of them, that scheduling email remains the one make-or-break email that they send out.

If your scheduling email is not optimized – for employee engagement, continuous improvement and talent retention – then you’re almost certainly losing people – and money.

But before all of that, let’s take a look at what your shift planning really needs to include. Under-staffing and over-staffing are both problematic – and for different reasons – but at the end of the day, too many or too few people costs you money.

1) Understand Employees

We do a lot of work with smaller retail and call center outfits who hire students. Students working short part-time shifts – and older adults are both two very different markets. They can work together too. In fact, lots of happy older adults wouldn’t have it any other way. Knowing their preferences also means knowing something about their lifestyles too. Adults with younger kids can be your very best employees but they have very different needs from younger people with no kids. Retirement age seniors can also be very profitably employed but their no good to you if you aren’t ready to listen to them.

2) Understand Shifts

It’s important to estimate staffing requirements across shifts and at all varying hours. Seasons, months, weeks – all of them bring different demands. The people you need will change, too. Knowing peak hours and external factors that can affect them is just plain crucial for the scheduling manager. Likewise, communicating knowledge of that demand is also important.

3) Clarify Employee Classifications

The important thing about dividing employees into groups or scales is really that you let them know. It doesn’t mean creating strict divisions but usually you’re dividing by “skill set” and experience. That might be followed by a consideration of seniority. But the important thing here is that this be relatively public information. We say “relatively” because you don’t need to post it for all employees to see. But every employee deserves a brief explanation of how decisions are made and why. Employees should also be able to understand exactly how they can supplement their skill sets to get better access to different shifts.

4) Plan for Holidays

This is another area where a clear policy is your best friend. A month’s notice for vacations is standard, but also, make sure that employees understand why or why not. Holiday seasons can create a demand for staff, or they can deaden everything. Plan yours aapropritately

5) Public posting of Employee Schedules

Obviously, Ximble schedules are on the internet. They can always be read by anyone that you grant permission to view them. But keep in mind how much of the schedule each employee needs to see. In general you want them to see more – rather than less – of a given schedule.

6) Work towards ever more Flexibility

Badly implemented Flex-Time plans can cost more than their worth. But once you’re getting used to whatever system you’re using, practice rolling out more and different policies. A well designed Flex-Time plan should allow employees to voluntarily prevent you from any over-staffing or under-staffing – EVER AGAIN. Work towards making whatever kind of schedule you’re working with.

But short of actual Flex-time, allowing for greater employee flexibility in making their own schedules is still always a good thing for employees. Make it good for you too. The point to shift planning is really to enunciate rules about supply and demand, to anticipate when you’ll need more or fewer people, and then to establish ways for your employees to meet those needs.

 

________________________

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

Success Stories

Menchie’s

It was hard to keep Menchie’s young and mostly part-time staff informed about shift changes, until Menchie’s discovered Ximble’s easy-to-use smartphone app.

Fast Fix

Ximble’s easy-to-use scheduling tool allows Fast Fix employees to remotely access shift information, and integrates with their Point of Sale and Payroll systems.

Spry Health

When spreadsheets became too complicated, Spry Health sought simple, cost-effective timekeeping software so they could concentrate on growing their business.

Spirited Gifts

Since switching to Ximble, Spirited Gift no longer struggle with employees turning up at the wrong time, for the wrong shifts.

Re-bath of South Florida

Re-bath required timekeeping software that was simple, flexible, and that could grow with their business.

Vastrm

When they outgrew their own internal system, Vastrm chose Ximble to track their part-time and contracted employees, both in and out of the office.

Excellence Martial Arts

All that Excellence Martial Arts were looking for was basic employee timetracking, with payroll reporting. Ximble’s cost-effective software was the ideal solution.

Collab Inc

Manual timesheets were a poor fit for Collab, and with no easy to feed the data into Gusto they began looking for a viable solution to their scheduling and time tracking headaches.

Carolina Moves

Follow Carolina Moves’ journey as they transitioned from using an archaic time tracking and data entry methods to using something that could optimize their processes and integrate with Gusto.

Bearings Bike Shop

Read how inaccurate time keeping methods forced Bearing Bike Shop to approximate working hours leading to significant losses over the year, until implementing Ximble.

Mermaid Life Chameleon

Needing a simplistic solution to their scheduling and time tracking needs, Mermaid Life didn’t want a solution that would over deliver and overcharge for what they required.

Krein Knives

Outgrowing spreadsheets, Krein Knives now needed a time tracking solution that could accurately track irregular working hours and automate as much of the administrative process as possible.

Garmentory

Looking for automation and simplicity, Garmentory turned towards Ximble in hopes of resolving their time tracking woes.

Novvia

With their eyes set on rapid growth, Novvia needed to implement a scheduling solution that could effectively scale as the business grew while integrating with the existing payroll system.

Story2

Discover how Story2 resolved their time tracking and payroll problems by implementing Ximble into their arsenal of tools and integrating it with their payroll platform, Gusto.

CareCentric Pty Ltd

Spreadsheets lacked the scalability and flexibility that CareCentric Pty Ltd needed as they grew and needed something that would be responsive to their changing needs.

Bou Cou Dancewear

Struggling with varying availability of staff, scheduling for multiple store fronts and managing payroll, Bou Cou Danceware needed a solution to their scheduling and time tracking needs.

Best Pets Veterinary Hospital

Constantly fighting wasted time from data entry errors, outdated methods of scheduling and time tracking were taking their toll. Discover how Ximble helps them overcome their challenges.

Hook SEO

Read how Ximble helped Hook SEO with their time tracking and scheduling problem when they noticed too much time was being wasted on data entry.

National Strategic

After a rapid increase of employees, National Strategic’s dependence on spreadsheets for time tracking was no longer viable. Find out how Ximble solved their problems.

miR Diagnostics

Find out how miR Diagnostics implemented Ximble’s time tracking features for their employees and how it improved their payroll operations through the Gusto integration.

Followell Fotography

Effective time tracking in and out of the office and Gusto integration was important for this photography company. Find out how Ximble stepped up to meet the challenge.

CARP

Ximble provided an inexpensive and user friendly solution to CARP’s time tracking and Gusto integration needs. Find what won them over and how it bettered their operations.

iLoveKickboxing

Discover how the time tracking and extensive feature of Ximble helped improve ILKB’s operations with the Gusto integrations and ximbleChat platform without breaking the bank.

Techpoint1

A tech savvy company that integrates technology into your offices and homes. With their skill and knowledge, they turn your ideas into reality.

Wise Owl Animal Hospital

An animal hospital that combines traditional and modern medicine to provide superior animal care. They raise awareness and provide advice on excellent pet care.

Armstrong Property Management

A property management consulting that specializes in home real-estate. They offer an abundance of services to property owners.

Parsaco

A restaurant consulting company that helps you take your business to the next level. With the best advisors, they can help you expand your business.

Liquid Consulting

A consulting company that strives to become your food processing partner. Comprised of skilled technicians and employees to improve your business.

Alta Animal Hospital

Find out how Alta Animal Hospital do away with printed shift calendars and move to a 100% mobile platform.

Montefiore

Read how Ximble helps Montefiore eliminate the need for multiple spreadsheets and calendars.

Rudy’s Pub & Grill

By utilizing Ximble, Rudy’s Pub & Grill has seen a 60% decrease in missed shift from schedule confusion.

TouchSupport

Learn how TouchSupport was able to manage employees at multiple locations with ease and save 8 hours a week by using Ximble.

Try Ximble for 14 days free

No credit card required. Cancel any time.