Many businesses today require staff scheduling systems to manage work shifts of staff who are working multiple shifts and are working around the clock. Too many business owners and managers labor over the employee schedules when they can and should be spending time on more value-added tasks in their businesses. As such, it is important that every business and organization adopt an effective scheduling system that makes this key employee management function less arduous and more flexible.
In the simplest form, an effective, simple employee scheduling system allows the creation and printing of weekly employee shift schedules. It should be able to schedule significant employees on day/evening and night shifts while allowing ease in customizing start and end times. A good system will allow ease of access and editing of information, analysis of data, and make distribution of schedules easy and simple. This allows the ability to accurately track and forecast employee absences and staffing needs on various shifts. It assists in mitigating scheduling conflicts and minimizes over-staffing. This is particularly valid when the scheduling system is interfaced with a workload measurement system to view productivity of your business or organization operations. Productivity workload measurement systems used in many businesses and organizations must be easily interfaced with the existing employee-scheduling system.
Many of the more powerful staff scheduling systems today allow shift assignments to be made, the summing up of employees’ work hours, and the review of their committed overtime, on-call time, leave time, and premium hours. A good staff scheduling system should allow for the scheduling of tasks and breaks and provide key information about training and mentoring requirements. In addition, it should provide detailed cost reports on labor expenditures for determination of budget variances related to worked hours, overtime, and premium pay. All staff scheduling systems should greatly assist in the professional management of employee time and attendance.
Overtime is an area that requires constant review because of associated cost but also because of unionized standards related to not exceeding specific work hours per day or per work period. A good staff scheduling system will allow ease of access to this metric (overtime) for common work periods including the standard one-week and two-week periods; semi-monthly, monthly, four and six-week periods.
Knowing the numbers and where employees are assigned to is crucially important in ensuring adequate shift coverage and to be able to make adjustments to avoid over/under staff conditions related to unforeseen fluctuations in workload demand.
Creating standard schedules for a set number of weeks is available when revised budgets require adjustment of employee staffing levels. The schedules can be easily adjusted to meet specific requirements of each company, division or group of employees. Flexibility in how easy it is to adjust schedules is one of the key differentiators between different staff scheduling systems. It is important to check this when comparing various staff scheduling systems. Only by seeing it done in a live demonstration can the simplicity or complexity be realized.
Keeping track of employees’ certification, training, and re-certification dates are often important requirements of many businesses and organizations. A scheduling system that alerts you to specified number of days from expiration allows effective management of these key required dates.
Trending of employees requested time off reasons (i.e. training or absent), planned days off, and planned vacation for any time period allows you to easily backfill the vacancy in a timely manner based on position, skill requirement, employee availability, work hour limits, and any other criterion.
Lastly, a good scheduling system allows ease of completion of time sheets for each employee related to worked hours, overtime, on-call and premium hours that can be easily interfaced with a business’ or organization’s payroll system.
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