Workforce Scheduling. Get A Complete Guide

Every organization ought to possess a thorough and practical plan of action. Furthermore, this should be in accordance with a set of ethical value systems which also coincides with both its long term and short term goals. Therefore, it becomes mandatory that a plan of action is primarily enabled and expedited by proper workforce scheduling. 

Workforce scheduling assumes a top priority, due to its implications on the most tangible and superior asset of an organization – human capital.  Click To Tweet

Proper workforce scheduling and management have proven benefits. It is however required of the human resource officers to ardently scrutinize, plan and optimize their business strategies, with respect to workforce planning. 

Through this article, we aim to introduce a more pragmatic approach to workforce scheduling. Also enlisting various software aids for the same.

What is Workforce Scheduling?

The term “workforce scheduling” is self-explanatory. It is the preparation of operational or scheduling models for the workforce, in accordance with which the entire manpower of your organization would operate. A workforce schedule intends to program and plan the prevailing hourly workforce. It is one of the facets of workforce management. 

Primarily, these workforce scheduling frameworks take into account numerous strands affecting the workforce and their combined output. These strands include – 

  • Working hours or shifts
  • Schedules of functioning 
  • Determining employees’ work hours, absenteeism 
  • Predicting workload and forming schedules proportional to the workforce. 

As pivotal it is to acquire the most talented workforce, the responsibility of managing it is thoroughly significant and tedious nonetheless. HR professionals and managers ought to dive in to study and structure their human resources in the most competent modus operandi. The need is to facilitate the smooth functioning of the workforce, their even synchronization, and transition with fluctuating market demands. To execute this, the presence of a workforce schedule becomes obligatory. There are several factors that play a significant role in shaping a workforce schedule. 

A committed schedule takes into account all these factors listed below : 

  • The size of your organization and the strength of its human capital.
  • The demand of work pertaining to its quality, quantity and the man hours involved. 
  • Your organisation’s budget. 

An amalgamation of all these factors will help you to recognize the best structured workforce schedule. But its implementation should be in a manner flexible and humane as possible, as discussed below. 

How to Implement Workforce Scheduling 

The undertaking of workforce scheduling commands careful human resource planning in association with the factors delineated above. There exist certain best practices when it comes to kosher management. At once any scheduling model should meet the exigencies of both the organization and the employees. Consequently, the following becomes obligatory for the concerned task. 

1. Cognizance of Your Team

For any manager, team lead, or HR professional, it is quintessential to understand his team. This involves knowing their strengths, weaknesses, liabilities, flexibilities, dedication towards work, skills, and preferences. A grip over these traits allows a manager or anyone in a decisive role to formulate duties, assign tasks, and allocate shifts. Similarly, working knowledge of these broad points regarding teammates can be utilized to enhance results and fill gaps within workforce scheduling.  

2. Recognition of Business Demands

A working schedule can be framed, if and only, there is a profound understanding of business demands. Primarily, managers have to be clear on the specificities of business requirements. It is only then, that the hunt for the perfect candidate can commence. After the fulfillment of these criteria, the tedious task of workforce scheduling crops up. 

Nonetheless, this ever-changing market will require continual scrutinizing and research on the part of the manager or an analyzer. 

3. Allocate Shifts

Once you have collected ample knowledge pertaining to your team and the business goals, according to prevailing demands, the ultimate task is to allocate shifts. This decision should be based firstly, on individual employee skills and then on the suitability of the shift for an employee. An unhappy or unsatisfied workforce would fail to produce optimum results. It is better to introduce the workforce to ‘flexibility’, so as to gain their complete confidence and collaboration. You must keep an eye on employee engagement surveys to build feedback on employee satisfaction.

4. Flexible Shift Re-allocation

As hinted above, the element of flexibility is the cornerstone of any successful organization.  Employee satisfaction is achieved throughout flexibility, that is imbibed in an organization’s culture. It is also reflected through shift re-allocation. The need for it arises in case of incapacity of an employee or inconvenience caused due to the allocated shift. 

5. Gauge and Countervail

It is the job of the managerial authority to regularly monitor the employee shift scheduling model for its workability, significance, and practicality. The job is to hunt and identify gaps within the scheduling. This requires careful study and result in analysis on the managerial end. 

The input thus gained can be used to compensate in the case of empty shifts or under performance. 

Thus, in order to implement a superlative form of workforce scheduling, one needs to allocate, identify, rectify, and replace. 

Workforce Management and Workforce Scheduling

The exercise of workforce management (WFM) can be executed with the adequate prowess of the human resource department. It is a broad term that takes into consideration all the factors associated with the sophisticated management of a company’s workforce. This includes determinants pertaining to employees related processes ranging from their 

  • hiring, 
  • onboarding, 
  • training, 
  • team allocating, 
  • skills management, 
  • expectations, 
  • workforce scheduling, 
  • shifts, 
  • payroll, 
  • attendance, 
  • output, 
  • contribution, 
  • performance management and 
  • employee empowerment.

The goal of workforce management is to thoroughly optimize the productivity levels and competency of the workforce. 

As can be seen above, workforce scheduling is a branch of workforce management. It involves formulating, predicting and managing work schedules for the human capital (on an hourly or weekly basis), in correspondence with workload. The workforce management softwares has tremendously sorted the management issues. The popularity of these softwares can be fathomed from trends that outline their growth and eminence in the corporate world.

As per a report by Mordor Intelligence,

The global workforce management software market in 2019, held an estimated value of USD 2711.23 million. This value is expected to skyrocket to USD 3467.97 million by 2025. As a result, the trend sketches a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.21%, over a period of five years (2020-2025). 

Earlier on, the tedious task of workforce scheduling and management was data-driven. An HR manager had to collect data, analyze each aspect, identify gaps, and then refurbish the entire scheduling model and his approach. With the advent of HR Trends and technology, human resource processes have become much streamlined and simplified. There is now workforce management software that integrates the demands of your organization and in compliance with the workforce, aid in producing optimum results. 

“We used our new system as an impetus to examine everything from pay codes to time-keeping to every aspect of our workforce management practices. We also wanted to improve the employee experience by bringing new flexibility and fairness to our shift-scheduling processes”,

Chris Mullen, the director of HR at the University of Colorado, Boulder,

said in regard to his choice of the new workforce management system.

Workforce Scheduling Software

The biggest boon of technology for the human resources department is workforce management and scheduling software. They function as pretty basic solutions to manage key aspects pertinent to human capital and help in overall cost-cutting for your organization. 

These workforce scheduling software broadly  monitor the –

  • Shift schedules
  • Employee absenteeism and work output
  • Synchronization with the payroll and deliverance of accurate pay. 

The artificial intelligence (AI) behind this workforce scheduling software offers automation.  This automation is time-saving, purveys better management, and swift decision making. Time and attendance governing tools remain the highly advantageous modules of such scheduling software. 

The market is flooded with new and improving workforce scheduling software. They provide certain unique features pertaining to the sensitivity with which an organization should administer its human resources. Despite only sorting, streamlining, and allocating workforce, such software zero in on all the domains tackling leave appropriation, employee’s work hours, employee exhaustion, bandwidth, and overburdening. 

Advantages of Workforce Scheduling Software

HR professionals and team managers are only equipped enough to make informed educated decisions, depending only on their research with relevant, yet limited data. Any workforce scheduling software you employ will tap into much broader horizons and figures. As a consequence, rhythm and synchronization within shifts can prevail, while meeting the needs of the employees. 

Broadly speaking, all scheduling software has the benefits stated below:

1. Accurate Forecasting

Scheduling software has the potential to formulate algorithms, by making deductions from trends (both seasonal and historical), sales and footfall, traffic, requirement fluctuations, scanning rush hours, tally staff availability, shift demands, among other major parameters. The task that remains is that of much-enhanced decision making on the managerial end, on exceedingly pressing matters. When legitimate data is used for forecasting fluctuating market trends and shifts are assigned accordingly, a demand-based scheduling model is put into effect. 

2. Automation and Independence

The arduous task of researching and scheduling employees has become obsolete with the incoming of scheduling and management software. The hassle of formulating a schedule for all the shifts and improving upon them is managed masterfully by AI-infused software technology. There are different kinds of shifts like DuPont, Panama, Continental, etc that can be chosen accordingly. Moreover, open shifts and shift swapping can be judiciously looked after in the presence of a workforce scheduling software.

Employees have the independence to select the shifts of their choosing. This reduces the chances of burnout. In the long run, this autonomy granted to employees will reflect in the form of a lower turnover rate. 

3. Proper Optimisation

Any work schedule can be considered fully optimized if it caters to the business demands and reaps visible results while proving beneficial to promote employee satisfaction. A workforce scheduling software will decide and curate schedules practically, depending on these verticals. Furthermore, these verticals can be subject to modulation as per your organization’s ethics and needs. With the most suitable workforce schedule in place, optimum levels of productivity in proportion to market demands can be achieved. All that is required is a thorough understanding of your chosen workforce scheduling software and judicial utilization of its various benefits.

4. Improved Efficiency

Employees can largely benefit in the presence of scheduling software. Firstly, they are able to access their schedules remotely, at their own convenience. Secondly, this software also allows for communication with the authorities in charge of schedule management. Lastly, the entire efficiency of the scheduling system is facilitated by the smoothness with which the workforce is able to collaborate better. Furthermore, all the conflicts that surround scheduling can be easily tackled and resolved.  

5. Better Sortment and Sophistication 

The domination and popularity of scheduling software, that combine with other HR data to render many sophisticated results is gaining momentum. This way the problems of understaffing or unnecessary shift scheduling can be fathomed. Consequently, your organization will be able to save its resources and put them to alternate use, rather than exhausting them otherwise.  

6. Improved Communication

By making use of scheduling software, any change in shifts is quickly communicated. The employees can also send across their concerns and request for a shift re-allocation. In the presence of a good communication portal, all recent updates can be read and managed remotely. Instead of using social media or emails, the scheduling software can be optimized to streamline communication and increase employee engagement. 

It can be deduced that the above-mentioned advantages of an employee scheduling software comply and caters to the tasks expected otherwise of a manually prepared workplace schedule. The infusion of artificial intelligence multiples the reliability, validity, and legitimacy of the schedule. Moreover, an organization can put into place certain filters or deploy enhanced scheduling software, which involves a much broader data assessment bandwidth, for an even and well-rounded shift management. 

Selecting the Suitable Workforce Scheduling Software

There are multiple parameters to consider when selecting the best workforce scheduling software for your organisation. 

  • Firstly, you ought to consider the size of your organization. This will serve as the basis upon which the software will function. The tools in a scheduling software range and differ for large enterprises to medium to small-sized businesses. 
  • Secondly, you ought to pitch in certain preferences that your organization expects of this software to its vendor. Thorough research of your organization’s shortcomings through shift scheduling is required to outline preferences.  Scheduling software can be cloud-based, offer varying levels of security, contain diverse reporting features, encompass unique complexities pertaining to its functioning, may or may not offer remote accessibility features through an app, provide levels of integration with other software, tools and data. 

Choosing the right scheduling software demands due consideration of multiple verticles, the in-built features provided by the software, and its ease of implementation. It is only then that any software’s feasibility can be tested. 

The Best Workforce Scheduling Software

There are innumerable scheduling software making waves in the market. A paid software or even a free one can work for you. All that is required is the right amount of research and tests to check its suitability. Our flawless management software, the CuteHR tool, with its versatile features, including prompt scheduling, can be the perfect fit for your organization. 

It is the most sought after and competent cloud based HR software tool. CuteHR chiefly facilitates:

  • Class apart, management systems like project management, employee management, payroll management, document management, time management, leave and attendance management, etc.  
  • CuteHR has a project manager feature and a time tracker that allows for the formulation of shifts, tracking employee work hours, and their check-in and check-out timings. 
  • Seamless integration into diverse business processes. 

Our CuteHR online management tool is the finest scheduling software you can ask for. It is a potent cloud-based tool that offers remote management and accessibility. All those essential business tasks and responsibilities can be undertaken through one wholesome tool like it. CuteHR offers overall smoothness in business by providing you with quick results and by helping you build outperforming strategies. All its idiosyncrasies combined will reflect a positive influence on your business’ productivity levels. Delve into our immaculate software management tool and reap the benefits of the varying modules that come pre-packed.

Conclusion

Workforce scheduling has a significant impact on business functions. It is simply this process of shift allocation of employees, in such a manner that is contributive to boost productivity levels and is convenient enough to promote employee satisfaction. However, a profound undertaking like it requires thorough research and planning. It demands the presence of a dedicated approach, erection of policies and shifts, based on trends and market fluctuations. The technological intervention has greatly streamlined this operation. 

The laborious task of manual workforce scheduling has come to an end. This is the era of automation and independence. Management professionals and HR representatives have made the switch to technology. Now, the task of shift scheduling has become thoroughly flexible and rapid with the onset of scheduling software. This software varies in the perks they offer and pitch in their unique specificities. The only crucial task remaining is to identify your business requirements, select a budget, and opt for scheduling software for your organization.  

 

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