November 6, 2018
Why use scheduling software?
Employee scheduling software was built to make it easier to schedule your hourly workers. The software makes (1) creating the schedule, (2) making changes to the schedule and (3) making sure employees know about these changes less frustrating and less time consuming.
The obvious benefits to your business like the time you save are well documented, so I’m not going to regurgitate them. I’ll instead delve into 3 less publicized reasons anyone who employs hourly workers should consider using scheduling software in their business.
1. Happier employees & customers
More employee autonomy
Employee scheduling software allows employees to set their own availability, which gets automatically cross-checked to ensure employers never assign a shift to an employee who isn’t available.
Employees are also allowed to swap shifts and cover each other’s shifts. This lightens the employer’s workload as they no longer have to coordinate the entire process of getting shifts covered, only being involved in the final approval process.
More importantly this increased level of control over the schedule gives employees more autonomy, which researchers at the University of Birmingham Business School have linked to higher job satisfaction.
Everybody gets their fair share of hours
Scheduling software gives a running tally of how many hours each employee has been allocated for a given schedule. This makes it easier for employers to ensure they’ve given each employee a fair number of hours for the schedule.
Under-scheduling (not giving workers enough hours) is one of the biggest reasons turnover is so high in industries with hourly workers like hospitality and retail. Shift scheduling software tries to combat under-scheduling, by making the distribution of hours between workers more transparent to the employer.
By scheduling employees fairly, employee morale will improve along with employee retention.
Findings from Foresee, a customer-service analytics firm demonstrated a correlation between higher employee satisfaction and better customer service. It’s not hard to believe that employees who like their job are more likely to go that extra mile for the customer.
2. A more connected workplace
A direct line to everybody
Shift scheduling software has instant messaging so employers can communicate with employees and employees can communicate with each other.
As an employer you can message individual employees or groups of employees, enabling you to deliver information where it needs to be efficiently.
Instant messaging encourages communication between employees, helping to strengthen team chemistry. Better team chemistry will be reflected in better customer service, as employees will look forward to coming to work to see their coworkers.
Instant messaging also makes it more likely employees will reach out to their employer with any feedback or concerns.
This firstly helps employers become more adaptable managers as they will receive more frequent feedback. Secondly it increases the likelihood employee concerns (e.g. conflict between employees) are addressed, making for a more positive work environment.
Shift scheduling software sends mobile notifications to employees for important announcements:
- When a new schedule is published
- When changes are made to the schedule
- When employees have an upcoming shift
These real time notifications keep employees in the loop, decreasing the likelihood of no shows. It also makes employees more accountable as they can’t plead ignorance regarding what the schedule is.
With a feature like shift reminders, employees get ample warning before their shift starts so they are more likely to show up when they’re scheduled for work. Not only will this decrease the incidences of no shows but it will also make employees more punctual.
Above all scheduling software ensures employees are always looking at the same schedule, eliminating miscommunication around the employee schedule.
3. More time to be an entrepreneur
Anyone who’s been responsible for employee scheduling knows how time consuming it can be.
Here’s some quick arithmetic to prove this point. An employer that uses spreadsheets spends an average of 3.14 hours every week scheduling their hourly workers. That may not seem like much but in a year that’s 160 hours just on employee scheduling.
Scheduling is a purely administrative task that does not contribute to growth. 160 hours a year is far too much time for something like that. Scheduling software helps business owners cut down this time, so they can spend it more productively.
To illustrate this point let’s take the common scheduling problem of finding a replacement worker. If one of your staff calls in sick you can use the built in feature for finding a replacement worker. This feature will provide you a pool of available workers whom you can invite simultaneously to cover the shift. They all get sent a mobile notification and the first one who accepts the invitation gets the shift.
It’s obvious this process is a lot easier and less time consuming than working your way down a list of available employees and waiting for them to get back to you via call or text to cover the shift.
Focus on growing your business
With employee scheduling software, business owners can be the entrepreneur they set out to be instead of just a manager trying to keep the lights on.
The time employers save can be used to devise new business strategies, develop marketing ideas, design new customer experiences and on other productive activities that will help grow the business and increase the bottom line in the long run.
There’s essentially no end to what employers will be able to do with the extra time, but the important thing is they’ll have it.
OpenSimSim is a free employee scheduling software tool purpose built for businesses with hourly workers just like restaurants.