3 Not-So-Obvious Reasons To Use Employee Scheduling Software

Why would I use employee scheduling software?

Employee scheduling software aims to make it easier for you to manage your employee schedule. In a nutshell:

  • Building the employee schedule is less time consuming
  • Making changes to the employee schedule is easier
  • Informing your employees of changes to schedule is faster

The obvious benefits of scheduling software like the time you save and those I’ve listed above have been talked about ad nauseam, so I’m not going to regurgitate them.

In this blog I’ll instead delve into 3 less obvious but still very persuasive reasons you should use scheduling software if you manage hourly workers.

1. Happier employees & customers 

More employee autonomy

Employee scheduling software allows your employees to set their own availability, which automatically gets cross-checked to ensure you 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 your workload as a manager significantly as you no longer have to coordinate the entire process of getting shifts covered. You only have to be involved in the final approval process  (saying yes or no).

More importantly this increased level of control over the schedule gives your 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 you a running tally of how many hours you’ve allocated each employee for the schedule. This makes it easier for you to ensure you’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 you as the manager.

By scheduling employees fairly, employee morale in your business will improve, which is sure to help you retain more employees in the long run.

Also, 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 if your employees like their job they are more likely to go that extra mile for your customers.

2. A more connected workplace 

A direct line to everybody  

Shift scheduling software has instant messaging so you can communicate with employees and your employees can communicate with each other.

As the manager you can message individual employees or groups of employees, enabling you to deliver information where it needs to be efficiently.

Instant messaging also encourages communication between your employees, helping to strengthen team chemistry. Better team chemistry will be reflected in better customer service in your business, 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 you with any feedback or concerns. 

This firstly helps you become a more adaptable manager as you’ll likely receive more frequent feedback. Secondly it increases the likelihood employee concerns (e.g. conflict between employees) are addressed as you’re more likely to know about them, making for a more positive work environment.

Less miscommunication 

Shift scheduling software sends mobile notifications to your employees for important announcements:

  • When you publish a new schedule
  • When you make changes to the schedule
  • When employees have an upcoming shift

These real time notifications keep your employees in the loop, decreasing the likelihood of no shows in your business. It also makes employees more accountable as they can’t plead ignorance to you 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 you’ve scheduled them to work. Not only will this decrease the incidences of no shows but it will also make your employees more punctual.

Above all scheduling software ensures employees are always looking at the same schedule, eliminating miscommunication around the schedule.

3. More time to be an entrepreneur 

Quick maths

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 you to cut down this time, so you 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, you can be the entrepreneur you set out to be when you started the business instead of just a manager trying to keep the lights on.

The time you save on can be reallocated to devise new business strategies, develop marketing ideas, design new customer experiences and on other productive activities that will help you grow the business and increase the bottom line in the long run.

There’s essentially no end to what you’ll be able to do with the extra time, but the important thing is you’ll have it. Time is a precious commodity when you’re running a business and you should take advantage of any opportunity to get a little extra.

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OpenSimSim is a free employee scheduling software tool purpose built for businesses with hourly workers.

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