Hints & Tips
Our Top 10 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Shiftie
Published: 2021-04-29 11:01:40Read article
Shelling out for new software might seem like a strange kind of way to save money. Especially when your trusty spreadsheet is free. We’re pretty confident that it works though, and not just because we’re a company that literally sells shift scheduling software.
After all, trying to persuade people to buy software that doesn’t help them and which they’re better off without would be a bit of a hard sell. Thankfully, shift scheduling software genuinely does provide tonnes of ways to save money, which makes our lives a bit easier. Let us explain…
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if you do something yourself, no matter how long it takes you, it’s free. And it is, of course, if you work for free. Very noble. But if you take a salary then your time costs at least that, and if your time could be better spent doing something else then that’s doubly the case. If creating a rota takes you a few days each month that can quickly add up to far more than the software cost.
Naturally, to tackle that the software will need to speed the scheduling process up. That’s where centralised information comes in. Any scheduling solution worth its salt will allow you to gather your team’s leave, sickness, and general availability all in one place so that you don’t end up scheduling people for days when they can’t work. Rather than wasting time consulting a variety of spreadsheets, sticky notes, and cryptic back-of-the-hand scribblings the software should do the hard work for you, only suggesting employees for shifts which they’re actually available for. Having a centralised system for logging leave can also save you from the horror of finding that you’ve granted your entire team leave for the same week. Not pretty, that.
Once you’re up and running with scheduling software you’ll usually find that it has lots of ways to speed up the shift creation itself, too. Templates for frequently scheduled shifts are a lifesaver. The ability to copy previous days or weeks is even better. Rather than creating the schedule from scratch each month you can say the magic words, click the magic button, and watch your schedule create itself before your eyes. More or less. Being able to drag shifts from one day or employee to another is also a huge timesaver, letting you avoid having to manually edit each shift as you perfect your schedule.
Confusion over who’s working when can be surprisingly expensive. Too many people thinking they’ve been scheduled? You’ll have to pay them to stand around. Not enough people? You’ll either have to drag someone in at the last minute or accept that your customers aren’t going to get the best possible service. Neither’s good. Even worse when half of your team have booked leave at the same time and no one’s noticed until it’s too late. Asking the remaining team members to work overtime to make up for it isn’t going to be great for their productivity or for your bank balance.
Paper schedules can be particularly prone to this kind of confusion; either employees don’t see the rota, or they do see it but it changes before their shift, or they misread it, or it’s just unnecessarily hard to understand. Luckily, scheduling software answers a lot of these problems too, with the ability to send notifications when shifts are assigned or changed. Allowing employees to check the schedule at any time from their phone doesn’t hurt either. No scribbled out entries, no indecipherable handwriting, just employees who know where they’re meant to be and when they’re meant to be there. Bliss.
It’s no use making sure that everyone shows for work up in line with the rota if you’ve scheduled the wrong people in the first place. Making sure that you have the right number of people doing each job type and the right manager to employee ratio can be just as critical as letting people know about their shifts, and just as tricky to get right. Being able to clearly label users with their individual job roles is handy here. So is being able to filter to view your schedule broken down by duties or getting an overview of the number of shifts set up for each department.
Having the right combination of people working allows everyone to play to their strengths rather than trying to cover areas they’re not familiar with, giving you a more efficient workforce. It also saves you from running around like a lunatic trying to personally cover everyone, which is nice. Giving employees the tools to be able to clock in and out on their phones once they’re on site is useful too, allowing them to focus on their work rather than wasting time looking for their manager to let them know they’ve arrived.
Okay, we know that this one sounds made up, but bear with us.
For a start, scheduling software helps you to have a clear overview of the hours which employees are scheduled to work and the hours which they’re actually working, which can be surprisingly different. Exhausted employees who are constantly running into overtime aren’t typically the happiest or most efficient workers, so it pays to make sure that work is being evenly distributed and that you’re not constantly scheduling your best workers without giving them a chance to recover. Plus, paying for overtime can get seriously expensive so a system that warns you before that happens and allows you to easily update the schedule can only be a good thing.
Giving your team a sense of stability can help to get them to stick around, too. If your employees are constantly worrying that the rota might have changed since they’ve last looked they’re going to be stressed, and stressed employees have a funny habit of becoming ex-employees. High staff turnover, with all the associated recruitment, training, and emotional costs, is bad for your bottom line as well as just being a complete pain. Software costs, in contrast, are relatively low level and predictable. Just saying.
Predictable scheduling can help to keep your customers happy too. After all, when you’ve got a well-run business with happy and efficient staff what’s not to like? Customer service tends to be better and more consistent when you’ve always got the right number of employees scheduled and no one running around tearing their hair out, which helps to get customers to spend more and come back.
Whichever way you look at it, more efficient shift scheduling is never going to be a bad thing for your business, or for your sanity. With that in mind, why not check out our free trial? It’s no commitment, user-friendly, and you can see for yourself just how much time and money you stand to save.