Employee Schedule | 9 mins read

Developing an Employee Schedule and Why it Matters

developing an employee schedule and why it matters
Mary Kate Morrow

By Mary Kate Morrow


Scheduling issues are the fifth most common reason reported for employees quitting a job. Creating an employee schedule that focuses on both business needs and employee wants is crucial to optimal business productivity and longevity.

The Importance of Employee Scheduling

Employee scheduling is a crucial business operation that has the potential to boost or decrease your business's overall bottom line. Due to its importance to business longevity and success, the scheduling process is normally handled by a manager.

Providing employees with their work schedule in a timely matter allows them to plan their personal life around the time they will spend working. There are many workforce management benefits of proper employee schedules ranging from higher employee satisfaction to top talent employee retention rates.

Improper scheduling causes a spectrum of issues for a business, from increased labor costs to open shifts being left unfilled. Consistent problems with employee schedules will decrease customer satisfaction rates and require your human resources team to expend unnecessary resources to mitigate.

Employee scheduling software can assist with the scheduling process by providing scheduling tools such as work schedule templates and mobile app accessibility.

Whether you are a small business or a large corporation, investing in scheduling software and scheduling tools will increase the profitability and longevity of your company.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

Different Types of Work Schedules

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A work schedule refers to the designated days and times an employee is required to perform labor at a business. There are many types of employee work schedules and it is up to management and human resources to decide which is the best fit for business needs and employee wants.

Depending on what type of work schedule your employees are on, your business may be required to pay different labor costs and provide benefits. Some businesses choose a mix of different scheduling types while others prefer to choose only one. Below are a few common types of employee work schedules-

1. Full time- Employees who are full time staff members work 37-40 hours weekly. State laws require that full time employees receive employee benefits from your business.

A full time employee may be compensated on an hourly basis or be a salaried worker. Usually, these employees have fixed schedules, working the same days and times each week.

2. Part time- Employees who are part time staff members work less than 36 hours weekly. These employees may not be eligible for benefits from your business.

A part time employee is usually compensated on an hourly basis and has a less fixed schedule than a full time employee. Many part time employees are scheduled based on business needs and may have very different schedules from week to week.

3. Shift workers- Shift work is generally split into the morning, afternoon, and night shifts. These shifts are usually eight hours long and shifts rotate depending on business needs.

Employees who need to supplement their income are attracted to shift work because it allows them to hold a traditional job simultaneously. Shift work is also attractive to college students or those with child care obligations.

4. Freelancers- Freelance work is an agreement between an independent contractor and a business to complete a certain task or project. Freelancers are not considered employees of a business and are therefore not eligible for employment benefits.

Generally, freelancers are paid by project or task completion instead of on an hourly basis. Freelance workers are given more flexibility than many other types of workers, but they often do not have the same stability or guaranteed hours.

How to Create an Employee Schedule

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Creating an employee schedule requires consideration of many factors including business needs and employee skillsets. Breaking down the scheduling process into steps can help managers make sure they are not forgetting any important considerations.

1. Consider business needs- How much work time is needed to reach your objectives while providing excellent customer service? What hours will employees work online or at your storefront?

What duties must be completed during each employee shift and which are optional? Which skills will you require a new employee to possess and what skills are you willing to train and develop?

Remember to always keep legalities at the forefront of your planning process. Your human resources department should always do extensive research regarding local labor laws. If you are a small business, this responsibility may fall on the business owner or manager.

2. Establish standards and policies- Employees work differently but the majority of people enjoy stability. Understanding the scheduling process will help employees recognize their role and responsibilities within the company.

For example, what is your process for handling time off requests? Decide if you will base decisions for granting time off on seniority or on a first come first serve basis. When employees understand the scheduling process and protocols they will less likely feel unfairly treated.

Will employees have control over their own scheduling? Make sure to consider it, as many businesses have enjoyed the decrease in managerial workload and employees appreciate being provided the ability to give input in the scheduling process.

If employees are involved, what is the procedure for them to make changes to the work schedule? Will you let employees volunteer for open shifts or delegate them in accordance with their skill level?

3. Plan accordingly- Especially when scheduling shift employees who have other jobs or obligations, give as much notice as possible about upcoming shifts. Shift planning well in advance will decrease the need for employees to swap shifts or miss their shifts entirely.

Remember, the further in advance you provide employees their work schedule the better. When making updates to the schedule, make sure to inform employees promptly.

A great way to instantly notify employees about scheduling time changes is through the mobile app that your employee scheduling software provides.

4. Invest in scheduling software- Manual scheduling requires hours of a manager's time each week. Investing in employee scheduling software will not only free up that time, but it will help keep your employees up to date.

Employee scheduling software can provide many useful scheduling tools as well as compatibility with preexisting software programs including-

  • Employee time clock
  • Labor costs analysis
  • Scheduling template
  • Time tracking capabilities
  • Real time updates
  • Schedule maker
Top performing scheduling software offers additional technological perks like mobile apps and desktop scheduling apps for remote scheduling capabilities.

When your employees and schedule creator can see real time updates from wherever they have internet access, communication and collaboration will be positively influenced.

5. Stay flexible- Your employees are human beings with personal lives and schedule conflicts. Even the best employee will sometimes need an unexpected sick day or have to leave town last minute for a family emergency.

No matter how efficient your scheduling process is, it is worthless if you are not humane towards your workers and their needs. Keep communication open and make sure to check in with your workers periodically about their schedules in order to retain top talent employees.

Consequences of Improper Scheduling

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There are severe consequences to improper scheduling for both a business and its employees. Some consequences are apparent in the short term, but others can result in long term damage that is hard, if not impossible, to repair.

Consequences of improper employee scheduling include-

1. Labor costs- The most obvious labor costs a company incurs with improper scheduling are overtime payments. However, the lost productivity and payments required for hours not worked are harder to estimate.

When less quality work is produced it is hard to quantify the labor costs incurred from customer and employee experience issues. Decreases in employee morale and satisfaction levels can result in higher employee turnover and loss of customers.

Training a new employee costs a lot more than retaining an existing employee. Factoring in human resources expenditures for acquiring new talent and combatting a declining company culture problem, labor costs can rack up quickly.

2. Reputation damage- Your brand name is invaluable to business longevity and success. Improper scheduling can damage your business's reputation and cause top talent employees to avoid joining your team.

3. Decreased productivity- A schedule maker knows that having a mix of skills is important to workplace productivity. With poor scheduling, staff members cannot be as productive as possible.

Make every time clock punch work towards optimal productivity by mindfully scheduling employees based on their skillsets, compatibility, and seniority.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

How to Solve Scheduling Issues

If there are issues with your existing scheduling process, your business must make changes to address them. Some common solutions to scheduling issues include-

1. Decreased employee turnover- As improper scheduling is a top reason that employees quit, make sure that every new employee is given clear expectations about scheduling protocol and practices.

Schedule time during new employee interviews to talk about what work schedule works best for them. Schedule employees with as much consideration to their needs as possible to keep them feeling valued and secure.

2. Workforce management incentives- Provide employees who volunteer for open shifts with incentives to reinforce good behavior and show your appreciation. Incentives can range from overtime pay to a few extra vacation days.

3. Invest in scheduling software- Scheduling apps give employees real time updates about their work schedule. Not only does this give them as much notice as possible, but it also increases accountability levels for your entire workforce.

Make sure employees receive proper training in mobile apps and that the employee scheduling software you invest in has compatibility with preexisting software. Compatible time tracking and time clock features can provide seamless integration of multiple mobile apps and increase employee engagement.

The Benefits of Employee Scheduling Software

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Whether you are a small business or apart of a large chain, investing in a great employee scheduling software can save your business massive quantities of resources. Benefits of employee scheduling software include-

1. Time tracking capabilities- The ability to clearly see what tasks employees are working on and how long they spend on each task greatly improves the capacity to schedule employees effectively. A time clock and easy use software capabilities improve employee's ability to track their own productivity as well.

Time tracking notifications will alert your human resources department to any recurring employee tardiness and absenteeism. Labor costs are also decreased when work time is scheduled in accordance with labor laws and regulations.

2. Real time updates- Whether you are onboarding a new employee who wants to increase their hours or hit with an open shift to fill last minute, real time updates will be sent out to your entire staff with just a few clicks.

Instead of having to contact each employee individually, real time notifications are sent to mobile apps in order to instantly let employees know about any work schedule changes or updates.

3. Increased communication- A great employee scheduling software will offer a centralized employee communication platform. Increased communication encourages collaboration and positively influences your entire company culture.

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