Employee scheduling is one of the most critical business operations. Even if you run a small business with a limited workforce, you still cannot ignore schedules. In fact, you need to schedule your staff effectively and efficiently if you want to get the work done.
A fair and proper schedule creates order and flow in operations, minimizes conflicts and ensures the smooth running of the business. Hence, you must make sure that you have a proper employee scheduling system in place, irrespective of the size of your business. Here are some smart and effective workforce scheduling tips for small businesses.
Know your team
Even before you create schedules for your team, you need to know them well enough. The idea is to understand the needs and preferences of individuals and see what really works for them. This will help you allocate tasks and shifts accordingly. Scheduling according to employee preferences boosts employee productivity and engagement. Both of these matters for businesses as they have the potential to take you closer to your objectives. If you are managing a small business, knowing your team is obviously easier because you have fewer people to manage.
Know your business
Besides understanding the needs of your team, you should also know your business inside out. Consider the type of product or service you are dealing with to identify the seasonal demand patterns. Also, know the hours and days of the week that get the maximum foot traffic. Once you understand these parameters, you will be able to design schedules to match the needs during peak times. At the same time, you can cut down on costs by opting for temps during these high-demand periods rather than invest heavily in a larger team that you may not need throughout the year.
Create a balance
Managing shifts is not just about allocating them according to the preference and comfort level of the employees. It is also about creating a balance in the team that works in specific shifts. You need to aspire for a mix of seasoned resources and less experienced ones so that the shift cost stays within budget but you still get optimal performance. This may be challenging for small businesses, considering the limited team size. But with little practice, you will surely be able to manage.
Invest in a software tool
Just because you are running a small business does not mean that you should not invest in the latest technology. The smartest thing to do would be to have a tech tool in place for making and managing schedules. In fact, you should implement the country’s top scheduling software to empower your small business in this context. Look for one that offers a rich set of features and serves as an employee communication platform as well. This way, you will be able to drive innovation for your business effectively, even if you have to spend on the software tool.
Enable effective communication
When it comes to streamlining employee scheduling for your small business, enable effective communication at all levels. Have the schedules decided well in advance and inform the employees about their work shifts on time. In case of changes in shifts, communicate them immediately to the concerned employees. A two-way communication system is mandatory because employees should also be able to convey their availability or need for day-offs to the managers. Also, team communication can drive efficacy for employee scheduling as it enables employees to find their own replacements if they need sick leave or day off suddenly. A scheduling app that doubles up as a communication system can be of help.
Honor time off requests
Another aspect of effective employee scheduling for small businesses is to honor the time off requests of the employees. Remember that they are humans and need to have a work-life balance. If you are able to build a culture that respects the work-life balance, your workforce will be more engaged and productive. A happier workforce is more likely to stay with your business in the long run. Employee retention is critical for small businesses because it reduces recruitment and training costs. Even while you honor time off requests, you should have proper rules in place to ensure that employees do not exploit the system.
Effective employee scheduling for small businesses is not rocket science, provided that you take the right approach. At the same time, you must absolutely follow these tips to ensure that you are able to get the best from your employees. A productive and satisfied workforce can be a catalyst for small business and optimal scheduling can definitely unlock their potential.