Staff scheduling software can cut inefficiencies, maximizing employee productivity without sacrificing morale or resources—but only if you’re using it properly. To get the most out of your scheduling software, you can’t simply install it, skim over the ‘Getting Started’ section, and hope your employees pick up on things sooner or later; that doesn’t work with scheduling, or any other workplace tech solution. So keep these five tips in mind as you implement and grow familiar with your scheduling software, so you can see the benefits in action.
#1: Learn your software
Developing an intimate familiarity with what your software can and can’t do should always be the absolute highest priority when trying to maximize efficiency through technology. If you can’t take the time to learn the software intimately, make sure you have someone on staff who can and will—and can disseminate that information to everyone else within the company.
#2: Emphasize buy-in and compliance
It’s important to realize early on that your software can only help your company if your employees use it appropriately. That means taking the time to nurture a high level of buy-in from everyone, especially key decision-makers, managers, and thought leaders within your company. That’s why it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the benefits to employees as much as the benefits to the company. You’ll have a much better response selling your team on easier shift swapping, more consistent and reasonable schedules, and other benefits they’ll see first-hand than you would selling them on ‘efficiency’ and ‘productivity’ and ‘the bottom line’. Once you have that level of buy-in from the right people, it’s much easier to maintain a high level of compliance with scheduling best-practices and ensure maximal use of your software.
#3: Resolve all problems quickly
Problems can’t be allowed to linger in your scheduling system, whether those problems arise from the software, hardware, personnel, or scenarios involved. It doesn’t matter where the responsibility for a problem with your system stems from, only your ability to resolve it. That’s why the quality of a given piece of workplace technology often comes down to the quality of the support staff on the customer service line moreso than anything else.
#4: Watch for abusive and stressful practices
Software isn’t an excuse for bad practices, and can even exacerbate existing stress points in your scheduling process. You need to make sure you’re establishing schedules well in advance, avoid excessively low hours or high hours, and avoid untenable, nonsensical, or unsustainable scheduling habits. You shouldn’t be abdicating all responsibility for scheduling because of your software; that’s not how it’s meant to work, nor is it an efficient use of the technology. Your software makes it easier to understand when people are working, how much they are working, and make appropriate adjustments, which leads us to our final tip.
#5: Continuously research and refine
Good scheduling software isn’t just a shortcut for doing ways the same way you always have, it’s a window into the way your employees work. Make sure you’re looking closely at the data you gather from your scheduling activities—and make sure you’re making efforts to improve beyond the initial adoption of the software. Even if you’re comfortable with scheduling best practices and think your current system works quite well, there are almost always going to be improvements to make. Identify them, implement them, study them, and repeat the process.