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3 Tips to Streamline Seasonal Scheduling

Wednesday July 21st, 2021

Estimated time to read: 3 minutes

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Building and managing employee schedules can be incredibly complex and time-consuming. This is especially true when planning for busy seasons, including summer and winter holidays. 

Although the “busy” time of year varies by business, scheduling managers oftentimes find it challenging to prepare for the unique needs of their company’s peak season – which may include big projects, longer operating hours, limited employee availability (particularly around holidays) and staying compliant with local scheduling regulations. This may be the reason why 28 percent of human resources (HR) leaders say they are planning to invest in workforce scheduling technology this year. One option is investing in a human capital management (HCM) platform that includes predictive analytics to meet time, attendance and other dynamic workforce management needs. After all, technology can play a big role in smarter scheduling for the busy season and beyond. Here are three tips to help employers get the most out of their investment:

Tip #1: Know Your Needs

In order to plan for seasonal shifts, it is important to understand the scheduling needs for each role within the organization. Knowing information like the number of employees required to perform a specific task or project, as well as the time it will take for completion of that task or project, makes a huge impact when developing schedules – particularly during times of the year when there may be multiple employees taking time off for vacation. 

While knowing labor needs is critical, isolved Product Manager Brad Ronek notes that a scheduling solution that takes these needs into consideration and forecasts the future can truly streamline processes.

“Being able to look at what labor is needed to complete a specific task or project and really understanding the number of employees that are necessary to fulfill those needs can be really tough,” said Ronek. “A scheduling solution that enables HR teams to put that data into a system can go a long way in streamlining the scheduling process. By setting up staffing rules and roles, a lot of the guesswork can be alleviated. This is because the system processes all of the information and makes it easy to identify what kind of coverage is needed.”

Tip #2: Review the Trends

Understanding business needs is the first piece of the scheduling puzzle, but the second piece is understanding marketplace trends. It is important to keep in mind that this may require digging into historical data since anything recorded in 2020 is likely an anomaly due to the pandemic. Even though the marketplace is still going through a transition, pe-pandemic data can be a good benchmark to identify possible trends during upcoming peak seasons – especially because many social distancing regulations have been lifted across the United States. A predictive people analytics solution could take historical data and make predictions about what to expect next.

“When preparing for seasonal peaks, it is important to go back and look at analytics to see what type of coverage is required,” said Ronek. “With the right technology, you can utilize the rules within the system to understand how the schedule needs to be adjusted based on those trends. You have the ability to enter that data, or surface the data automatically through an AI-based product, and identify how many staff members are needed to handle the same or increased coverage for the approaching season. Again, with predictive analytics, this process is automated.”

Additionally, it is imperative to plan ahead when it comes to staffing – especially in today’s environment where some industries are facing talent shortages. This is essential so that scheduling managers are able to cover rush times, longer operating hours and other coverage interruptions. 

Tip #3: Empower Your Employees

Employee experience is a priority for the majority of organizations, and one way to improve experience is by empowering employees. According to Ronek, scheduling technology can do just that.

“Scheduling solutions make a huge impact by empowering employees to manage their schedules in a self-serve fashion,” said Ronek. “Employees are given the ability to enter their availability and pick up shifts when needed. Beyond that, employees are also able to collaborate with their own teams to request shift coverage by qualified colleagues in the case that something comes up and they need to take a day off. Managers are also empowered in this scenario as a predictive system can give them answers to what’s to come when approving or denying time off.”

This type of functionality not only empowers employees to take control of their own schedules, but also streamlines approvals and communications from front-line managers.

Simplified Scheduling for Every Season

With more than half of HR departments receiving budget increases this year, it is not a surprise that many HR leaders are looking into scheduling technology to streamline and simplify processes. When it is done right, scheduling can make a big difference in the overall happiness of a workforce. An intelligently connected HCM platform will enable HR teams to remove the guesswork from scheduling while also empowering employees to take an active role in managing their own shifts.

Some businesses are experiencing an uptick in productivity and sales as employees reap the benefits of having advanced notice of their hours. Download this eBook to learn how predictive scheduling works and what it means for the future.