How to Manage Your Employee’s Work Schedule
Figuring out your employees’ work schedule is a pain point for many managers in the blue collar and service industries. Even the most organized managers have found that the best laid plans can still fall apart at the last minute. Luckily, we’ve compiled a few tips below that will enable you to successfully set your team’s work schedule with minimal headache.
Post As Early As Possible
The more advance notice you give your employees about their schedule, the more time you will have to be able to accommodate any conflicts that may arise. Ideally, you should try to share or post the team schedule a couple weeks to a month in advance. This gives your employees ample time to resolve any conflicts or find replacements for their shifts.
Work Around Your Top Performers
Every manager has their favorites. And for good reason, they show up when you need them to. For each shift, schedule one of your most efficient workers to lead the rest of the team. In doing so, you can be sure that your customers will be taken care of and operations will run smoothly.
The other benefit of always having at least one top worker in a shift is so that other employees always have someone reliable to lean on. Even watching an experienced employee can serve as invaluable training to a new employee.
Utilize One Central Communication Method
Whether it’s a group text thread or app, it’s crucial that your entire team uses the same communication method for work scheduling. By keeping all conversation and activity centralized in one location, you can help prevent confusion as well as ensure everyone has the most up-to-date information.
If possible, you’ll want to link your communication to the actual schedule, whether it is on a spreadsheet or other task management tool. This can help people update their schedules in real time.
Give Time Off When Possible
The smartest way to ensure that an employee continues to do a good job is by being a good manager. This means respecting their personal time and work-life balance by honoring requests for time-off and vacation requests whenever possible.
To avoid being taken advantage of, set clear rules and expectations around these requests. These can include how early time off should be requested, how much time off is allotted and whether they are responsible for finding their own replacement.
Always Have a Backup
A car breaks down. There’s traffic on the freeway. Things happen. And they always seem to happen at the most inopportune times, right? As a manager you already know this. So the best way to prepare for a disaster is to have a backup plan.
If someone can’t make it to their shift, you should always have a stable of on-call workers who can step in last minute. Every schedule should include a backup employee (who should be readily available at all times). Former employees who still maintain a good relationship with you may be another on-call option.
Managing a schedule will never be a simple task but if you have the buy in and collaboration of your employees, it can and will be a lot simpler. Just remember to apply the tips above so everyone on your team feels heard and included in the schedule-making process.