Employers today face many scheduling challenges – talent shortages, supply chain disruptions, fluctuations in consumer demand and employees preferring greater flexibility.To overcome these barriers, they must consider innovative approaches to shift planning1, such as collaborative scheduling and new forms of scheduling techniques. Solutions with predictive algorithms and artificial intelligence can help maintain productivity even when unforeseen circumstances arise.

What is a shift plan?

Shift planning is the process of assigning employees to work during busy working hours and scaling them down when consumer demand subsides. In this way, employers help ensure they have the right people working at the right hours to maximize workforce productivity and minimize costs.

However, the needs of the company should not exceed the needs of the employees. There is a human element to shift scheduling, and employers must prioritize work-life balance if they want employees to be engaged and retain their services.

One way to take a more employee-centric approach to shift planning is to employ collaborative scheduling. They allow employees to pre-set their preferences and availability, or swap shifts with co-workers, rather than managers making individual schedules. With this increased control, employees tend to experience less absenteeism and better job satisfaction.

How to start a shift program

Collaborative scheduling and other modern shift planning methods require technology. To successfully transition from manual processes to software solutions, employers typically follow these steps:

  1. Assess your organization’s needs and consult with employee scheduling software vendors to see if their features meet business needs.
  2. Test the selected software with a small team and make any necessary adjustments based on their feedback.
  3. Roll out the scheduling platform to other parts of the organization, as well as key employee education and training sessions.
  4. Provides ongoing support so employees can easily review their schedules and managers can approve scheduling requests.
  5. Create a scheduling policy that is widely communicated to employees and introduced to new hires during onboarding.
  6. Regular workforce analysis is performed to ensure that predetermined workforce levels are aligned with the organization’s goals and growth objectives.

Shift Planning Best Practices

Scheduling solutions that help prevent understaffing and overstaffing while balancing the needs of employers and employees may be considered the gold standard of shift planning. Even with the right tools, employers can still benefit from some basic best practices:

  • Make sure every shift has employees with the skills needed to meet business needs.
  • Make the schedule easily accessible and post it at least two weeks in advance.2
  • Be transparent with employees and explain how scheduling decisions are made.
  • Comply with applicable laws regarding predictive scheduling, overtime, meal breaks, shift lengths, etc.
  • If someone calls in sick unexpectedly, expect changes and have a replacement ready.

Benefits of Shift Planning

Shift planning software gives supervisors a clearer view of schedules, gives employees more control over how their work is structured, and increases communication between all parties. In turn, employers can:

  • Deliver exceptional customer experiences across all channels.
  • Maximize productivity and control costs across all locations.
  • Keep up with changing market conditions.
  • Improve strategic planning and conversions.
  • Attract and retain valuable employees.

How to Calculate Shift Planning Costs

With the right workforce management solution, employers can better control labor costs. They can:

  • Use metrics such as hours worked and labor constraints to calculate shift planning costs.
  • View workforce forecasts, budgets, and actual costs to plan timelines for a location more effectively.
  • Adjust plans in real time to meet business needs while staying within budget.

Example shift plan

In this example, an employer uses a workforce management solution with optimized scheduling and forecasting. It can:

  • Forecast labor needs and create schedules that minimize costs and maximize productivity.
  • Automate forecasts, increasing accuracy to 15-minute increments to meet employer, business and budget requirements.
  • Provides an at-a-glance view of business performance information that can be filtered to specific locations.

Best Shift Planning Software Features

There are several levels of shift planning solutions, from basic online scheduling to more advanced system-assisted scheduling. Depending on their specific needs and the solution they choose, employers can expect:

  • Plan, build and manage schedules easily from your smartphone or tablet.
  • Improve decision-making with AI recommendations.
  • Accurately forecast workforce needs using precise business and workforce forecasting algorithms and actionable data.
  • Make sure employees with the right skills are there when they are most needed.
  • Empower employees and prioritize their preferences through self-scheduling, shift changes, and last-minute changes.
  • Access the latest scheduling data to help keep your budget under control.
  • Set, monitor, and report on workforce key performance indicators (KPIs), including efficiency, productivity, forecast accuracy, workforce utilization, and other custom KPIs.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Shifts Are Scheduled

Why is shift planning important?

Shift planning is essential because both understaffing and overstaffing increase labor costs. Poorly managed schedules can also lead to low employee engagement, low productivity and high turnover.

What should a shift plan include?

At a minimum, shift planners should offer online and mobile scheduling capabilities and some form of employee self-service. More advanced solutions can provide collaborative scheduling, business and workforce forecasting, and access to real-time, actionable data.

What is Shift Workforce Planning?

Shift-based workforce planning strives to coordinate the number of employees working at any given time with anticipated consumer or business demand. The goal is to prevent understaffing and overstaffing, both of which increase labor costs.

What are the five scheduling principles?

  1. Adjust schedules to changing business needs to reduce overtime and labor costs.
  2. Consider employee preferences when scheduling shifts to avoid dissatisfaction and burnout.
  3. Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as efficiency, productivity, workforce utilization, and more.
  4. Address the varying labor needs of each location to improve service and conversions.
  5. Comply with regulations regarding overtime, shift breaks and fair scheduling, as well as applicable predictive scheduling laws.

What is a common work schedule?

There is a shift schedule that can meet the needs of almost any business or industry. Examples include:

  • fixed schedule – Employees work the same hours from one week to the next.
  • split schedule – An employee works two non-consecutive shifts on the same day.
  • rotation schedule – Employees work weekly shifts.
  • flexible schedule – Employees organize their own working hours within certain limits.
  • compressed schedule – Employees complete a full week’s workload in less time.
  • on call schedule – Employees work after-hours only when required.

This article is intended to be used as a starting point for analyzing how to develop a work plan, and is not intended to be a comprehensive resource for requirements. It provides practical information on the subject matter with the understanding that ADP is not providing legal or tax advice or other professional services.

1This article is not meant to contain predictive scheduling law requirements or to comply with the same.

2Note that predictive scheduling laws (if applicable) may affect how schedules are created, when and how they are provided to employees, and other factors.

Mention Sources Can Request us to Edit This Article

1. www.adp.com 

2. Quora


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