Employee Scheduling Problem: Part 1 of a 2-part series
Accurate and efficient employee scheduling is an absolute necessity for companies in today’s highly competitive environment. As a leader in business, you know we don’t live in a world where:
- Your budget to cover labors costs is unlimited
- There are plenty of hours in the day to complete any task
- Workers are always available and never require supervision
Instead, we live in the real world where any scheduling error can negatively impact your organization’s bottom line. Your goal in managing workflow is to ensure sufficient staffing levels so you can meet the needs of your customers. Accidental understaffing doesn’t just affect the service you give your clients. It also increases stress for your workers as they scramble to get things done. Morale, quality of work, productivity, and employee retention all suffer if you don’t schedule adequately. Of course, this is a careful balancing act. Labor costs are one of the most significant recurring expenses your company has. Because of this, overstaffing can be just as detrimental as having too few workers on the job. Paying for superfluous labor (or unnecessary overtime) cuts into your organization’s profitability. It also leaves employees adrift without enough to do.
Top 5 Challenges Caused by Traditional Employee Scheduling
Manual Staff Scheduling has Low ROI
Creating an employee schedule by hand is a daunting task for managers and supervisors. Matching worker availability to staffing requirements and controlling labor costs at the same time is complicated. When managers produce a schedule manually, they often end up causing inflated payroll in some areas while leaving other departments chronically understaffed. Worse yet, achieving this sub-optimal result usually takes over 8 hours per week just to create a schedule for 70-100 workers. A manager who takes employee scheduling seriously may spend much more time on this task – up to 14 hours per week. Still, the outcome can be disappointing simply because this method is inefficient.
Employees Aren’t Kept Up to Speed
In today’s dynamic production environments, last minute changes are common. This means you have probably noticed the following problem with manually created employee schedules: workers are frequently unaware of last minute changes. That’s because they have no visibility in their schedules. This causes unintended time & attendance violations that managers and HR staff members have to investigate and address. When an employee doesn’t show up to cover his/her shift, other workers must stay longer. This increases your overtime costs. Or, you have to cope with the inevitable problems caused by running a shift with a skeleton crew. In addition to being confused by the lack of a transparent staff scheduling process, employees may also become resentful. It isn’t unusual for workers to feel that covert decisions regarding time off requests and shift scheduling are being made out of favoritism.
Payroll Errors Eat Up Valuable Resources
When it comes to getting timesheets turned in to Payroll, the problems with manual employee scheduling become even more evident. Each timesheet has to be tediously compared with logged hours. Managers must review each sheet after the fact, correct it, and send the edits to Payroll. This is not a productive use of time for your department heads. Of course, if a busy manager makes an error in editing, payroll employees have to edit (by hand) again.
Unbudgeted Expenses Cause Conflict
A decentralized, manual scheduling process makes it tough to keep staffing expenses and unapproved overtime under control. This is a common cause of unbudgeted departmental expenditures. Without real-time access to staffing data, current schedules, and budgeting parameters, managers have difficulty finding the most suitable, cost efficient employee to fill a gap. They have no choice but to make an uninformed decision and cope afterward with the consequences of incurring unbudgeted expenses.
Labor Law Compliance Risks
Inconsistency and poor record keeping are the most common offenses that trigger fines for labor law and worker pay violations. Without visibility in employee scheduling (and complete, accurate records), HR may be unaware of a problem until it is too late. This not only puts your company at risk for being penalized by government agencies, it also opens you up to litigation from employees.