Scheduling staff across multiple locations to satisfy the peaks and troughs of business demands is a sticky problem. Multi-location employee scheduling is the process of managing and scheduling your people to the right location, with the right skills at the right time. Multi-location businesses often have the additional headache of shift workers as well as seasonal and hourly paid staff. Some business examples include franchises, fast-food, retail chains, hospitality, construction, supermarkets, manufacturing, airlines along with medical and healthcare.
With job vacancies hitting a 20 year high in the UK, businesses need to be effective and efficient with scheduling their existing staff. Its easy to get tangled up with the complexity of managing employees, across locations, varying shift patterns and staff skills. And this means it can become overwhelming, but the need to get is right is not only a business imperative, it’s a staff retention and engagement challenge.
No longer a thankless task
In many organisations, it’s often a difficult and thankless task to schedule employees in their various shifts and locations. The individual responsible needs to think long and hard before placing workers in their various time slots. For some businesses this is a central function, for others, scheduling is done by site managers. Whoever is responsible for multi-location employee scheduling often spends a considerable amount of their working week committed to the task – often as much as 60% of their time depending on the business. They also need to consider the worker skills, availability and of course regulatory compliance along with business rules and regulations. When done successfully, productivity is maximised, customer service and customer experience is not compromised, sales are not affected and labour costs are managed.
Scheduling needs to be repeated weekly and monthly and can often be wrecked as staff change their availability, are absent or wish to swap shifts. This can be further compounded if a business operates 24/7 with staff having multiple roles all at different rates of pay. Therefore, needing to respond to the demands of your business and your people is a reality. Managing this process is not only tedious, but is prone to error if done manually using spreadsheets. Manual processes also lack transparency for staff, which frustrates them. For businesses using manual processes, communication is often slow resulting is disengaged staff unable to manage their home life, personal needs and child care arrangements.
The answer and solution to all these frustrations and challenges is the implementation and use of technology and digital solutions. Many (but not all) will make light weather of scheduling staff across multiple locations.
Smarter, faster multi-location employee scheduling
No, its not a myth that you can build your employee schedules in a matter of minutes, rather than hours while controlling costs. Using technology to manage schedules is guaranteed to save you time and reduce your costs. And often spot conflicts and errors that are missed by humans -even the most talented schedulers.
Smart scheduling technology enables you to efficiently and effectively manage time off, availability and avoid scheduling overlaps. Additionally, match skills to shifts across multiple locations, and ensure compliance to WTD and other regulations and internal rules. Automation can take of everything, with no human intervention too. Many businesses prefer a ‘light touch’ approach.
This is not just solving the challenges of multi-location employee scheduling, its delivering what staff want too.
- Visibility 24/7 through a mobile-first app
- Ability to see what shifts you have been scheduled for in real time
- Show availability for additional hours
- Be scheduled to work at more than one location based on personal preference
- Request shift swaps
- Robust compliance
- Be scheduled for different roles, in different locations with different rates of pay
- Request time off
- Robust compliance
- Payroll accuracy
- Streamlined communications – no missing out on news
- See who else has been scheduled to your shift and location
- Ability to plan ahead and manage home life and personal circumstances. Better work-life balance
Paper free and effective
These solutions allow users to view multiple location schedules separately or all together. Access for this can be configured based on role and responsibilities too. Its faster and can be viewed in real time rather than the limitations of paper and manual schedules. This allows mangers and leaders across all locations 100% visibility, knowing that their view is current due to real-time processing. Smart technology also facilitates multi-location across time zones too.
These solutions give employers complete visibility into what employees are currently working, when they clocked in, were they late, or what they are set to work across all of their locations without having to be physically in each location. Additional benefits include being able to structure and schedule different areas of work, roles or daily activities, at different rates of pay. Staff can be scheduled for different roles, in different locations in a single shift. For example, scheduled as an assistant manager in one location for the first part of the shift and as a non-manager at another location for the second half of the shift, allowing for travel time between locations. This variation is tracked and immediately informs payroll of the different pay across the shift and ensures payroll is correct for the employee too.
Automation and compliance
Every business needs to comply with its own set of regulations and compliance. These are never static, which means businesses need to handle any changes that happen. Health and safety, training, WTD, and different rates of pay for different roles within shifts create complexity for scheduling as well as payroll. This all adds up to a significant HR challenge. Failure to get it right results in number of errors, from incorrect pay, insufficient staff for a shift, overstaffing, staff turnover and the inability to run your business effectively.
Automation can fix these challenges for businesses. Sophisticated HR software creates a robust compliance environment ensuring staff are qualified for the work they are scheduled for as well as complying regulations such as WTD. Your choice could be to operate a fully automated system, that requires no manual intervention by a manager. Offering businesses, the opportunity to remove validation whilst maintaining complete control.
This is not an abdication of responsibility its an enhancement for both the business and for staff. Operating in a digital environment delivers real-time data and information to managers and leader, giving them insights and highlights where action or intervention is needed. And best of all save countless hours each week and reduce labour costs.
Greater flexibility and communication
One of the key reasons why multi-location employee scheduling works so well is its built-in communication tools and data collection. They provide more effective communication for all, by providing a single source of truth. One platform and one go-to for all shift information, rotas and scheduling. The streamline internal communication creates a collaborative and real-time environment for the entire workforce. Many of who can feel alienated and disengaged because of their shifts and locations and interaction with others.
You can send messages immediately, staff are notified immediately about shift changes, approvals and updates. This keeps everyone informed, gives employees a voice, and builds a better culture which improves staff engagement. Everyone gets full visibility across different locations, areas of work, roles, daily activities and departments.