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How to Plan a Shift for Your Employees as Easily as Possible

Creating a fair rota system can be a tough task for employers. It can take a long time to create a shift plan. Sick leaves, spontaneous holiday enquiries or unfair shift distribution are issues that add up to the complexity of that task. Yet, a fair rota is essential for smooth processes, employee satisfaction and efficiency.

That’s why more and more employers choose to create shift systems with a designated software. In this article, you’ll learn what to be aware of when planning a rota schedule for employees.

Define Your Needs

Depending on which business branch you operate in, it can be smart to work in shifts. Shifts are typical in catering, in the hotel industry, in customer service, in the medical field and in manufacturing, but there are other branches that require shift work.

In order to create a fair rota system, you should define your needs: Do you plan on working in one shift only, or will two shifts be enough? Sometimes, a three-shift model is necessary, while some businesses allow for a flextime model. Make sure to hire enough staff to cover your needs, as a lack of staff will usually lead to overtime and frustration among the employees.

When doing so, keep in mind that sick leaves, days off and pregnancy or maternity leaves can still lead to understaffing. It’s important to keep track of shifts, manpower and vacation times in order to plan shifts efficiently. Sometimes, it’s necessary to expand your business in order to avoid understaffing.

Keep Track of Your Staff

Employer life could be so simple if all shifts were identical and if all your employees worked the same amount of hours and didn’t have preferences. Real life is different, though. There might be employees on your payroll, who only work ten, 15, 20 or 30 hours a week, while others work full-time.

That means, you cannot simply distribute your employees on shifts fairly. Instead, you’ll need to keep track of every one’s working hours before filling the shifts with manpower. You should also have your vacation schedule at hand when creating a rota to make sure not to include someone in your shift schedule, who’s on vacation.

Digital solutions can help you plan shifts as they bundle all information on working hours, absences and qualifications. That’s how they reduce the risk of bad planning.

Let Your Employees Participate

It’s normal that employees have preferences. Let’s say, you run a café and have ten employees. There might be two or three employees among them, who prefer working together because they’re a well-coordinated team. There might also be one person, who enjoys polishing silverware, filling up salt shakers or cleaning the dry storage. That person is perfect for peaceful shifts without a high number of guests. Others might prefer the really stressful shifts in the afternoon.

If you manage to take individual preferences into account, your staff might be a lot more ambitious, which leads to higher efficiency – hence, to a better output. Of course, that kind of individual planning takes even more time than the stolid filling of the shift plan. Good rota software allows your employees to plan themselves, though. As they have the option to sign themselves in for specific shifts, that will lead to a higher employee satisfaction, which will pay off for you as well.

Analyze Your Data

Creating shift plans is one thing. Learning from bad planning is another. In order to seek further improvement, it’s important to save old shift plans and data. That way, you can look back and analyze why things went really well one week and rather poorly another week.

If you use available data for further planning, it’s easier to avoid understaffing, overstaffing and colliding absences. A fair rota is a learning system that can easily be disturbed by bad planning. But if you play it wisely, it can lead to more business success.

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