You know that feeling of being in the right place at the right time? Well, that’s not serendipity: that’s shift management.
Shift management is a phrase that packs a lot of punch. You’ve got planning, scheduling, coordinating, happy employees, and if you’re not managing things right, frustrated ones, too.
What is shift management?
Shift management is the process of organizing and managing the schedules of shift workers.
As you might have already guessed, shift management has an HR component to it. A portion of the process includes dealing with compliance, including labor laws and regulations for your areas, and communicating with the team to ensure their shifts are suitable for their schedule and preferences, along with those of your business.
What are the benefits of effective shift management?
There are a lot of benefits of effective shift management, and they don’t all just impact your team. Here are four that will have you wondering, “why didn’t I think of this sooner?”.
1. Shift management reduces labor costs
Before we jump into how to reduce costs, let’s look at what the price of labor actually entails. The cost of labor includes the sum of all wages paid, plus how much it costs to provide employee benefits and how much needs to be paid in state and federal payroll taxes.
Without effective shift management, you might miss the fact that Sam now requires overtime pay, and although they haven’t mentioned it to you, is feeling a bit burnt out. Especially because, now, at 6 in the morning, Sam is cleaning empty tables instead of sleeping because—surprise—Monday’s aren’t actually that busy.
So instead of an empty coffee shop on a quiet Monday morning, now you decide to open later in the day. And on Tuesday, when customers flock to the coffee shop for their afternoon break and relay yet another manic Monday morning to Sam, they just laugh along as they make that flat white they’re famous for.
2. Shift management creates a more transparent workplace
The story above is a prime example of how transparency and effective shift management can go hand-in-hand.
Thankfully, effective shift management can help communicate arising conflicts with ease. For Homebase customer Eve Hogan, who owns The Sacred Garden in Makawao, HI, having tools like Homebase’s scheduling app to manage and communicate shifts with her team has been a “gamechanger”.
3. Shift management results in better employee performance
Better employee performance can occur when the right number of team members are working when they should be. In this case, “should be” includes the needs of the business but also that of the employee. For example, if you continuously schedule an introverted coworker in a customer service role just because you might need a few extra feet on the floor, you might be setting yourself up for failure.
4. Shift management gives employees a morale boost
Effective shift management is just one of the ways to boost employee morale: one that doesn’t involve extra perks, like free coffee or donuts in the breakroom.
Shift management best practices
There are many best practices of shift management. Let’s review four that are all easy, affordable, and effective.
1. Use scheduling software
Implementing scheduling software is one of the simplest ways to start managing shifts more effectively. It automates the entire process, and stores your schedules on the internet instead of on your desk or the bulletin board. With cloud-based software, schedules are accessible by workers in an app from any device and in real time.
Managers can build and update the schedule from anywhere, no matter how many users per month they have. Connected time-clock features make it easy to have a full picture of the labor costs, letting you view employee performance to make better decisions about scheduling.
Scheduling software can also send your team calendar reminders about their work schedule and email reminders when their shift is coming up. Similarly, scheduling apps can also show you which employees show up late most often so you can staff appropriately.
2. Give your team autonomy
Being able to give employees access to their schedules, including on-the-go updates and edits, isn’t only super convenient for your team, it builds trust with them, too. Trust in your abilities to make sure their scheduling needs are covered, and trust in themselves. This is especially true when you give your team the opportunity to take accountability for when they’re working, and even when they’re not.
3. Plan for the unexpected
As a business owner, you probably understand the phrase “plan for the unexpected” better than most. This phrase also applies to shift management. You can do that by building flexibility into your scheduling and keeping certain team members on-call, or by having the ability to reach out to them in one place, like a communication app.
4. Make communication easy
Good communication means more transparency and clarity between your team members. When employees know what’s happening in their workplace and understand why you make certain decisions, they’ll have more confidence in you as an employer.
One way to build communication skills for schedule management is by leaving shift notes. This is the practice of communicating with employees by leaving notes within their schedules. And we’re not talking about sticky notes. These notes, left in a scheduling app, are useful for team members who need to know about something specific about their shifts, like if there’s an incoming delivery or a new team member starting.
You can also set up alerts and reminders to build communication. For example, if employees forget to clock in and out of their shifts, you can set up a reminders feature to send an automatic nudge.
4 tips to improve shift management
Improving shift management doesn’t have to be a job on its own. Here are four simple tips to help you manage shifts smoothly.
1. Talk to your team
And encourage them to do the same! Communicating with managers and other coworkers is just one way to improve shift management.
2. Share, share, share
Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to shift management. Always be transparent in your schedule changes and updates, and try to do so as they happen. Yep: that means if you decide to close up early because of a slow day, connect with every employee to give them the heads up.
Sharing could also be as simple as leaving a note. For instance, if you’re a business with a delivery team, you might use the shift notes feature on Homebase to provide the addresses of your customers, plus reminders of their furry friends and their less-than friendly demeanor.
3. Encourage accountability
When you encourage accountability, you’re letting employees know that you trust them to get the job done, and done on time. When team members feel valued, they feel more accountable for their actions and the work they’re completing. That includes showing up on time, taking the right amount of breaks, and increasing their productivity, not to mention morale.
Keeping track of attendance also helps hold employees accountable for their attendance and punctuality. It encourages them to make an effort to be on time and present.
4. Use a shift scheduling app
We don’t have to tell you how busy you are as a business owner. You’ve got schedules to manage, customers to please, employees to train and retain, and so much more. So, when it comes to shift management, opt for convenience. And speed. And a seamless process.
Are your employees expecting more communication and more notice for their shifts? A scheduling app lets you send schedules each week instantly, all in one place. No email, no bulletin board—just in the app. This reduces the likelihood of no-shows, and even lets workers coordinate covers in the same place, too. Not only that, but you can send out updates as needed, and your employees can do the same. Win win.
Shift management FAQs
What is shift management?
Shift management is the process of organizing and managing the schedules of shift workers. It includes planning what hours, days, and weeks, predicting how busy or slow they might be. Plus, it’s important to coordinate who’s available and best suited for those shifts, and track past shifts. This includes monitoring attendance records, managing time off, and checking in on employee morale and performance.
Why is shift management important when scheduling hourly workers?
Shift management is important when scheduling hourly workers because it helps your business staff up–or down—properly during specific times. It also makes sure that workers know the when’s, where’s and who’s of their shifts, and the expectations around them.
How can shift management software improve scheduling?
Shift management software can improve scheduling by making it quick and seamless, and if you need it to be, consistent. It helps monitor employee hours, but can integrate with your other must-have people management tools like timesheets, payroll, and team happiness.
Is your business struggling with shift management? Homebase makes it easier to schedule shifts for your team to prevent accidental overtime, make employees feel valued, and minimize shift swapping (while still making it easy). Get started for free.
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