Employee Scheduling is Dangerous…

In the wrong hands!

Employee scheduling is probably the most complex task a team leader or line manager will have to contend with in the workplace. It is also the most important because it has direct impact on the bottom line; and it is the worse neglected because it is hard. It gets more complicated because it gets mixed up with ‘Cloud’ speak, mobile “App” and all the technical ‘Gizmos’ that in the end are simply channels of communication. When little or no thought is given to what is being communicated you just get more efficient at creating a mess.

Employee scheduling is rarely easy in fact, except for the trivial, it is never easy; and neither is there any benefit making it unbelievably complicated whereby you feel you have to sink a few million dollars into a system that regresses back to ‘under the counter’ spreadsheets a year or so later.

So a word of advice. Stop looking for a system that is ‘easy to use’ and start thinking about a system that is easy to understand. Easy enough to understand and competently manage the relationships between four fundamental areas of employee scheduling practice: Staff Count; Staff Costs; Production Hours; and finally Fatigue & Risk – including the commute to and from work.

Less than these four and you are messing around wasting business dollars – or worse as the fatigue and risk index goes off scale. More than these four and you are already too expensive for the business and delivering diminishing returns.

The problem with ‘easy to use’ is it will almost certainly not be up to the reality of the task . Whereas ‘easy to understand’ means you can learn something useful and be more productive. If you don’t have the time for any of this, then get somebody to do it for you and click here!

Here is one example about those relationships demonstrating ‘worse case – best case’ outcomes from an extract of a medium sized healthcare facility.

over staff count blog

‘Worst Case – Best Case’

One final example about the impact of costs. The numbers can be staggering. We reviewed the proposed working arrangements of an IT group in the Financial Sector. The Senior Management Team (SMT) couldn’t put their ‘finger on’ what they thought was wrong. A couple of Team Leaders had managed to introduce a “new” shift pattern for a small team of technicians, and was about to be adopted more widely by around 100 technicians’. Had they done so they would have added an additional $428k to the company ‘tab’ without adding one production hour of benefit to the business; or even adding one hour of ‘happiness’ to staff time-off – a ‘lose-lose’ situation if ever there was one.

OK so perhaps you think ‘dangerous’ is too strong a word for something as innocuous as ‘Employee Scheduling’. As more businesses run to the cost-cutting expedient of reducing the headcount as their first choice option, there are many that think it is exactly the right word.

Work is all about the shift pattern.

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  1. […] Employee scheduling is dangerous highlights the dangers of underestimating this task, while some simply avoid it, and others just do it as fast they can to get it out of the way. […]

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