The success of any business can depend on the quality of the staff it has on hand at any given time of the day. But sometimes, planning, creating, and implementing a schedule can be challenging, especially if the staff members in question work part-time hours. Fortunately, scheduling staff can be made far simpler with the help of an effective staff rota and a handful of best practices.
But how do you go about managing part-time employee scheduling so that the business thrives, and staff are happy?
In this guide we will aim to answer these questions and many more.
What is a staff rota?
A staff rota, also known as a roster or schedule, is an effective way to schedule staff who work on rotations or shifts. They typically include a list of employees and crucial information for the shift, including location, responsibilities, and tasks.
Why is a rota important?
Rotas are essential for shift-based businesses to help account for sudden changes to work patterns, including staff holidays, sickness and last-minute leave requests. As a result, they help keep staff happy and ensure managers and the business can handle sudden changes in demand easily.
What extra difficulties come from part-time employee scheduling?
Having a lot of part-time staff can offer flexibility where scheduling is concerned, but it also comes with a few issues if rotas are not managed correctly. Here are a few pros and cons that may arise when scheduling part-time staff:
Pros of part-time employee scheduling
- Part-time staff are often more flexible. This can allow them to fill awkward slots easier and gives employers more options when scheduling.
- Part-time staff are generally more open to overtime. If your business has a sudden influx of work or a sudden reduction in staff, part-timers may be able to take up the slack. On top of this, part-time staff often don’t qualify for enhanced overtime rates which can lead to lower overheads.
Cons of part-time employee scheduling
- More staff required. If a business relies mainly on part-time staff, they will need to have more of them to cover operating hours. This can lead to recruitment issues.
- More staff overlap. Even the best rota system can lead to overstaffing. This is especially true if staff are part-time, and can mean that businesses are left with unnecessarily overlapping shifts and the extra costs that come with it.
- Difficulty with training and development of staff. Due to the fact that part-time staff spend less time at work, they often have less time to participate in training or develop their skills. This can lead to a weaker and less productive workforce.
What are the benefits of having a robust rota system for managers of part-time staff?
When a rota is properly used, it can benefit managers and business owners in many ways, including:
a. Quick to build schedules
Building a staff rota is quick and simple when the right tools are used. Agile scheduling makes it easy for industries such as retail and hospitality (who often employ more part-time staff) to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and ensure they always have enough staff on hand to get tasks done.
b. Increases productivity
Part-time employees will stay on track and know exactly what they are supposed to be doing each day if the correct employee schedule is generated based on the job requirements and their skills.
By automating manual processes like time monitoring and report creation, workforce scheduling can help improve efficiency. This can allow HR administrators to devote more time to other critical tasks.
c. It allows business owners to analyse data to refine scheduling
Businesses likely have staff who are qualified for different positions and tasks. With a good staff rota in place, managers can schedule part-time employees based on the tasks that need to be covered. This approach ensures that they always have enough people to cover essential duties.
In addition, data from scheduling allows businesses to build staff rotas that account for busy times using sales reporting. This can allow them to avoid being short-staffed when it’s busiest and overstaffed when it’s quiet.
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d. Allows businesses to plan (and share) well in advance
Businesses can plan several weeks in advance if they have the right information, scheduling system, and tools to build their rota. These can then be communicated easily with staff which can help avoid them becoming angry, resentful or disengaged.
What are the benefits of a robust rota system for part-time employees?
While reliable rotas are for great for managers, they can also benefit part-time employees. Here are a few benefits to think about:
a. It can stabilize working hours for staff
A workforce is stable when they have a properly planned rota and employees are happier when they aren’t overworked or under-used. Moreover, a good rota system can ensure the even distribution of shifts between staff members regardless of staff availability.
b. Reduce conflict due to availability
An employee scheduling system encourages workers to cooperate on their schedules, which helps to prevent scheduling conflicts. Part-time employees often have complicated shift patterns as well as varied out of work commitments. This can lead to them becoming frustrated with their schedule and even combative with other employees who they see as having a better rota than them. A robust scheduling system can help prevent issues and allow staff to work together. Employee satisfaction is likely to grow as a result, with time off request and errors decrease.
c. Allows staff to balance their home/work priorities
There is likely a reason why an employee elects to be part-time. This may be due to childcare needs, or they may even have another job elsewhere. Whatever the reason, a good, efficient and fair rota system will allow them to work and earn a wage whilst meeting the needs of their out-of-work commitment.
How do you build a fair rota for part-time employees?
Balancing the needs of the business while keeping staff happy can be a nightmare when scheduling for part-time staff. There are, however, a few things you can do to make the task easier. These include:
a. Make sure employee information is up to date and stored in one place
To streamline the scheduling process, it’s important to ensure that all employee information, including availability, skills, and qualifications, is in one place.
With workforce management software it is possible to apply different rules to each staff profile to make scheduling quick and easy. You can also give staff access to the data so they can keep their availability and details up to date.
b. Use a rota template
An employer shouldn’t have to look back through previous shifts to figure out the best way to schedule employees every time they sit down to build a rota. Instead, a business should consider using a rota template that can help managers to replicate recurring shifts with the click of a button. Many online or commercially bought scheduling software include roster templates that allow businesses to save popular shifts and use them for future scheduling.
c. Empower employees to stay connected
Building an effective rota ensures that a business has the most up-to-date staff availability. Once a roster has been published, it’s important that staff are encouraged to confirm there are no conflicts or other issues. This gives them a feeling of empowerment over their own schedule.
To help prevent miscommunication, employers should empower employees with the tools to swap shifts and update their availability regularly.
d. Set your scheduling budget and stick to it (as much as you can)
Another critical component of building a fair rota is paying attention to your HR budget as you schedule staff. It’s easy to get lost in the intricacies of scheduling or pay through the nose for third party companies to manage the service for you whilst forgetting how much all of this is costing your business.
Set a budget that you are comfortable with and track all spending. This will allow you to not only see whether or not you are below or above budget, but also analyse where money is being wasted to refine processes.
e. Create a schedule based on employee skills (and think about using dedicated software)
When you’re scheduling employees, it’s important for a business to create a schedule that matches the right team member to the job at hand. Staff scheduling software can help managers create an effective schedule that meets the needs of both the business and the employees. This type of software will take into account the skills of each employee and match them with the requirements of each task. This ensures that the right person is scheduled for each job, and that all employees are working to their full potential.
Making smart scheduling decisions can have a significant impact on the growth of any business. When you build an effective part-time employee scheduling model, you can help ensure that you cover all significant tasks, staff are happy, and you always have a backup when things don’t go to plan.
- Create any scheduling pattern
- Click employees into rota schedule
- Staff view by hours, day & week
- Fast & auto schedule planning
- Publish rota via app to employees
- Automatic timesheets from rota schedules
We hope you have enjoyed this article. For more useful workplace information, check out the rest of our website.