How an Effective Employee Scheduling System Boosts Workforce Quality
Effective employee scheduling is important for any workplace, but when your workforce is mostly mobile, it’s absolutely crucial.
Thoughtful scheduling makes employees happy, boosts productivity, reduces rework, and boosts the bottom line. But many managers don’t realize that effective scheduling can also improve the quality of your workforce and your service.
Discovering Strengths and Experience Within a Mobile Workforce
When new automated tools are introduced in a workplace, it makes a big difference for managers. It means offloading lots of manual, inefficient work—but it also means offloading control.
For example, in a recent study by Harvard Business Review, they tested a new, more flexible scheduling system with the use of a shift swapping app. After the experiment, which was conducted in Gap clothing stores, 95% of part-time associates surveyed said the system made it easy to adjust their work schedules to fit their needs. But the experiment had one unexpected consequence for managers: underperforming employees were showing up for critical shifts, throwing off the delicate scheduling balance.
For intelligent scheduling to work in a retail environment, all employees must be able to perform at a similar level—and an intelligent scheduling system will make it clear if they can’t. But for a company with a mobile workforce, the issue is even more complex: managers need workers with unique skills, experiences, and qualifications to cover a wide range of customer needs.
Depending on the industry and the service in question, managers may want to optimize the workforce for different things. For example, a manager can investigate staffing levels for employees with:
- Special skills relevant to your service
- A special industry certification or license
- Fluency in customers’ preferred languages
- Unique experience related to your service
- Special scheduling considerations or unique availability
When the workforce is well-optimized, managers know they have enough people with the right skills in the mix to service demand on any given day. This is when intelligent scheduling can have a true impact.
How Intelligent Scheduling Helps You Embrace Employees’ Strengths
An effective scheduling system is a valuable investment in and of itself, but it can also have a huge effect on employee morale. Employees who use their strengths every day at work significantly outperform employees who don’t; employees who feel they are being used to their full potential are six times more likely to be engaged at work at 15% less likely to quit.
When employees can use their strengths in their everyday role, the whole company benefits:
- Employees work harder because work activities are more intrinsically rewarding.
- Happier employees have better interactions with customers.
- Managers spend more time on valuable management activities.
- Better employee satisfaction reduces turnover and costs associated with recruiting and training new employees.
With an intelligent scheduling system, companies can track how they are utilizing employees and make sure their work is well-matched to their strengths. With sophisticated employee scheduling software, you don’t have to choose quantitative data (customer and employee availability, travel time) over qualitative data (language preferences, experience with complex assignments, unique qualifications, and more)—you can use both to find the perfect employee for the job.
For example, take the manager of an HVAC company. He has dozens of employees out in the field performing installation and repair services, and more requests come in every minute. Over the course of the day, two customers call in with emergency requests: one for a large, complex AC repair at a local factory, and one for a ventilation repair in a Spanish-speaking home.
- Without an intelligent scheduling system, the manager manually calls around to see which AC repairmen have experience with large, complex systems and which ventilation technicians speak fluent Spanish. After an hour of searching, he has people to assign to each job. He moves around an afternoon’s worth of appointments to redirect these two technicians to the new job, and he has to send an updated schedule to everyone in the field.
- With an intelligent scheduling system, the manager logs into the system and searches for Spanish-speaking ventilation technicians and AC technicians with experience on complex jobs. He finds the right employees for both jobs in a matter of minutes and pushes the new schedule to everyone using the scheduling app.
The difference is clear: an effective scheduling system makes a huge difference in time to schedule, as well as employee utilization. With a sophisticated employee scheduling system, companies can help employees play to their strengths—and delight customers along the way.
Download our mobile workforce management evaluation guide to start looking for the right scheduling solution!