Leveraging Efficient Scheduling to Boost Employee Engagement and Bottom-line Revenue
For companies that depend on managing a mobile workforce, creating dynamic schedules on the fly can be a huge pain point. Getting multiple employees—with different experience and qualifications—to the right customer locations throughout the day or night can create a huge headache for employers and employees alike.
Staff schedulers waste precious time tracking down the right deskless worker for the job, and often struggle to understand where each mobile employee is at any given moment. Deskless workers feel overworked, underutilized, or unsupported by their back-office colleagues and insufficient scheduling tools. Over time, employee frustration around scheduling can have a serious impact on your workforce productivity and, ultimately, your revenue.
Businesses sink time, money, and resources into improving their scheduling operations to please customers. While many businesses make these efforts with revenue in mind, they don’t consider the huge impact employee satisfaction itself has on revenue. When your employees define your business and drive revenue, it’s worth your time to think through how scheduling systems and processes affect your employees.
How Scheduling Challenges Impact Employee Engagement
The challenges of scheduling a team of mobile workers are many and varied. When organizations fail to thoughtfully consider and manage the many moving parts required for properly scheduling a mobile or blended workforce, they risk low levels of engagement and satisfaction—for employees and customers alike.
A strategic scheduling process is crucial for organizations that rely on deskless workers to deliver their products or services, but getting it right is often a struggle, particularly for those that still use traditional, manual methods. Inefficient scheduling practices that aren’t built upon a nuanced understanding of resources, data, and—perhaps most importantly—the human element of mobile work negatively impact the work environment in a variety of ways.
Inefficient scheduling creates poor work-life balance
A poor work-life balance can manifest itself in all sorts of ways: premature burnout, impatience with supervisors, unexpected absences, and even poor interactions with customers. If deskless employees don’t have schedules that work in harmony with their personal lives, they’re often forced to get creative when dealing with non-work-related responsibilities. This can lead to mobile workers using company time to tend to personal matters, which diminishes productivity and affects revenue.
In fact, CareerBuilder found that 40% of employees who call in “sick” aren’t actually sick. They may have an appointment to attend, errands to run, or plans with family and friends. While this may seem like an isolated issue, there’s usually an underlying reason that affects more than just the one employee. Perhaps the employee requested time off and couldn’t get it, or they were afraid to ask in the first place. Maybe the schedule is so inflexible they knew the only way to get time off was to call in unexpectedly. Unpredictable, inefficient schedules simply don’t foster the stable work-life balance that mobile workers need to remain happy and productive.
Unpredictable scheduling leads to high turnover
Mobile work schedules are notorious for their unpredictability. In many organizations, deskless workers must take on different shifts each week, often with short notice. Inflexible, manual scheduling processes and tools (i.e. spreadsheets or outdated systems) make it difficult to plan around new or cancelled appointments, worker qualifications, fluctuating demand, and inevitable last-minute changes. Deskless workers are at the mercy of their employer’s unstable scheduling practices, which don’t apply the human-centric approach required for fully empowering a blended workforce.
When these problems compound, mobile employees struggle with burnout or—on the other end of the spectrum—feel that they’re underutilized. Overworked employees call off at the last minute or simply don’t show up for their appointments, which costs the company money and facilitates mistrust between the employer, employees, and customers.
Another side effect—and the one that has the greatest cost for companies—is a cycle of unpredictability that can end with the employee quitting or being dismissed. When it comes to revenue, the cost of this turnover is astronomical: For salaried employees, the average replacement cost is between six and nine months’ salary. A deskless worker making $60,000 a year, for example, would cost between $30,000 to $45,000 to replace (in lost productivity, hiring and training costs, and other expenses).
Inefficient scheduling leads to difficulty recruiting new candidates
Companies with engaged workers are 21% more profitable than those that fail to engage their workforce. Sure, company culture and employee benefits play a key role in engagement, but for organizations with a mobile or blended workforce, efficient scheduling is just as critical. An unpredictable, inefficient scheduling process typically bogs down staff schedulers with time-consuming, repetitive tasks. The lack of up-to-date data resulting from manual tools means inaccurate schedules that take longer to build (and that are difficult to change after the fact). The productivity, satisfaction, and overall success of an organization’s workforce suffers, and so do the employees’ opinions of their company.
What your employees have to say about your business is now a matter of public record. With the advent of websites like GlassDoor, Great Place to Work, and Indeed, potential employees can see what current and former employees have to say, and they can evaluate your company before they ever submit a résumé. So if the consensus on your business is that it doesn’t provide the right scheduling tools to support its workers, you might be at a hiring disadvantage to your competitors.
With a simple review, your current employees can steer amazing candidates to your company—or send them running in the opposite direction. With positive employee experiences (which are then shared with a larger audience), you can rely less on the expensive recruiting process. Depending on your industry, the cost of attracting one new hire can be $5,000 or more, not including the money and productivity lost when the last employee left. If you fail to arm your workforce with a technology-driven scheduling approach, recruiting new top talent can become a headache.
The Benefits of Efficient Employee Scheduling For Employee Engagement
Today’s employees are searching for a better work-life balance, more flexibility in their schedule, and a team that they can fully engage with. They’re willing to sacrifice a higher salary for happiness, and they want to feel like they’ve been heard.
It’s just as important for employees to be satisfied at work as it is for them to be satisfied at home. Employees who can safely share stress, scheduling conflicts, and other work-related issues with their manager are significantly more satisfied than those who have to “grin and bear it.”
Positive work cultures are far more productive than negative work cultures, and this positivity translates to profits. Managers who foster connections, show empathy, go out of their way to help their employees, and are receptive to the problems of their workers will enjoy happy workers and all the benefits—monetary and otherwise—that come with them.
Implementing an efficient scheduling process (that’s backed by powerful tools for support) is a key piece to the engagement puzzle. Organizations that leverage proper scheduling practices to boost engagement reap a number of crucial benefits.
Improved work-life balance
- For managers and administrators, appointments can be shifted and resources can be reallocated so customers don’t see any interruption in service when employee schedules change.
- For employees, it becomes far simpler and less stressful to request and receive scheduling needs that allow them to balance professional and personal priorities.
- For companies, everyone benefits from better employee satisfaction, decreased turnover, and decreased costs associated with employee transitions. In order to find the right work-life balance, especially with a mobile workforce, you need to find a scheduling system that intelligently incorporates and prioritizes employee needs in relation to customer service requests. Make sure you find a tool that gives you the metrics you need to be most efficient and the flexibility you need to accommodate what employees want.
A positive workplace culture draws in qualified candidates, reducing the amount you must spend to go out and find people. When current employees rave about their experiences working for your company, people will take notice—and you don’t have to spend all your hard-earned cash searching for them. Businesses that prioritize employee scheduling see the benefits in multiple areas:
- Higher retention due to greater work-life balance and employee satisfaction
- More efficient recruiting as a result of positive employee sentiment
- More qualified and competitive candidates because of a strong employer brand that attracts top talent
Intelligent employee utilization and engagement
Effective scheduling means you can direct employees to where they’re most needed based on skills, certifications, and availability. For example, a home healthcare provider can send their most skilled workers to the most complex appointments, while sending newer employees to routine appointments.
This kind of thoughtful scheduling allows for a learning curve and ongoing employee development, while still ensuring each client receives high-quality care. It helps match employees with jobs where they will excel and allows employees to shine within their own unique skill set.
When employees feel that they’re being put where they’re most needed, they engage more with their role. They’re proud of their work. And this pride certainly translates to the bottom line: organizations with highly engaged employees see 2.3 times greater revenue growth than companies whose employees are engaged at an average level.
"Most of us are still afraid of accepting the notion that ‘feelings’ belong in the workplace. While we’re wired for experiencing positive emotions in romantic relationships, and at home with our spouses and children, the workplace is where we hide our true emotions. Just grin and bear it when stress or conflict comes knocking, right? Wrong."
Better customer service
Customer service is the cornerstone of your success, and when done correctly, it can be a true competitive advantage. But when it’s done poorly, it sets you apart in all the wrong ways: In fact, 40% of customers will stop doing business with a company altogether after a poor customer service experience.
The key to improving the customer experience is to focus on the employee experience first. Happy employees are calm, in control of their day, and equipped to deliver service and solve problems for customers. When employees project confidence and empathy to customers, they build stronger customer relationships, which leads to greater customer loyalty. And since companies that have high customer loyalty outperform their competitors by 2x on average, prioritizing client engagement certainly pays off.
Effective employee scheduling makes for happy employees. Happy employees make for happy customers. And happy customers have a huge impact on your company’s profits.
How Employee Engagement Drives Revenue
Employee productivity, retention, satisfaction, engagement, and customer relations all impact your company’s profits. For mobile workers, efficient scheduling is the major link that ties all of these factors together. When done correctly, scheduling can help you retain your most valuable assets (e.g. your employees), provide a better customer experience, and ensure everyone is always on the same page—all of which improve your bottom line.
Most of the benefits we’ve discussed so far are soft metrics: the aspects of your business that are incredibly important to your success, but incredibly difficult to quantify. For example, something like “employee satisfaction” may have a number associated with it—often from a voluntary internal survey—but it’s hard to quantify exactly the impact it had on your profits in a given year.
You can most clearly see the impact efficient scheduling software has on your mobile workforce when you look at the “hard metrics” associated with employee scheduling:
- Travel time – How much time do employees spend traveling to and from appointments? What is the total cost of one extra hour of travel per employee per week? (Think about gas, wear-and-tear on company vehicles, lost time, etc.)
Reducing travel time starts with building intelligent schedules. Modern scheduling tools automate the process, with schedules that are designed to optimize job assignments and routing without sacrificing the safety of your deskless workers on the road. Some technologies seamlessly integrate with other navigation apps (like Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Waze) to get workers where they need to be on time, every time. They can also help you identify and course-correct negative trends in travel time, with real-time data that offers full visibility into workforce operations. That means deskless workers spend less time being frustrated on the road, and more time adhering to schedules and serving customers.
- Downtime – How much time do employees spend waiting to be assigned a new appointment, waiting for necessary information, or otherwise not performing revenue-generating activities? What is the total cost of one extra hour of downtime per employee per week?
Robust scheduling tools help your team establish a more efficient process, ensuring less administrative time for staff schedulers, less downtime for deskless workers awaiting new job assignments, and faster time-to-service. Mobile employees are instantly matched with jobs that align with their location, qualifications, experience, and preferences, which means their skills are consistently put to use. Worker utilization increases, and employees’ spend their time focusing on what they do best: delivering excellent customer service to more clients.
- Missed appointments – What is the cost of cancelling an appointment and rescheduling it for another day? What is the total cost of one missed appointment? How many missed appointments lead to lost customers?
Delivering an excellent product or service requires optimized, transparent schedules. With intelligent scheduling software, deskless workers have everything they need (from up-to-date schedules, to customer information, to routing) in a single, user-friendly app. This eliminates the errors caused by manual scheduling, so employees are never over-booked or under-qualified for an appointment. It also saves your business the time and money it would cost to reschedule missed appointments. Mobile workers have access to all the necessary resources to arrive on time to each appointment and complete the job the first time around, giving your brand a clear advantage against less-prepared competitors.
- Appointment volume – How many customers can one employee serve in a standard workday? What is the total difference between your highest-volume employee and lowest-volume employee? What is the median number of daily or weekly appointments?
Serving more customers is essential for improving company revenue: After all, you can only boost profits if your earnings exceed your operating costs. While this is a challenging feat for organizations with less-than-ideal scheduling practices, those that leverage sophisticated tools can book and deliver services like a well-oiled machine. These mobile scheduling technologies enhance worker productivity (by eliminating manual, cumbersome tasks and centralizing workforce operations) so appointment volume can steadily increase. What’s more, deskless workers not only serve more customers, they also arrive on time, prepared, and ready to represent your brand in the best light possible.
Enhance Employee Engagement and Revenue with Intelligent Scheduling Software
Scheduling matters to employees, and what drives your employees also drives your business. Do it properly, and you’ll provide your workers a great work-life balance, reap the benefits of stellar employee engagement, and rake in extra profits. Do it poorly, and you’ll suffer the consequences of increased employee turnover, expensive recruitment, and inferior customer service.
Skedulo’s powerful scheduling software helps businesses create an efficient scheduling process for their mobile and blended workforces. With tools for automated scheduling, optimized routing, and intelligent job matching, your business can boost work-life balance, employee satisfaction, retention, recruiting, engagement, and customer service—and drive more revenue in return.
Learn more about how sophisticated scheduling can drive business results, or book a demo today.