Building a Time and Labor Management program that supports the schedule of your employees is vitally important to maintaining control over what can often be a complex task. With all the different factors – qualifications, training, overtime, wage rates, locations, posts – there is a lot to manage and control. Even with a centralized system to manage all this, there are variables that cause even more complexity, such as when an open shift opens up, or employees want to swap their shifts. This can throw a proverbial wrench into a laid-out schedule that can present new challenges to managers.
Critical to alleviating this challenge is the ability to incorporate shift management with your employees.
Shift management can encompass many things, but at it’s core it enables the employees and managers to fluidly post and swap shifts based on pre-defined rules, so that when there is an open shift or an ability to work a shift, the system can help to recognize the available resources and provide intelligence on how to respond. Let’s take a look at two types of shift management capabilities:
Two Key Areas of Shift Management: Posting and Swapping
Shift Posting: There are times when, for whatever reason, a shift becomes open, and as a manager you need to fill that shift. In a manual system, this can be a tremendous challenge. You have to find the right qualifications, training and availability, and then look to see who is on your team that meets these criteria and ask if they want to pick up that shift. With a shift posting automated in your Time and Labor Management System, you can easily highlight the open shift, have the shift criteria automatically filter out the qualified and available employees, and send a notification to only those employees that are eligible to work that post. Then you are empowering the employees to pick up additional shifts, and it enables you to streamline the process from post open to post filled.
Shift Swapping: This is a common theme in shift-based work. Employees need to take a shift off, for personal reasons that are unplanned (or planned). In a manual system, this means they have to relay this information to their manager, who then has to do the “legwork” to try and find a replacement. This is time-consuming, and often places the burden on the manager to work more time to adjust schedules and move piece around on an already complex board. By having a Time and Labor Management System that automatically enables employees to request a shift swap, it eliminates the manager’s burden, limited only to approval of the swap. An employee can request a shift swap with another employee, with the system matching qualifications and shift-specific criteria and select from their peers to see if a swap is possible. The two employees can then swap posts together, have the manager notified of the request, and all the manager needs to do is approve the swap. This way, employees are empowered to work together to find ways to change shifts together, without the administrative burden.
Benefits of Shift Management in Time and Labor Management Systems
Companies that building in shift management into their Time and Labor Management systems can reap many benefits, some of which include:
- Reduced Administrative Effort: By building intelligence into shift posting and swapping, managers no longer have to search through the files of their team to find replacements. The system is selecting and filtering the qualified staff for them, to merely select and approve the changes.
- Employee Control and Empowerment: Allowing employees to both pick up extra shifts, or swap shifts put the employee in control of their work schedule. Provided they are willing and able to work a shift, they can work in the background to plan their schedule changes or additions. This gives more control – and satisfaction – in being in control of their schedule.
- Visibility into Schedule trends: Managers can begin to see in their Time and Labor Management System how employees are interacting with different shifts and adjust schedules based on frequency of changes. Perhaps there are team members that prefer night shifts; others that want to work within a specific client – these all can factor into future planning.
- Eliminating Overtime: As with any scheduling system, the shift management component can take into account employees that have either reached or are approaching their hours for the time period. These team members can be selected out to avoid someone picking up shifts and incurring non-billable overtime, a topic very near and dear to many industries
Whatever your schedule and team need to work, whether complex schedules or more simplified schedules, the ability to empower your employees to pick up new shifts, or swap shifts with their similarly-skilled peers can be a major benefit. It reduces a manager’s burden on adjusting schedules, gives you visibility into how shifts are being changed, and provides you with a better way to empower employees to pick up or trade shifts.
With these components in place, managers can really get their “shift together” and focus on profitability and quality of service to their clients.