In recent news, Congress has reintroduced the Schedules that Work Act, which is aimed at helping to ensure that hourly workers have advanced notice on their work schedules. Part of the bill maintains that hourly workers are required to have their work schedule with up to two weeks notices prior to the start of that work week. While this has a significant benefit to providing a level of stability for hourly workers, for the employer this represents a challenge in effective employee scheduling. With many variables to consider, proactive and advance employee scheduling can be difficult for many businesses. Let’s take a look into some ways to get out in front of your employee scheduling within workforce management.
Option 1: Applying Schedules to Future Weeks with Proactive Time and Labor Management
Depending on the industry you are in, schedules can vary week to week, especially in security where client contracts can ebb in flow in the number of resources, and hospitality, where seasonality may requirement more staff. However, for the majority of your weeks, the schedule and shifts that are required will often remain largely consistent. By having a workforce management solution with an employee scheduling platform that allows you to visualize the schedule, you can effectively “see” where all your employees are at any given week. Many solutions will enable you to apply these schedules to future weeks, in order to keep that consistency. In this case, you can set a schedule for an advance period of time and leverage your time and labor management system to manage exceptions – times when you need to adjust the schedule as needed. So, for the majority of the time, you can put out schedules in advance, with confidence that they will not change on the employer’s side.
Option 2: Use Profitability Reporting to push out Schedules based on future Revenue expectations
When you set your schedule, you will ultimately be able to see what your pay rates are, and what your anticipated revenue is (based on bill rates, revenue, etc.). By having this reported and visible to your organization, you can then extrapolate the anticipated revenue for future weeks with a profitability report and set future scheduled based on what is best for the business. Using Time and Labor Management with Employee Scheduling, you can forecast the schedule based on your revenue expectations, while giving your employees a sense of consistency on when they will be working and where.
Option 3: Add Flexibility with Shift Swapping and Shift Posting Functionality
There will always be a level of uncertainty on scheduling, and this is a challenge that the Schedules That Work Act will certainly need to address. There is no perfect solution to trying to find a replacement resource when an employee calls in sick or isn’t able to work their set schedule. However, giving employees empowerment to define their schedules is the key, which is where Shift Swapping and Shift Posting technology can help. Shift swapping enables an employee to seek out another employee to automatically swap shifts with them, with the intention of keeping someone on the shift, while giving flexibility for unforeseen events. Similarly, if there is an open shift that needs to be filled, an employer can post this shift to the team, and someone can opt to pick up this shift at a moment’s notice. The goal is to provide employees with the ability, if they wish to make changes, or pick up extra work, they can. Having a Time and Labor Management system that offers this automation of shift management will go a long way in giving employees the flexibility they need in defining their schedule.
Time and Labor Management Challenges Will Shape the Future
While providing a level of consistency to employee work schedules is an important aspect to the Schedules that Work Act, it will not be without its challenges. There are many variables that will drive exceptions to the rules, and without an understanding of the fluidity of the hourly operation it will be difficult to have schedules that work… without flexibility.
We’ll continue to watch this and continue to update on changes and progress as this Bill moves through the House. In the meantime, implementing these three options within your Time and Labor Management and Workforce Management solutions will help to create a little more visibility and control on building your own “schedules that work”.