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Self-Scheduling at Your Small Business

by | May 25, 2021 | Blog | 0 comments

The Advantages of Self-Scheduling

Even before COVID-19, many small businesses were working towards a self-scheduling model. Now, with so many people working from home or other remote locations, and with customer demands going unpredictably up and down, self-scheduling is becoming even more popular as it becomes more than a convenience, it becomes a driver of business outcomes.

So first, what exactly is self-scheduling, and how does it work? Essentially, self-scheduling is a way to put filling shifts in the hands of the employees. It offers flexibility to both employees and employers. Managers determine what the schedule requires – what shifts need filling and by whom – based on a number of factors such as customer traffic and employee qualifications. Instead of assigning specific shifts, employees are asked to choose what shifts they want, or to trade shifts with others. This gives employees more control over their lives and should make scheduling easier and less time-consuming for the scheduler.

1,2,3 … Shift filled.

Most self-scheduling applications work on a 3 step model.

In Step One, much the same as in the beginning of the traditional scheduling process, the manager (scheduler) identifies the shifts they need filled over a defined period of time. But then, instead of assigning the shifts, the manager sends the empty shifts out to their bank of employees and freelancers, as applicable. That is, open shifts will only be sent to employees qualified to fill them.

In Step Two, employees come back to the manager before a stated deadline with which shifts they would like to take, and the manager fills in the schedule and confirms the shifts.

In Step Three, any shifts leftover after employees have chosen their preferred slots must be assigned by the scheduler as they normally would assign them. As people get familiar with the system and how to use it, the scheduler might want to give employees the chance to figure things out themselves, trading shifts, etc. before jumping in with a solution. So, self-scheduling doesn’t always preclude managers from assigning shifts, but it sure cuts down on the time they spend doing it.

What Kind of Companies Can Benefit from Self-Scheduling?

Self-Scheduling has been used for years in the Healthcare industry, but COVID-related changes have seen the switch made by many other industries including:

  • Telecommunications
  • Financial services
  • Travel 
  • Food services 
  • Retail
  • Security
  • Manufacturing
  • Hospitality
  • + many more.

 Many industries with staggered or shift work have taken advantage of the approach.

The Benefits of Self-Scheduling

Self-scheduling has many benefits, most that stem from a better life/work balance, and a more engaged employee. These benefits include:

  • Increased flexibility that leads to increased productivity. Workers can schedule themselves at their most productive times. Increased flexibility also leads to reduced absenteeism and fewer missed shifts.
  • Can be an excellent recruitment and retainment tool. Any time you put more trust in your employees, the more emotionally engaged they become with your company. This helps you hire the best and, more importantly, retain the best. Employee turnover is too costly.
  • Drastically reduces scheduling time. Steps one and two will ensure far less time consuming back and forth.

You can look at all of the little ways self-scheduling helps – not missing your daughter’’s soccer game, being able to jump on that last-minute dentist appointment, having the opportunity to give yourself a mental health day – but they all add up to the big picture benefits of happier employees and increased productivity.

 There are many ways to design and implement an effective self-scheduling program at your company. We can help with that. Give us a call. There’s a Nerd waiting to help you.