8 Tips for Creating Employee Schedules Your Team Will Love

by Katie Sawyer, 5 minutes read
HOME blog tips for creating employee schedules your team will love

The delivery driver bringing medical supplies or the nurse caring for loved ones. Your staff are making a difference in the world — and they’re at the heart of your business.

While there are many perks you can give your staff, effective schedules are one (cost-effective) perk that you might not have thought about. Get the schedule right, and you’ll have happy and productive staff helping your customers. Get the schedule wrong, and you could be wasting time and money trying to fill gaps.

Check out these eight tips to help you avoid the most common scheduling mistakes — and to create schedules that your team will love.

1. Ask your team

According to a survey of 1,400 shift workers, 96% of the hourly workforce feels that they deserve more respect. From stocking shelves to pour much-needed coffee during a pandemic, your staff have kept the world turning.

One tip for scheduling teams — and keeping those workers happy — is to first understand how and when your staff want to work. You’re still the manager and call the shots, but creating a schedule that takes into account preferred hours and days creates a more equitable and fair schedule.

Use a workforce management tool that allows you to track notes, including preferred working hours, so you have a shared record with your team.

2. Use performance reviews to talk about scheduling

Performance reviews are a time to work with your team and help them improve. From learning the soft skills needed to advance in their career or the hard skills needed to do a job, this dedicated time allows both managers and employees to openly discuss growth opportunities.

As part of that process, you can weave in how schedules impact your staff’s work. For example, if someone on your team is juggling school and another part-time job in addition to working at your establishment, you might need to revisit the hours you schedule them for. Maybe you’ve noticed their customer service dips on Tuesdays, and that’s because they have a little break from their other responsibilities. Work with your team to make sure your scheduling not only fits into their life but allows them to work their best.

3. Ensure schedules are easily available

Your team needs to be able to access their schedules — anytime and anywhere. When you’re making employee schedules, you might be used to handing out printed copies at the start of each week. While that can be a nice additive, a more practical and environmentally sustainable practice is sharing schedules digitally.

Use a workforce management tool that includes a mobile app for both managers and staff. Then, share schedules through the app. That way, anyone on your team can see when they’re working at any time.

4. Create schedules ahead of time

Last-minute scheduling not only puts additional pressure on hiring managers but may also cause anxiety for your employees. If you’re a retailer, a fast food restaurant owner, or operate a business in the healthcare industry, you may have a duty to schedule shifts in advance. Predictive scheduling laws dictate that some employers must provide their employees with their schedules in advance. If your business is affected by predictive scheduling legislation, use workforce management tools to help make compliance easier.

And even when your business isn’t affected by predictive scheduling laws, you should still create your schedules in advance. The advanced notice gives your staff more control over their lives, and can help them be more productive at work.

5. Prioritize team communication

When you’re creating employee schedules, effective managers don’t just post the new schedule and remain silent. Instead, build two-way communication into your scheduling process.

Use a built-in communication tool to send weekly emails with the schedule, as well as any newsworthy updates. Whether you’re communicating with employees in one location or multiple areas, you can keep all of the messages in one place. Your team will appreciate the ongoing communication and will be happier to receive their schedules and the context around them.

6. List and allocate tasks

It’s your new barista’s first Monday morning rush. They clock in on time, but as the customer line starts to grow, so does your new employee’s panic. What’s the process for dealing with rush hour — and what are they supposed to do when they run out of coffee cups?

Knowing when they’re going to work is only part of what your staff are looking for when you’re creating employee schedules. On top of that, they want to know what tasks need to be executed during those hours. Does your dentist's office’s front desk attendant need to sort files on Tuesday? Does your barback need to rotate laundry on Saturdays?

Attach tasks to your schedule so your team knows exactly what needs to get done when they’re on the clock.

7. Give employees more autonomy

From flat tires to the seasonal cold, there are many reasons why your staff might have to call in because they’re unable to attend work. Empowering your employees to swap shifts themselves removes additional work for your managers — and also gives your employees more autonomy over their schedules.

Using a shift swapping feature, you can set the parameters of swapping shifts and specific criteria like pay scale and skill level can be selected. In order to protect your bottom line, use a workforce management tool that provides you with a notification if a shift swap will cause an employee to trigger overtime pay. You can then approve or reject this request. Furthermore, you also have the option to require that all shift swaps are pre-approved by a designated manager.

8. Make every attempt to accommodate requests for leave

Just like taking your teams’ shift pattern preferences into account will have a positive effect, carefully considering leave requests will also have a positive impact on the employer and employee relationship. Before your employees start to request time off, they should be familiar with your leave policy. This policy should include details about how much leave employees are entitled to, including the seasons where leave will be limited. Scheduling your employees’ time off manually or using Excel spreadsheets can lead to mistakes and also takes up a great deal of valuable time.

With the right workforce management tools, you can manage your team’s leave requests with ease. Your team can ask for leave and you can approve the request through one streamlined app. To save you the time of trying to find staff to cover shifts, you can backfill the shifts of your employees who have taken leave.

Schedule like a pro

Keeping your team motivated is a key way to increase staff retention — and even boost customer satisfaction.

Sign up for a free trial of Deputy to see how easy it is to create schedules your team will love.