Effectively scheduling your staff sounds easy, in theory, but in practice you are balancing a dozen different factors. Everything from keeping your star performers happy, having enough staff to handle the ebbs and flow of your customers, and dealing with last minute issues that throw your carefully crafted schedule in a loop. Even when you have an online scheduling tool it can still be difficult to schedule a group of employees. Keep these scheduling best practices in mind when you're setting hours for your employees to keep your business running smoothly.
Start With Availability
Keep everyone's preferred availability in mind. If you bring in employees during hours that aren't on their availability list, you run the risk of building resentment and lowering retention. This is especially true if your employee availability centers around a second job or a school commitment. (This is an important feature to look for in any online scheduling tool.)
Start With Most Productive Staff
Provide the most profitable shifts for your most productive employees. This is primarily applicable for tipped employees, such as delivery drivers and servers, whose income depends heavily on how busy a restaurant is. A Friday or Saturday night brings in more income than the midday shift in the middle of the week. When you give prime shifts to employees who have been around for some time and are hard workers, you give other employees a goal with a distinct monetary advantage to strive towards. For non-tipped workers, reward your best employees with slower shifts from time to time.
Provide the schedule as far in advance as possible, and post it in an easily accessible location. Since you are likely using an online scheduling tool this should be very easy. One way to avoid scheduling snafus is to make sure every employee is aware of the schedule. If you don't have an online scheduler setup you can post it near a clock-in location or another area that employees have to observe when they come into work.
Define Shift Swap Policy
Create a shift trading policy. Employees have many reasons to shift trade, especially if they don't get access to paid time off. Create a policy that specifies any limitations on shift trading, the process to properly trade a shift, and how far in advance you need to know if a change gets made.
Keep Open Shift Contenders In The Loop
Keep a list of high availability employees. When you have half of your staff catch food poisoning, you need employees in a hurry. Keep a list of workers who go the extra mile and come in when you need them the most. These dependable workers are worth their wait in gold, especially when you're looking at a dinner rush, so keep them happy by going to them first with extra shifts. This concept is often referred to as open shifts and is another feature that you should look for in any online scheduling tool.