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Do you know the art of staff scheduling? Are you making the most of your workforce?


For most employers, staff scheduling is an ever-present drag. And it’s safe to say that without a strategy in place, most managers face scenarios that look a little something like this:

  • Trawl through employee availability
  • Create a roster
  • Endure the inevitable headaches of tardiness, sick leave and no shows
  • Scramble to reschedule at the 11th hour
  • Rinse and repeat

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. How? Read on for 10 questions every employer should ask themselves when putting together a staff scheduling strategy.

Does your workplace create an environment of respect?

Ultimately, staff that respect their employers are going to respect their rosters. Those that don’t are the calibre that ‘pull’ sickies, ‘forget’ they were rostered on or simply don’t show up at all. When you create a culture of mutual respect your roster will reap the benefits. Honouring leave requests, issuing rosters in advance and not expecting excessive overtime are all great places to start.

Do staff have dynamic access to schedules?

Make it easy for staff to stay on top of their schedules by empowering them with round the clock access to their shifts. Sure, a printed sheet pinned up in the staff room isn’t a bad thing, but back this up with a digital version they can access from anywhere, at any time. This minimises the risk of misunderstandings, and completely eradicates the classic “I didn’t know the roster had been updated” excuse.

Do you have scheduling software onside?

Streamline your staff scheduling by investing in powerful workforce management software that leaves Excel docs and whiteboard tables in the dust. Digitalising the rostering process brings an intelligent edge to your strategy, with workforce management solutions such as Ento bringing a host of tactical features to the table. Trusted by thousands of workplaces across Australia, the platform elevates staff scheduling to the next level.

Are schedules human?

Never forget that as well as being staff members, employees are also people. A one-way ticket to rostering disaster is failing to encompass empathy, understanding and fairness into rosters. This will facilitate resentment, and drag down performance in its wake.

Are you down with casuals?

Over the past decade Australia’s workforce has undergone a noticeable casualisation, with ABS data showing there’s been a spike in the number of under-30s employed in a casual arrangement. For SMEs, the national sway towards periodic employment is categorical good news. Casuals are the key to ensuring that your business thrives during busy periods, and doesn’t run itself dry when things quieten down.

Do you recognise and reward?

If an employee fills a shift at the last minute, stays overtime or works more than five days a week, do you actively recognise and reward their effort? A simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way, and will safeguard employees from feeling taken for granted.

Are you mindful of overtime?

Not only does overtime cost your business money, but it also overworks staff and has a direct impact on productivity. Counter clocking up excessive overtime by sticking to schedules and fairly distributing shifts between employees.

At the end of the day, staff and the shifts they slog out are pivotal to the success of your business. Failure to launch a calculated staff scheduling strategy will put the productivity of your entire business at risk, and profits are certified collateral damage. By asking yourself these questions and tweaking your scheduling strategy accordingly, you can create smart, staff friendly rosters that make the most out of every employee.

Chris Power is head of workforce management at Ento.com. Chris helps some of Australia’s largest companies (including Telstra, World Vision and Bakers Delight) to streamline their staff rostering without any frustrating spreadsheets.