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Making Sure Enough People Are Scheduled

Posted by Brandy on July 26, 2013

Making sure you have enough employees scheduled for each shift could be a complicated and confusing task, but it doesn’t have to be so difficult. Employee scheduling software has built-in functions that let you define how many people need to be scheduled and calculate staffing levels. You’ll be able to customize schedule files according to the needs of your business regardless of industry.

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Staffing Levels Differ by Industry

Staffing levels will differ by industry and type of business, so it’s essential to have a staff scheduling tool that will be flexible enough for you to customize to your specifications. For example, in the healthcare and law enforcement industries, it’s imperative that enough nurses and police officers are scheduled for each shift in order to ensure the safety and proper treatment of the people they take care of and protect. In the transportation industry, it’s important to have the right number of operators for each shift in order for trains and buses to stay on schedule. In retail stores and hotels, owners and managers typically like to have a consistent level of customer service at all their locations, so they set staffing level goals for specific departments and times of day when they have historically needed more help.

Define Number of People to be Scheduled

One of the first things that need to be decided when creating an employee schedule is to determine how many people need to be scheduled. There are two things to consider:

  1. what positions need to be staffed
  2. how many employees should be scheduled for each shift

In the example of a hotel, there may be three main positions: front desk staff, hotel maids and laundry workers, and kitchen staff. Typically, they’re going to need more hotel maids and laundry workers scheduled mid day, so they can clean rooms after people check out in the morning and have rooms ready by 3:00 pm check-in.  Hotels that serve continental breakfasts for their guests will need to schedule kitchen staff early in the morning, so they will have breakfast ready on time.

After defining the number of employees to be scheduled for each shift, you can begin scheduling. Staff scheduling tools will calculate staffing levels as you go, so you don’t have to constantly stop to add it up yourself.

Calculate Staffing Levels

Coverage totals will automatically calculate staffing levels as you assign shifts to your employees. Define several coverage totals to see how many people are scheduled to work each shift, in general, as well as by position. You can even watch staffing levels on a more granular level by defining coverage totals for employees with specific skills, such as speaking a second language, or for employees working in a specific department or location. For example, a hospital may want to watch coverage for RN’s working the day shift and RN’s working the night shift, as well as make sure they have a Spanish-speaking nurse scheduled for both shifts. In this scenario, they would have four coverage totals that would automatically calculate on the bottom of the screen as there are creating the employee schedule.

Coverage totals can simply show the number of people who are scheduled to work and meet that criterion, as well as show the difference (a.k.a. scheduling variance) between the people scheduled compared to the number required. Coverage totals will help you meet, yet not exceed, the right number of employees that should be scheduled to work at your organization.

As you can see, making sure you have enough people scheduled can be easy. It just takes a little bit of forethought to decide on how many people you want working and when. After that it’s easy to monitor coverage in employee scheduling software because it automatically calculates staffing levels.

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