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Manager Rostering Staff

Bad rostering and compliance practices are hurting your business

Any business relies heavily on its customer-facing employees. And specifically ensuring there are enough of them on the rota to cope with demand at any given time.

One of the most common complaints customers level at businesses is an inability to get what they want, when they want it. From retail and hospitality to niche b2b firms, if those we are trying to sell to can’t actually make a purchase at the right time, don’t have their voice heard or find it difficult check up on the status of an order or enquiry it’s incredibly frustrating. Being understaffed in 2019 is no longer a reasonable excuse.

Good management should be able to organise the rota in such a way that avoids the nightmare of suddenly being short-staffed. But ensuring a seamless customer experience goes well beyond this.

Poor rostering practices can also include approving too much leave, ignoring requests for leave, combining employees who don’t work together well, failing to take seasonal changes to demand into consideration, and overlooking employment law requirements. That could mean exceeding maximum weekly hours, or not ensuring enough rest breaks and time off between shifts. These can lead to dissatisfied staff, increasing the chances of them leaving.

“There are dozens of bad [rostering] habits but the most common, and often most damaging, are issuing printed rosters, using messaging apps to send rosters and arrange shift changes, and poor interpretation of employment conditions so the correct break lengths and working hours aren’t taken into account,” says Andrew Northcott, CEO and founder of Roubler.

“We’ve also seen staff retention issues when managers don’t have easy access to leave requests so staff are rostered on their days off. People don’t put up with that for too long.”

One truth many businesses don’t fully grasp is just how easy it is not to make these grave errors. Understanding compliance, and educating management on just how much of a negative impact rostering mistakes can have are surefire ways to break bad habits.

This may sound like it requires investing time and money into more training, which in itself can actually hurt workflow efficiency. There’s no denying that educating employees will require some initial outlay, but this always proves worthwhile because by making sure staff understand how to rota properly and get the most out of rostering software you’ll benefit tenfold in the long run.

“The prevalence of these bad practices comes down to a lack of knowledge and resources. Often businesses are unaware that there are alternatives to traditional rostering methods and rely too heavily on separate spreadsheets and systems to keep track of information,” says Northcott. “It’s also very common for managers to be asked to create compliant rosters without the correct knowledge of employment conditions.

“The easiest solution is to put in place an automated rostering system that, at the very least, integrates with your leave management system and employee self-service system,” he continues.

“Rostering software can interpret employment conditions for you and alert you when someone is unavailable, and as rosters are sent to a smartphone, you can keep the process totally paperless. It’s just as important to take the time to educate your staff on good rostering practices and current employment regulations.”

Sticking with the old ways— whether that means mistake-prone manual rostering methods or a piecemeal combination of apps and software that lack consistency— is a high-risk move and one that will always be more costly overall compared with comprehensive and efficient systems.

Ultimately, if you take one thing from this post it should be that workforce management software, including rostering software, needs to be a priority within any budget going forward, or you risk slipping into rota related hell.

 

Words by Richard Trenchard.

 

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