Over half of all Americans are unhappy in their workplace.

That’s right, 53% of the current workforce in the US say they’re unhappy at work.

That’s a shocking statistic! It speaks to people who feel underappreciated, underpaid and overworked.

How can managers go about lowering that figure? How do employers create a working environment that promotes positivity and happiness in their employees?

Effective management is one sure-fire way of doing this. Properly scheduling employees is an important component of this. Many issues can arise when a manager gets it wrong.

How do you go about scheduling your employees so that everyone’s happy?  

Keep reading for 8 top tips that’ll sort out your scheduling issues in no time at all.

8 Top Tips for Scheduling Employees

The scheduling of employees is a crucial part of your role as a manager. You need the right number of people at work, at the right time.

Get it right and the day runs smoothly, with enough staff to deal with anything that arises. Get it wrong, and you’ll either have bored staff stood twiddling their thumbs, or stressed out staff rushed off their feet.

Check out these 8 tips to help you get it right.

1. Keep an Eye on Schedule Abusers

Schedule abuse is the bane of the lives of employers and employees alike.

What do we mean by schedule abuse? It comes in many forms and varies by role. An employee who abuses the schedule may frequently ask to leave work early, or state they’re unavailable on days around the weekend. Likewise, they might abuse your system for clocking in (read more here about this).

An employer abuses the schedule by making last minute changes, canceling shifts, or having staff work on-call (never guaranteeing them work).

Abuse breeds distrust in angst in the workforce. This can impact employee performance. Resentment can build on both sides. Keep a watch for it and develop a general culture of communication (more on this later).

2. Ensure On-Call Staff Know the Deal

On-call staffing is great for employers.

You’ve got a bunch of willing employees hoping for work, waiting to be called in. If it’s busy, you ask them to work; if it’s not, you don’t. No money gets wasted on unnecessary staffing.

It can be problematic for employees though. They can’t guarantee work or income. They can’t plan their days accordingly. And they can’t look for work elsewhere for fear of missing a shift.

One way around this is to hire staff explicitly to be on-call. That way they know the deal from the outset. If they’re happy with that setup then everyone’s a winner.

3. Publish the Schedule in Advance

There’s nothing worse for an employee than a last-minute schedule.

There’s no predictability. It’s impossible to make plans. It’s arguably another form of scheduling abuse from employers.

It’s far better to create, publish and communicate the schedule ahead of time. Two weeks is often a good target to aim for. This gives everyone enough time to plan their weeks and their levels of income to be expected.

That certainty is reassuring and will facilitate increasing satisfaction in the workforce.

4. Forecast Ahead of Time

Scheduling in advance goes hand in hand with forecasting demand.

Especially for engineering companies like Cortek Test Solutions a premier manufacturer of mechanically engineered custom and off-the-shelf test fixtures, forecasting is very important.

This is about looking ahead to busier times and planning your workforce accordingly. Holiday seasons, public holidays, weekends and so on all constitute busy periods that require additional staffing. Look ahead, and plan accordingly.

It can pay to have on-call staff in place too, just in case they’re required. Again though, everyone should be aware of the on-call situation.

5. Consistently Evaluate Staffing Levels

You can’t rest on your laurels when it comes to scheduling.

Sure, there may be times when the same schedule can be repeated week by week. That’s especially true if everyone in the workforce is happy with it.

However, this is a sure-fire way to be caught off guard by a busy, or slow, period. It’s important to regularly reassess the situation. How have things been? Are people happy? Is everything being done? Is there room for improvement?

6. Be Flexible and Predictable

Your schedules should strike a proper balance between flexibility and predictability.

Employees often value the chance to swap their shifts around. Their lives may even require it. A schedule that’s open to change will help. However, constant change is good for no-one. It becomes harder to keep track of staff, which inevitably causes problems. Likewise, scheduling abuse can occur.

Be flexible, but within reason.

7. Create an Atmosphere of Communication

We’ve already hinted at the need for quality communication in your teams.

Communication is important in the creation of the schedule itself. It is also essential when the schedule has been created. Everyone should be aware of who is doing what, and when.

Have a team meeting to discuss who is doing what, and ask if any changes are required.  A schedule that is effectively communicated will always function better.

8. Ensure Your Schedule is Easily Accessible

Think about where you keep your schedule too.

It should be easily accessible to your entire workforce. A small, hand-written sheet of paper on the back of the door might not suffice! Make it large and obvious. Email it around to all staff, and why not have a digital version too?

Having the same schedule in different places ensures the whole team has access to it.

Of course, all versions should be updated with any alterations too.

Time to Get Scheduling

There you have it: 8 top tips for scheduling employees!

Unfortunately, we’ve reached a point where the majority of people are unhappy at work. However, the situation can be improved with proper management by employers. Scheduling is one essential component of effective management.

Hopefully, the tips here will help you with this essential task.

Remember, be aware of schedule abuse (from employers and employees alike) and ensure on-call staff know the situation and are okay with it. Publish the schedule, and forecast slow and busy periods, ahead of time. Consistently evaluate your staff levels, strike a balance between flexibility and predictability, communicate your schedule, and make sure it’s there for all to see.

Keep all that in mind and you’ll be on your way to a better schedule, and a happier workforce, in no time at all. Good luck!

Are you an employer looking to hire quality staff? Click here to read how a recruitment firm might help.