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April 13, 2021 | Time and Attendance | Posted by Ascentis Thought Leadership

Efficient and Effortless Scheduling for your Workforce

Creating a consistent and effective schedule can be a real challenge no matter what industry you’re working in. In fields that require around-the-clock workforces with a diverse range of skill sets and training, that challenge can often be an expensive one. Establishing a fluid, customizable scheduling system that can accommodate many kinds of workers while keeping compliant with all applicable regulations is a must for employers in industries like manufacturing, healthcare, and construction. Let’s look at some of the ways improving your scheduling practices can not only create a more efficient workforce, but also boost your bottom line.

Scheduling the right workers for the right shifts

In industries that require specific training and certification for individual roles, ineffective scheduling practices can easily lead to unfinished jobs, delays in production, or compliance violations. For example, a manufacturing project might require employees to complete a training and safety course before operating a specific piece of machinery. If that machinery is essential to completing a project, a shift where no properly trained workers are scheduled essentially becomes a wasted shift. That is obviously an undesirable outcome from a cost-effectiveness perspective. The risks become even more evident in the healthcare field, where a lack of certified workers on a certain shift can jeopardize patients’ health and put a facility in danger of lawsuits and license revocations.

The other side of that coin poses less physical danger but can be expensive in its own right. In a system where employee pay is tied to training or tenure, scheduling overqualified workers in roles that could be filled by someone with less experience or fewer certifications can run up needless costs for an employer. To put it simply, paying a highly trained worker $35 an hour to perform a job that an entry-level worker could do for $18 an hour is poor cost management.

Those cost overruns can be avoided with an automated scheduling system that allows rules-based scheduling. Your scheduling software can be customized to recognize specific skill sets and certifications required for each shift and ensure that a schedule is not approved until those requirements are met. An automated scheduling system can also check each shift to make sure that the scheduled workforce meets all the criteria for compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. By eliminating the potential for human error, automating your scheduling can help you cut labor costs, prevent work delays, and avoid fines.

Accommodating nontraditional schedules

The so-called traditional 9-to-5 schedule is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, but for many industries it was never even a thing of the present. Manufacturers, healthcare facilities, hospitality and service industry establishments, and many other employers have long required a round-the-clock workforce to keep operations functioning smoothly. Accommodating the kinds of unorthodox schedules necessary to those businesses requires flexible and adaptable scheduling solutions in order to prevent cost overruns and interruptions in productivity.

In most cases, round-the-clock scheduling involves too many variables to be managed by manual processes. For instance, many employers offer pay-based incentives for working evening or weekend shifts. Scheduling too many workers for those shifts quickly runs up unnecessary expenses, while scheduling too few can raise safety concerns, delay the completion of important projects, and contribute to higher employee burnout and turnover rates.

Rules-based scheduling tools can also be a big help with nontraditional schedules. Your scheduling dashboard can be customized to ensure that each shift is staffed with properly qualified and credentialed workers while also setting limits on costly factors like overtime hours and weekend pay. Real-time scheduling data analytics can also help save money in the long-term by providing insights into skills gaps, productivity levels, and rates of absenteeism and turnover.

Tying scheduling to payroll

Keeping on top of scheduling can be a full-time job for a large organization with a complex workforce. That can make it all too easy to silo your scheduling processes, which in turn makes it all too easy to lose sight of their true financial costs. Using an automated scheduling system to tie schedules directly to payroll can help ensure that you’re keeping a close eye toward the associated labor costs.

By automatically calculating the costs per shift of workers with different salary ranges, task-based rates of pay, and projected overtime payments, your financial team can make more accurate budget forecasts. Those numbers not only inform future hiring and purchasing decisions, but also help to identify potential compliance issues and other problem areas before they impact your bottom line.

In the modern employment landscape, it’s clear that employee scheduling is no longer the sole domain of your human resources department. With all of the ways effective workforce scheduling can positively impact your budgetary decisions, it is vital to have your finance experts and CFO involved from the outset. Learn more about how workforce management software from Ascentis can transform your scheduling process, boost your profitability, and keep your workplace safe and compliant.

With more than 35 years of experience in providing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, Ascentis thought leaders have become a respected source for insights, tips, and innovations in the Human Capital Management (HCM) space.