rota planning

Rota Planning: 7 Tips to Optimize Your Employee Shift Schedule

Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

Managing your employees can be a time-consuming task. However, when you factor in the need for a shift schedule that covers all of your needs for the week, it’s easy to see that you could soon face a big rota planning headache.

You need to have a disciplined and well-organized team for your business to thrive. But how do you go about ticking all of the important boxes?

Here are some pointers on how to create a shift schedule that works for your business. We discuss how your hiring policy is a good starting point. Additionally, we suggest ways of compiling your rota checklist. And finally, we offer some guidance on your software options.

Start with Recruiting Quality Candidates

Recruit and hire only the best possible employees. Focus on creating a pool of talent where everyone buys into the company culture. Additionally, hire candidates who are prepared to work as part of a team rather than as individuals.

Build a Reliable Staff Rota

The key to successful shift planning is building a staff rota that does everything you need it to do. For example, you’ll want it to handle administrative tasks such as flexitime and holiday schedules efficiently.

If all of your staff clocked in at the same time rota planning would be a breeze. However, modern working arrangements are not like that. Moreover, some rotas can be so complex they take weeks to plan and implement.

Primarily, you need to consider the components you’ll need. Your ultimate aim is to create a staff schedule that ensures the right number of employees are at work at the optimum times for maximum productivity.

Make Your Administration as Simple as Possible

Depending on the size of your business and the number of employees, your rota planning could easily become an administrative nightmare.

The way to avoid that scenario is to create a simple checklist. Include the fundamental characteristics that your shift planning should be based around.

Your main aim should be to create a framework that is as quick to build as possible. What’s more, it needs to be adaptable as your plans change and the business evolves.


Choose a Rota That You Can Rely On

Every business owner hates uncertainty. However, if there are holes in your rota planning it will quickly create last-minute hitches. What’s more, it will introduce a degree of uncertainty about how reliable your information is.

The last thing you want to have to do is find cover for absent employees because your rota system didn’t identify or foresee these staffing shortfalls.

With good rota planning, you’ll anticipate the potential workload on a daily and weekly basis. Moreover, you’ll put together a staff schedule that provides the right level of staffing to meet demand. Additionally, you’ll also identify the right mix of qualified people who can handle everything.

Anticipate What Employees Expect from a Rota

Employees want to have the certainty of planning their lives around their work arrangements. However, if the rota is not accurate, you’ll soon have unhappy workers.

Another key issue is regularity and stability. Consistent shift patterns that provide employees with the same amount of work at roughly the same times each week will keep complaints to a minimum. What’s more, this will help to reduce staff turnover.

Additionally, you should make access to the rota as easy as possible for employees. Your staff will want to be able to see their shift pattern with ease. That is a good reason for making it available online. That way, they won’t have to call and speak to their line manager.

Find the Right Rota Planning System

Of course, you want to find a quick solution to your scheduling requirements and set a system in place as soon as possible. However, it will be better in the long run if you take the time to research for a solution that specifically works for you and your business.

A critical point to keep in mind when selecting a scheduling system and putting it all together is that you are building something for the long term. Don’t settle for a quick fix instead.

Build the Data

Your rota can only be as good as the information you feed into it. If you don’t cover all the right options and create all the relevant fields of data, you will not get the maximum benefit.

There are numerous standard software packages that could provide the framework you need. For instance, there is the spreadsheet software that comes with your standard office package. However, consider the complex nature of rota planning and your need to create a system that you can rely on. Therefore, it is worth considering an online rota management system.

Most rota planning software packages come with a host of useful features. Additionally, the best ones offer flexibility as well. Naturally, you want to optimize your employee shift schedule and enjoy an efficient and productive working week. Therefore, it is well worth putting in the time and effort to get your rota system right.