Saturday, September 3, 2011

Employee Scheduling Requests- Is there any such thing as perfect?

Employee scheduling is a vexing task we must execute week-in week-out. Most industries such as healthcare, hospitals, food service, emergency services, factories, call centers, retail stores, and high-tech companies need to create an employee schedule in order to run the course of the week. Evidently, the nature of an individual industry is utterly unrelated to the common thread shared by all -creating an optimal employee schedule.
The building of such an agenda generally commences in the gathering of shift preferences handed over by employees. The form of gathering preferences fluctuates from scheduler to scheduler. Some request employees to leave notes with shift preferences, some leave it up to employees to decide amongst themselves, others ask each employee individually about availability. No matter what the approach, however, the handwritten method is bound to cause problems for an assortment of reasons.
Firstly, is the scheduler’s need to cope with a mass of post its left by employees. Such notes get lost easily, the amount of shifts handed over is often not satisfactory, some employees did not even bother giving in shift preferences. The overall outcome is unpleasant. The scheduler is forced to call up most employees either demanding more shifts, scolding those who forgot to leave preferences, and spending much more time than necessary, building, fixing, editing, crossing out, and fiddling with the insufficient schedule.
The undeniable solution for such a mess is an online portal which organizes all preferences correctly and allows for the creation of a smooth schedule. Yet, we must pause at this solution for a moment. Why so? Allowing a smooth organization of requests is wonderful yet does not yield for an optimal schedule. Like thriving civilizations throughout humanity who understood that an establishment with no rules is doomed for failure, so should we.
Picture this, a practically perfect world for the scheduler intertwining an online portal with a rule-engine:
• A pre-set rule engine which easily enables employees to request or deny shifts online
• A default which compels employees to leave available a certain number of shifts, otherwise, alerting the employee that requests will not be saved by the system unless followed by the specific guidelines
• A deadline known to all employees for availability submission which is preset by the schedule manager. Employees can give in requests up to a certain hour but will not be able to hand in requests after the time limit. In essence, this takes a huge burden off the scheduler’s back.
Clearly, the ability to work with an online portal that is structured around a rule-engine is no other than necessary for an organization that strives to reach perfection. Organization, employee satisfaction, and a company’s needs are components of a well-tailored garment sewed to fit those game players eager to excel.

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