5 Key Trends to Look for When Scheduling Hourly Employees

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Josh Redford

When creating scheduling hourly employees, its crucial to schedule strategically. It's about knowing where you're spending your labor, what departments your employees excel in, and how you can optimize your labor.

Here are 5 key trends that managers should be paying attention to when scheduling their hourly employees:

1 - Overtime trends.

Too often, when you’re scheduling to fill spots on your employee schedule, overtime can easily be reached. Whether it’s weekly overtime or daily, overtime can be costly, but easily avoidable.

Especially when it comes to shift swaps! An employee who works one 4 hour shift a week may be trying to swap with someone who has already worked 44 hours for the week already! Paying attention to little details like these will allow you to keep an accurate pulse on your OT spending.

2 - Stat holiday eligibility.

For some provinces, stat holiday pay is calculated to give an employee their “average day wage.” This, can be a high expense for business owners if they’re not paying attention to how their scheduling.

In BC and Ontario, employees are paid an average day wage. Meaning, whatever they had earned in the last pay period (exempt from some earnings like overtime or vacation pay), is divided by the numbers of days worked.

In this case, some employees will earn $0 in stat holiday pay if they had not worked the pay period prior or; they could be paid $104 ($13 x 8) in stat holiday pay if they worked one shift!

3 - Sales vs. labor budget.

The method of scheduling strategically, is crucial in cost savings when running a business, especially one that sells products or goods.

Scheduling is so much more than filling spots on a roster. When creating an hourly employee schedule, you are scheduling labor. Using a sales vs. labor percentage is a great tool in accurately forecasting and effectively planning your schedule.

To calculate your forecasted sales vs labor percentage, take the dollar amount that scheduled, divided by the forecasted sales.

For example:

$1500 in labor cost / $5000 forecasted sales = 30% of sales is spent on labor.

Calculating your scheduled labor cost can be difficult, so we highly recommend investing in scheduling software that has automated sales vs labor forecasting!

4 - Communication

Happy employees are productive employees! Its key to produce and publish your staff schedules well in advance of the destined work week. You need to make sure you’re leaving enough time for you and your employees to make any sudden changes.

If your schedule is released last minute, you’ll be forced to make high-priced last minute changes. For example, if your evening server is calling in sick two days before their Saturday shift, and the only server that's available to cover will be reaching their overtime threshold, you’ll have very limited and costly options.

Whereas, if your schedule was released in advance, you would still have enough time to move employees around; and find the most cost-effective solution for your operations.

An easy way to make sure this works is to use a scheduling platform that allows your employees to easily communicate with one another, and yourself. Some hourly employee scheduling software solutions have shift swap functionalities that makes it easy for employees to make requests, that you as a manager can then approve.

5 -Employee performance.

Paying attention to your employee performances will allow you to optimize your labor; and provide your clients with the best service and experience you and your team can offer.

This is where you can schedule employees to their strengths. For example, if you run a restaurant and have one server who is a superstar at pushing specials, maybe schedule them during lunch or dinner rushes. If you have a seasoned bartender and a new barback starting, maybe schedule them together so your new hire has the proper training.

On top of paying attention of your employee’s performances, actually get to know them! Getting to know your employee’s will allow you to properly plan your hourly employee schedule. If your assistant manager is almost complete her school program, maybe offer her a long term position. If your server is planning on studying abroad for the summer, you can prepare for their departure and hire more servers to cover her role.

scheduling employees

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