It’s a commonly known fact that effective staff management requires effective scheduling. However, not all companies are able to achieve this. In fact, a lot of them still fight with inefficient scheduling techniques that have a detrimental effect on both individual workers and the company as a whole.

Poor scheduling can be caused by a number of things, including disconnected systems, out-of-date manual tools, and a lack of visibility into the workforce. Furthermore, while a company might be able to operate and grow its personnel in the short term with a subpar scheduling procedure, it is practically hard to do so without a solid scheduling strategy.

Businesses can improve workforce management to increase employee engagement and retention, achieve operational efficiency, improve service quality, and increase profitability by utilizing smarter scheduling policies. 

This blog covers some intelligent scheduling strategies essential for an optimized workforce. 

What is Workforce Management Scheduling? 

Before becoming too technical, it’s critical to understand scheduling as a component of workforce management. The term “workforce management” (WFM) describes the procedures and equipment a company utilizes to enable and support its workers to finish their tasks.
A crucial component of workforce management is scheduling, particularly for the 80% of multinational corporations that depend on mobile labor to provide their goods and services on the ground.  

Mobile workforce management (MWM) is an important part of these businesses’ larger WFM strategy, and it should be optimized to better support and empower staff members, get rid of inefficiencies, and generate greater teamwork and communication. 

Moreover, it is imperative for organizations to utilize an appropriate scheduling strategy to satisfy growing consumer demands, optimize staff productivity, and ensure optimal resource utilization. 

Workforce Management Scheduling Challenges 

Organizations’ approaches to scheduling must adapt to the changing nature of the workforce. However, most organizations find it much difficult to send a person to do their tasks after receiving an appointment request. 

There are several common scheduling challenges they face, including: 

  • Poor labor forecasting 
  • Lack of flexibility 
  • Poorly integrated software 
  • Manual data entry 
  • Shift conflicts 
  • Unpredictable work hours 
  • Not enough notice 
  • Understaffing or overstaffing issues 
  • Inaccurate time-tracking data 
  • No established process for time-off requests 

 Workforce Management Scheduling Strategies 

There are some best employee scheduling strategies that your firm may use to enhance staff operation, regardless of company size, industry, or goals. 

1. Schedule tasks according to skill levels 

To ascertain the right fit, you may take into account some fundamental elements including tools, expertise, and accessibility to the work site.  

However, planning only around those little things is probably not going to be enough to support you in achieving your more strategic business objectives, including reduced expenses, increased client retention, improved staff training, or decreased attrition.

Besides, your company’s priorities may change over time, even from one project to the next, so you need a scheduling approach to help you plan tasks that support those goals. 

So, your scheduling process must consider a wide variety of factors, such as: 

  • Required skills and qualifications 
  • Experience 
  • Language preferences 
  • Gender preferences (especially in healthcare) 
  • Necessary certifications and licenses  
  • Current location versus proximity to the job 
  • Current work in progress 
  • Employee preferences 

By matching the appropriate employee to the job based on each of those factors, you can maximize the abilities and talent of your team. For example, don’t send a green technician to finish an installation if the customer has a history of really difficult installs. To guarantee superior customer service, send a properly qualified tech who possesses the necessary training, credentials, language skills, and availability. 

This way, you can offer better customer service to the client. 

2. Integrate your software 

If your team utilizes multiple tools for HR and personnel needs, keeps track of customers in a CRM, creates daily plans on a spreadsheet, and has separate systems for finance and billing, it might be time to reevaluate. These disjointed systems have the potential to make an easy scheduling request into an extremely difficult, time-consuming procedure: 

  • To discover an available worker, the staff scheduler must first search through the customer database for information about the account, client, job specs, history, and more.
  • Afterwards, they must review the schedule, which may or may not be the most recent version.
  • The scheduler then sifts through the broader pool of possible service providers to identify the best candidate (based on skill set, certifications, location, current client contacts, etc.). Numerous emails, spreadsheets, phone conversations, and calendars are typically needed for this.
  • The employee will then be guided to the job site by the staff scheduler.
  • The mobile worker has to finish the task (perhaps without having real-time access to all the job specifics required), record any job notes or client data, and then bring those details back to headquarters.
  • Following that, back-office staff will handle the worker timesheet, customer information, and other necessary papers.
  • Lastly, they will forward the data to the required internal personnel, who will re-enter the information into the pertinent systems. 

3. Automate time tracking 

Details frequently loose track when companies rely on workers to independently monitor and control their working hours. There are numerous chances for errors to occur if a mobile worker must manually complete their timesheet, bring it back to the office, and wait for HR and finance to process the data. 

Whereas if data is not shared between departments, the process becomes even more problematic. One department may never notify the other of any data adjustments or modifications, which results in delays and mistakes in payroll and invoicing. 

However, the company has an unrestricted, real-time look of hours spent, jobs in progress, and availability. Thanks to the automation of time tracking. With this comprehensive skill, they can more effectively prevent needless overtime and fatigue.   

4. Collect and analyze data and reports 

Although data-driven businesses outperform their competitors in terms of earnings, many organizations still lack the interoperability and analysis needed to make wise business decisions. This also applies to scheduling, where a productive procedure is based on facts from the past and present.

Consider times when client demand is more or lower than usual. How does your team adjust for these changes without experiencing understaffing or underutilization problems? And without precise data that reflects actual performance, how can your company discover and address issues associated with insufficient scheduling, such as a high percentage of late arrivals, a lengthy time to arrange, or a high travel time? 

Your organization may gather important workforce data (from a range of integrated sources) with the correct scheduling technology, which can then be examined to gain a deeper understanding of all of your vital business operations. 

5. Communicate with your team members 

Every business needs effective communication to succeed, but it can be difficult for those with staff that work both in and out of the office. Job performance and customer satisfaction suffer if they lack the appropriate instruments to communicate possible delays, unforeseen schedule changes, current locations, or the need for an additional helping hand. Furthermore, staff schedulers who are unaware of problems in the field as they arise are unable to create efficient schedules. 

It’s critical to provide your employees with tools that enable efficient, real-time communication wherever they are. Mobile-friendly tools assist teams in avoiding errors, omissions, and miscommunications that would otherwise detract from the client experience. Schedulers can rapidly notify clients and deskless employees of last-minute changes or cancellations with the appropriate technology. Additionally, mobile personnel can work together in the field to complete tasks correctly the first time. 

Final Thoughts 

Well-run businesses plan appropriately because they recognize how crucial good scheduling is to the efficient running of their workforce. But without the proper procedures and equipment, it’s likely that your company doesn’t have the efficiency, adaptability, and visibility it needs to be competitive.  

Workforce scheduling strategies provide deep analytics and insights, streamline communications, and offer an all-inclusive approach. Hence, helping companies optimize their scheduling and dispatching process for a stronger, more productive workforce.