6 Ways to Effectively Manage Part-Time Employee Scheduling

If you're among the small businesses that hire part-time staff, you're familiar with the issues of managing employee scheduling. And these issues can be augmented by various reasons, from the recent needs brought on by a tight labor market to seasonal demand or a growth cycle.

The time spent making adjustments and dealing with the logistics of part-time employee scheduling can take a toll, often taking you away from your higher-level leadership tasks.

HR professionals point to several key factors to consider as you work to develop effective scheduling practices, particularly for part-time staffing.   

Employee Morale

Creating efficient work schedules can boost employee morale and increase staff retention.

"Streamlined schedules that are easy for them to understand and require minimal changes build a culture of respect and set a positive example for time management," says an article posted by Indeed for employers.

Consistency

Although it's likely you may not be able to provide your staff with the same schedule every week - depending on your type of business - it's essential to be consistent whenever possible.

That might mean scheduling an employee the same three days every week or morning-only shifts for another staff member.

"A consistent work schedule makes it easier for employees to plan for their week, and they'll start to get good at working that particular shift," says a blog by Jamie Johnson for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Equity

Be aware that your scheduling efforts can sometimes take on more meaning beyond your logistical intentions, such as perceived employee preferences or workload inequities.

You may need to find ways to communicate more effectively if you sense your work culture is shifting due to more part-time workers.

"It's natural for part-time workers to work fewer hours but workload differences can still cause resentment," says a blog posted by Insperity, which provides HR and other business solutions. On the other hand, the article continues, full timer employyes may feel they put in more time and effort compared to their part-time counterparts. 

The blog recommends identifying ways for full-time and part-time employees to work together as a team to help smooth over any perceived scheduling or workload preferences.

Advance Notice

It can be a weekly scramble to put together part-time employee scheduling, let alone do so in advance.

While they vary, predictive scheduling laws require that you give your employees adequate notice of their work schedules — many states require you to publish the schedule seven to 14 days prior.

It remains good practice to follow that policy, even if it's not a state requirement, writes Johnson in the U.S. Chamber post. By doing so, you're providing your employees plenty of advance notice so that there are no surprises and decreases the chances of a no-show. 

Costs

Business owners new to juggling part-time shifts might tend to overschedule to be doubly sure that there are no holes in coverage.

But overscheduling will cost you in the form of wasted wage expenses. On the other hand, under-scheduling can also result in a lost cost, such as reduced productivity. And inadequate staffing can cost you customers and, therefore, lower revenues.

Flexibility

Be flexible and communicate your scheduling policies, including an employee's options if something requires a change. It's often called an absent management plan.  

"Someone will get sick, or an employee may realize they're scheduled to work during their sister's high school graduation," says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce blog. 

"That's why it's essential to be flexible and make it easy for employees to switch shifts if they need to. You may want to put some ground rules in place — for instance, requiring at least 24 hours' notice for non-emergencies."

Also, take note of the employees who want extra days and their availability. It's a list that comes in handy for general scheduling purposes and to fill in gaps created by last-minute schedule changes.

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