Having the optimal combination of employees working at the right times is essential to effective business operations. But workforce scheduling can be challenging when you’re dealing with staffing fluctuations, increases in overtime, and variations in work schedules across different job types. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need to adjust employee schedules to account for absences and illness. Those public safety workers on the frontline have experienced this challenge first-hand and have certainly felt the squeeze.
To effectively match employee hours with agency needs, you need a workforce scheduling solution that provides both flexibility and transparency. Whether employees are working a simple 24/48 rotation or a seven-day, eight-hour rotating shift, you can manage your workforce more effectively with the aid of best-in-class tools for managing and communicating employee schedules.
Read on to learn the top ways workforce management (WFM) software helps you address common scheduling challenges.
Communicate Schedule and Shift Changes
Manual scheduling methods using paper or spreadsheets might be sufficient when everyone sees the same piece of paper or document at the same time, but they don’t work so well when you need to make scheduling adjustments. For example, if you made a schedule change on a Friday for the following week and the schedule was posted at the office, the employees who were out sick or not scheduled to work that day might not see the schedule change until it’s too late. If you have to track down employees by email or phone, you not only waste time, but you also risk not having the right people working at the right time. In the public safety sector, not having enough staff on hand can have life-or-death implications.
Workforce management software allows you to set schedules and communicate changes to employees immediately. Employees can access their schedules from any device and get real-time notifications when there are changes or opportunities for overtime or extra hours. In addition to providing employees with scheduling updates, you can also use workforce scheduling software to empower employees to take the following actions:
- Manage their schedules remotely
- Trade shifts with co-workers
- Request time off
- Sign up for open shifts
Manage Workforce Scheduling Exceptions
Workforce scheduling isn’t a “set it and forget it” exercise. At any given time, scheduling exceptions such as late arrivals, missed shifts, or extra overtime can happen, and you need to be able to take immediate action. Without insight into unplanned variations in employee work hours, you can experience under scheduling, overscheduling, or overtime that stretches your labor costs beyond budget. Excessive overtime can also cause workforce productivity to fall.
If employees are approaching the overtime limit, you don’t want to find they exceeded the limit after the pay period has ended. You want immediate notification so you have the option of adjusting their overtime hours in real time. Thankfully, TCP Aladtec’s workforce scheduling software for public safety allows you to define work limits and overtime rules, letting the scheduler know when an employee is in violation. With this added visibility into employee working hours, managers can follow up immediately with employees and address issues before they get out of control.
Manage Schedules Across Job Types and Locations
Today’s complex public safety agencies have employees performing a range of roles, and therefore, employee schedules are likely to vary across job types and locations. For example, a paramedic may fill in for an EMT or driver position but an EMT cannot fill a paramedic position. In such a case, using a manual workforce scheduling solution won’t provide the flexibility needed to manage multiple schedule types in line with daily and weekly changes in customer demand.
For effective workforce management, it’s essential to have a scheduling solution that easily expands to fit multiple schedule types. Available software gives you the flexibility to manage your diverse workforce and accomplish the following:
- Use schedule-building tools to create a customized schedule for any position or shift
- View daily and weekly coverage across all schedules and locations
- Communicate instantly with individuals or groups via text/email
Efficient workforce scheduling allows you to put the right people in the right place at the right time. When you have the technology and tools to elevate your scheduling capability, you can easily create schedules, gain more control over labor costs, and access data for better decision-making. Learn more about how Aladtec scheduling software solves common pain points for public safety agencies, download our eBook, “Technology to the Rescue: Scheduling Software Solves Public Safety Pains.”