There was a time not so long ago when employee availability management for a supervisor was a nightmare. All over their desk, they would have notes related to availability from employees. Employee A needs this day off, and Employee B can’t work on Sundays due to family obligations. Scheduling of the workforce used to take more time than most managers wanted to invest. Let’s get into the nitty gritty of what employee availability management entails and how the process can be simplified.
What is Employee Availability Management?
Employee availability management is essentially a matching process. The scheduling manager is responsible for matching the workflow needs of the business with the business’s available resources. Those resources (the staff, in this case) have their own constraints, which must be considered in the day-to-day operation of the restaurant or grocery store.
The Importance of Employee Availability Management
In a food service or grocery environment, your staff members will always be the business’s most important asset. The right employees have to be in place at the right time to keep customers happy. As the scheduling manager, you know what your business needs throughout the day and week. You also know that if you fail to meet those needs, the business will suffer. While you’re trying to match the business’s needs with staffing, you will face the challenge of trying to manage the workforce as effectively and efficiently as possible. To be effective, you have to navigate scheduling employees around issues like:
- Employee emergencies
- Increased staffing needs due to special promotions
- Sick days
- Shift change requests
- Requests for more or fewer work hours
In some food service businesses, no two work schedules will look the same from one week/month to the next. In short, it can be a bit of a nightmare.
Getting Scheduling Information From Employees
In a restaurant or grocery setting, employees tend to be a little more transient than employees in an office or factory setting. They may look at their work responsibilities as something that needs to be crafted around their lives. Part of the reason for this kind of mindset has to do with the shift mentality. Employees and management in these industries often view work time in terms of shifts. Without a doubt, food service employees need/want more flexibility in their scheduling. It might be because of school obligations or their part-time status as employees.
Regardless of the whys, retail and food service workers tend to have more scheduling conflicts than you might see in other industries. As a manager, you have to remain as flexible about scheduling as possible. However, you need to let your employees know that they must relay their scheduling needs and conflicts to you well in advance of you creating the weekly or monthly work schedule. That can be a real challenge in a larger business environment. Just the same, you need a process and procedures in place to get the scheduling information you require – when it’s required.
Employee Availability Management Software
We have good news for all of you scheduling managers out there who struggle to put together workable schedules. TimeForge features built-in request management that helps resolve all of the above issues and much more. Our software works like an employee portal. Using a browser or our Employee Mobile app, your employees can submit their scheduling requests to you in real-time. Once you receive their requests, you can approve or deny them from your own browser or the Manager Mobile app. At that point, the information is automatically integrated into the scheduling system. When it’s time to start working on the weekly/monthly work schedule, you won’t be shuffling around your desk for little pieces of paper. You would simply start laying out the work schedule. If you were to attempt to schedule an employee at a time that is in conflict with an approved request, you would be notified and could make an instant adjustment.
By using our software, you can take literal hours off of the task of employee scheduling. That is employee availability management made easy. In the end, you’ll have more time to address more pressing issues like customer satisfaction. If you would like more information about our employee availability management tools and scheduling software, just give us a call or grab us for a live demo. We’ll show you exactly how TimeForge can make managing your labor a breeze.