The Key to Scheduling Employees — Tips from the Experts

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Managing your employees can take up a ton of time. But if you’re good at it, it’s very rewarding. For one, having a well-functioning, effective team is instrumental in helping you run and grow your business. And secondly, being an effective manager means you’re in a position to help mentor your employees — setting them up for future success in whatever they end up doing (hopefully it’s taking on more at your business).

But management is a skill — and takes a lot of practice and work. It’s about both the bigger picture (like fostering a healthy, supportive work environment) and the day to day (like making sure you’re on top of scheduling).

Homebase, TSheets, and When I Work — shift scheduling tools you can now hook up to our Employee Management software through Square App Marketplace — are companies that coach businesses every day on how to effectively manage employees. So we tapped them for their top pieces of advice:

Recruit and hire the best.

“It starts with the hiring process. Bringing people onto your team who are a good culture fit for the company is essential to success. There are lots of talented people out there with amazing educations, tremendous intellectual capacity, and technical aptitude. But not every person is the right fit for every team. Don’t forget to look at personality, passions, priorities, and drive. That’s what will take a team from good to unstoppable.” —TSheets

Keep an open communication channel.

“You work in a fast-paced business and important information is gathered all the time — and often lost as quickly. Make sure that you’re creating easy ways for your team to record important information and pass it on to the managers and the next shift. Make sure that everyone is getting the information they need.” —Homebase

Start onboarding your employees before day one.

“To reduce the likelihood of employee turnover, take the time to prepare for and welcome your new employees ahead of their start date. Add them to your database and tools, give them information that will help them hit the ground running, and make them feel excited about their new role.” —When I Work

Lead, don’t manage.

“Ask anyone you know if they like to be managed and they’ll probably answer with a strong no. People love to be led. They love to be inspired and work for someone who can get a group of people surrounded around a common goal and focus on the end results. Develop a vision and lead your team to victory.” —TSheets

Give your employees access to technology and tools.

“Adopting and implementing tools and technology that make work better for you and your team can lead to boosts in efficiency, happiness, and success.” —When I Work

Acknowledge employee effort.

“We all have a deep need for significance and to believe that people value our efforts. This truth extends to employees. If you take the time to notice the good, people will work harder to earn more of that acknowledgment. At the end of the day, every single person just wants someone to believe in them. They want to be respected. Be the manager who respects them and be the manager who gets their best effort.” —TSheets

Publish a schedule at least two weeks out.

“Some employees thrive with a flexible week, while others may require planning for childcare and transportation. You can make life easier for both by giving them at least two weeks’ notice of their schedule. Set the expectation that the schedule may change (they probably already understand this), and give them an easy way to stay up to date (like viewing the schedule from the free Homebase app). It will require an adjustment, but you’ll find that scheduling gets easier over time: time-off requests will start appearing earlier and unexpected conflicts will magically go down.” —Homebase

Be the example.

“To be a great leader, you have to be a top talent yourself. Remember, birds of a feather. Constantly invest in yourself: read, stay curious, and stay hungry to learn and try to continuously better yourself. That will make people with a similar work ethic want to be around you and be on your team.” —TSheets

Regularly evaluate your staffing levels.

Scheduling is always a tightrope walk: understaff and you risk missing sales and disappointing your customers; overstaff and you pay too much while disappointing your tip-driven team. Don’t get in the habit of copying the schedule from last week without reviewing how your business might be different. Homebase can make it easier to plan a schedule that matches the needs of your business: You can forecast your labor costs against your Square sales as you build the schedule, and you can even view the upcoming weather.” —Homebase

Set schedule boundaries that blend flexibility and predictability.

“There are lots of reasons why work availability can change: people get sick, family emergencies happen, and sometimes there is just a really good band in town. Homebase can help manage the time-off requests and shift trades so that employees can enjoy flexibility without overwhelming you and your managers. But it can help to set rules for when a non-emergency change will be approved; for example, all shift trades in by 5 p.m. the day before. You won’t be caught off guard, and your team can plan their requests.” —Homebase

Let your employees know that you trust them.

“Empowering your employees by giving them more trust, more responsibilities, and the ability to make their own decisions can allow you to weed out the employees who can’t see the big picture and raise up the ones who will help you take your business to the next level.” —When I Work

What sort of things have you found to be effective in managing and scheduling your employees? Share your own experience and tips on our Facebook page.

And to make managing your employees a lot more streamlined, sign up for Square Employee Management. Then sync your Square account with When I Work, HomeBase, or Tsheets in the Square App Marketplace.

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