Picture this: You own a café on a busy Friday evening. Unfortunately, you don't have enough staff, so your customers are waiting and under a lot of stress. This is a common issue for small business owners with regard to selling products or services, showing how important it is to be good at making schedules. Good scheduling isn't just about filling in team member slots on a calendar. It's about making sure your employees are in the right place at the right time so they can do their best work, make your customers happy, and ultimately grow the business. It's also about making sure you're not spending too much money on wages while still following the law. 

Making schedules that work can be tough because you have to predict how many customers you'll have and ensure everyone is happy with their shifts. But if you can make good schedules, it can greatly help your business. Your team will be more productive, you'll spend less money, and your business will be more successful overall. If you own a small business and learn how to make good schedules, it can really help you grow and succeed.

What are the Rostering Basics

what are the rostering basics

Rostering is the process of scheduling employees to work at the right time and place through employee scheduling software. It's important for any business, big or small, as it helps ensure that customers are served well, employees are happy, and the business runs smoothly. Good rostering can also help businesses meet legal requirements in terms of working hours.

Several Common Types of Rosters

1. A fixed roster is suitable for businesses with consistent demand, such as a local bookstore or a café with regular clientele. It provides stability for both staff planning and customer expectations.

2. Rotating rosters are used in businesses with varying demand levels, like retail stores with fluctuating foot traffic. Employees alternate shifts, ensuring fairness and coverage during peak times.

3. Split shifts are common in hospitality and divide an employee's workday into two separate segments. This helps optimize staffing during busy periods.

4. On-call rosters are crucial for emergency services or businesses that require 24/7 availability. They allow for flexibility in response to unforeseen demands.

Key Rostering Skills for Success

Managing employees' work schedules is essential for small business success. To do it effectively, you need to have some key skills. Here are three critical skills you should focus on, along with some practical tips on how to improve them, and how technology can help you do it better:

1. Flexibility: Being able to change your employees' schedules quickly in an amount of time if something unexpected happens is crucial. To do this well, you should regularly review your schedules and make changes as soon as you notice that someone is absent or that demand is different from what you expected.

2. Communication: When you're managing schedules, it's essential to communicate clearly with your employees. To do this, you can use tools like staff apps or boards, where you can share schedules and receive feedback. Make sure you let your team know about any changes as soon as possible so that everyone is on the same page.

3. Forecasting: You can use past data to predict when you'll need more or fewer employees in the future. To do this, you should look at previous sales and foot traffic to anticipate busy periods and schedule accordingly.

Technology can help you manage schedules more efficiently. There are tools like RosterElf that can streamline scheduling, simplify shift swaps, and allow real-time communication. These technologies not only support flexibility and effective communication but also provide valuable data for accurate forecasting.

By developing these skills and using rostering technology, small business owners can create better schedules that help their types of businesses run more smoothly and keep their employees happy.

How to Create The Perfect Roster

how to create the perfect roster

Creating the perfect roster is a balancing act that requires careful consideration of various factors.

1. Collect information on each employee's availability and preferences to ensure scheduling staff when they're actually able to work and reduce last-minute changes.

2. Familiarise yourself with local labour laws to ensure compliance with minimum rest periods, maximum working hours, and other relevant regulations, which protects your business legally and supports the wellbeing of your employees.

3. Evaluate your business's operational requirements, including busy periods, staffing levels needed to maintain quality service, and specific skill sets required for each shift. This assessment forms the foundation of your roster.

4. Accommodate employee preferences where possible to significantly boost morale and reduce turnover. Strive for a fair distribution of shifts and consider individual requests for days off or preferred working hours.

5. Employ rostering tools like RosterElf to streamline the scheduling process. These platforms can automatically consider availability, legal requirements, and business needs, simplifying the creation of optimal rosters.

6. Regularly review your rosters for any inefficiencies or issues. Be open to feedback from your team and willing to make adjustments to improve both employee satisfaction and business outcomes.

How to Overcome Common Rostering Challenges

Managing employee schedules can be a challenging task, but with a proactive approach and strategic planning, it can be made easier. Here are some tips for handling common scheduling problems:

1. Last-Minute Changes: Changes to schedules can happen unexpectedly, but you can still manage them. One solution is to have a flexible system in place where employees can swap shifts with each other as long as it follows the guidelines set by the company. You can also have a pool of reliable casual or part-time workers who can fill in on short notice.

2. Overstaffing: Having too many employees working at the same time can lead to unnecessary labour costs. To avoid this, you can use historical data and forecasting tools to predict customer demand more accurately. You can also regularly review and adjust rosters based on actual business needs and train managers to identify and correct overstaffing early.

3. Understaffing: Not having enough employees can lead to poor customer service and overworked employees. To avoid this, it's important to identify trends in understaffing and address them with targeted hiring. You can also implement a buffer in staffing for unexpected demand spikes and cross-train employees to fill multiple roles during shortages.

4. Employee Burnout: Scheduling can be demanding and lead to employee dissatisfaction and burnout. To avoid this, ensure a fair distribution of shifts and consider employee preferences when scheduling. Encouraging open communication about workload and burnout signs can also help adjust schedules to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Utilising Technology for Rostering

RosterElf is amazing software that has transformed the way small businesses manage their staff schedules. It offers many benefits beyond scheduling, making the rostering process more efficient, accurate, and flexible. 

One of its best features is that it simplifies the scheduling process. This means that it can take into account things like when your employees are available to work, their skills, and legal compliance requirements with just a few clicks. This saves business owners and managers a lot of time when creating and adjusting staff schedules.

Using RosterElf can bring many benefits to your business. Business owners report that it saves them a lot of time because the software reduces the manual labour involved in scheduling. This leads to better accuracy in staff schedules, which means that shifts are covered by the right staff. This also leads to better operational efficiency, improved employee satisfaction, and enhanced customer service.

mastering rostering skills

If you own a small business, it's important to manage your employees' schedules effectively. This means making sure that the right people are working at the right times so that your business runs smoothly and your customers are happy. To do this, you need to understand the basics of scheduling, learn some important skills, create schedules that work well, face any challenges that come up, and use technology to help you. 

We recommend that you start by using the tips in this guide and checking out our online time management tool called RosterElf. It's easy to use and has many great features that can help you manage your schedules more efficiently. Don't let scheduling become a problem for your business—take action now and use RosterElf to make things easier. Your team will appreciate it, and your business will benefit too!

Have Questions

We Have The Answers

What are the benefits of using RosterElf for small business scheduling?

RosterElf streamlines the scheduling process, easily considering employee availability, skills, and legal compliance. It significantly reduces the manual effort required in crafting and adjusting rosters, leading to accurate schedules, operational efficiency, increased employee satisfaction, and enhanced customer service.

How can small business owners effectively manage last-minute changes to employee rosters?

Implementing a flexible system where employees can swap shifts within company guidelines and maintaining a pool of casual or part-time staff for short-notice availability can help manage sudden changes efficiently, ensuring smooth operations despite unforeseen adjustments.

What are some strategies to prevent overstaffing and control labour costs in small businesses?

Utilising historical data and forecasting tools to accurately predict customer demand, regularly reviewing and adjusting rosters based on business needs, and training managers to recognize and rectify overstaffing promptly can significantly reduce unnecessary labour costs.

How can small businesses tackle the issue of understaffing without compromising on customer service?

Identifying understaffing trends and addressing them through targeted hiring, creating a staffing buffer for unexpected demand spikes, and cross-training employees to fill multiple roles are effective strategies for ensuring adequate staffing levels and maintaining high-quality customer service.

What measures can be taken to avoid employee burnout due to scheduling?

Ensuring a fair shift distribution, considering employee preferences, promoting open communication about workload and burnout, and adjusting schedules to support a healthy work-life balance can help prevent employee burnout and maintain a motivated workforce.

Why is mastering rostering skills crucial for small business owners, and how can technology aid in this process?

Mastering rostering skills ensures the right employees are working at optimal times, enhancing business operations and customer satisfaction. Technologies like RosterElf streamline the rostering process, making it easier to manage schedules efficiently, improving accuracy, and boosting overall business performance.

Important Notice

The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are of a general nature only and are based on RosterElf's interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice.

RosterElf is not responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be linked to this article and no warranty is made by us concerning the suitability, accuracy or timeliness of the content of any site that may be linked to this article.

RosterElf disclaims all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded) for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information contained in this article and any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.