Mistakes New Managers Make When Rostering and Scheduling

Managers must consider everything from employee qualifications to the time between shifts when rostering and scheduling. Awards have different requirements, and the instructions are often very elaborate. The likelihood of mistakes is higher for new managers who are still familiarising your business and the intricacies of various reward systems.

This post will discuss the most typical rostering and scheduling mistakes that not-so-new managers make and how your business can prevent them.

1. Creating Rosters using Pen-and-Paper or in Excel

Small businesses may benefit from Excel or pen-and-paper rosters, but it isn't feasible for medium- and large-sized organisations. They are prone to unreadable mistakes and have a lot of black lettering, making it difficult to view the broader picture or identify problems.

It's easy to mistakenly fill out the incorrect column, look at the wrong row, or fail to recognise a situation in which someone is scheduled twice a day. It's a disaster waiting to happen when you factor in things like handwriting errors or typos, the chance of missing updates, and accidental file deletion.

Thanks to a straightforward drag-and-drop roster builder, you can easily see what's happening. Additionally, it will notify you of any potential schedule conflicts or award inaccuracies. Even shorter jobs and breaks can be micro-scheduled, and you can include costs, conditions for awards, qualifications that must be met, reminders, and more.

You need an intelligent system that recognises your needs, automates the job, and handles the heavy work for your managers.

2. Staff Overscheduling or Underscheduling

The highest cost for many businesses is labour; thus, scheduling an excessive number of employees can cut profit margins. However, under-scheduling can make employees struggle and upset consumers. Long-term, it can lead to reduced employee retention and, worse, reduced morale.

To effectively handle no-shows, managers must develop effective procedures and accurately forecast the number of employees needed. This is difficult for new managers since they need to gain previous company experience. 

To correctly estimate how many staff members you need to schedule, employee rostering software should analyse past absences and match them to service-level requirements. To help you stay within your budget, you should include exterior details in the roster, such as data from PoS, booking systems, or sites. 

Not only will you receive an immediate notification if someone is late for their shift, but the employee management software will also automatically recommend the best backup based on availability data. If your employee management software doesn't allow you to do this in a matter of seconds, you should consider if it's suitable for your organisation.

3. Lack of Effective Staff Communication

Even the best scheduling and rostering will only be effective if employees know their shifts. It's a surprisingly common mistake, whether it was sent late because the schedule needed to be checked or a manager forgot an employee had reserved days off.

Employees can always know where, when, and how long they are scheduled to work since RosterElf rostering and payroll software alert employees about their roster and updates it on the app. Any system or software must be user-friendly for employees. 

This can significantly boost employee engagement and motivation as more than 33% of staff are unsatisfied with the flexibility for swapping, canceling, and taking shifts.

4. Workload Miscalculation

In addition to the time needed to send out schedules, arrange shift cover, and reschedule those who've been scheduled mistakenly, it can surely take days to make compliant rosters. 

New managers tend to hurry to finish the roster on time and send it out at the last minute whenever they underestimate the task. This makes employees more displeased and raises the possibility of errors and absenteeism.

Building a complex roster that gets the correct employees to the correct spots at the right times takes 78% less time using RosterElf's employee management software. Your employees will function efficiently and effectively, and your HR team will have less work, less stress, and fewer headaches.

5. Awards Slip-Up or Lack of Understanding 

The current awards system in Australia can be complicated; for example, the general hospitality award alone contains hundreds of different pay points, whilst the general retail industry award's list of points needs pages to cover all of them.

Pay rates are influenced by various factors, such as the length of the previous shift, your employees' status and roles, the number of days they worked, and so on. Therefore, it's expected that your managers commit mistakes. 

For inexperienced managers, it's too easy to neglect criteria or pass up chances to save money. They can schedule employees in a way that emphasises overtime pay or meal allowances when a simple roster change eliminates this need. 

What's worse is that they may need to observe the maximum workdays, which might lead to expensive fines for non-compliance with the terms of the award.

Final Thoughts 

Though they can only sometimes be avoided, scheduling issues can be controlled. Everything comes down to structure and communication in the end. 

We highly encourage you to use employee management software that allows you to create, modify, and publish schedules with the press of a button. The era of never-ending Excel spreadsheets is behind us. You will save so much time by using a staff scheduling tool, allowing you to concentrate on the aspects of your company that are important.

RosterElf: Rostering Made Easy


RosterElf's cloud-based rostering and payroll software truly is a game-changer. Say goodbye to roster conflicts and chase employees for their availability to work. Instead, employees can easily update their availability to work and notify managers about it through a smartphone app. 


Staff set the times and days they can work, and RosterElf does the rest. Our software then automatically suggests available employees fill shifts. 


What are you waiting for? Time to take your rostering and payroll game to the next level and boost your business' performance. Call us now, and our team will be more than happy to assist you. 


To get a clearer view of how our app works, enjoy 30-day access to our tool for free!

Have Questions?

We Have The Answers!

What is the main disadvantage of using Excel or pen-and-paper for scheduling?

Excel and pen-and-paper rosters are prone to errors, such as incorrect entries or missed updates. This makes it hard to manage schedules effectively, especially for medium and large businesses.

How does overscheduling or underscheduling affect a business?

Overscheduling increases labour costs, while underscheduling stresses employees and can upset customers. Both issues can lead to low morale and high employee turnover.

Why is staff communication crucial in rostering?

Effective communication ensures employees know their shifts, reducing confusion and increasing job satisfaction. It also allows for quick adjustments if changes are needed.

What common mistakes do new managers make in workload estimation?

New managers often underestimate the time required to create compliant rosters, leading to rushed and error-prone schedules. This can result in dissatisfied employees and increased absenteeism.

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.

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