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Centralized Scheduling: Taking Emotion Out of Scheduling

Your journey in evaluating centralized scheduling may have you believing that it is the right decision for your organization. You have carefully considered the benefits… it makes sense financially, makes sense operationally, makes sense in terms of efficiency. If there is still something holding you back from taking that leap though, maybe it’s a feeling… or should I say an emotion. I touched upon this in a prior blog evaluating centralized scheduling:

Moving from decentralized scheduling to centralized scheduling is change management… change is uncomfortable

So, there we have it. Change…it’s not easily embraced. Your employees aren’t looking to pull down a change to their scheduling. You certainly don’t feel prepared to push down a change to scheduling. But why is there so much emotion involved in scheduling?

We need to TAKE EMOTIONS OUT OF SCHEDULING. Focus on scheduling for business needs!

Just when this line of thinking becomes obvious, a no-brainer, and everything seems to make sense about centralized based scheduling, the uncomfortable feeling sneaks back in. Scheduling to the forecasted demand and not teammates’ availability is a huge part of the change management needed when moving to centralized based scheduling. This is where the best companies, with the best employees, get uncomfortable.

Taking emotions out of the scheduling process should never be confused with taking the individualism out of the teammates. We are merely talking about scheduling to the forecast demand, not teammates’ availability. Be honest with your teammates, from that first interview… they have a job because your company needs to deliver goods and/or services to your customers. Sounds simple, right? Your teammates either need to be available to work:

To pay them for work during any other time would not be considered improving operational efficiency and customer service. Once your teammates realize that when the customers win, you all win, the idea of a team of centralized scheduling specialists doesn’t become so uncomfortable. The more satisfied your customers are, the more they frequent your organization, the more you grow, the more hours of work that are available to your teammates, the happier they are, and so the cycle continues…

So, I guess we aren’t taking all emotion out of scheduling, just the emotions tied to negative connotation. We need to redirect the emotions of fear and loss that some may associate with being scheduled by an unknown entity…a centralized scheduling team. Focus on what ownership is still to be had with one’s schedule.

Integrating employee self- service (ESS) is a solution in making both line teammates and department managers feel empowered in the scheduling process still. ESS allows teammates to manage their availability, request time off, request additional work, view their schedules all at their own convenience. Likewise, managers still have control of approving availability changes, requests for time off, who is swapping shifts or picking up additional work shifts, etc. What once was a manual process is now streamlined, documented, quick and easy.

I will leave you with another win-win to recognize. Enforcing scheduling regulations, workgroups and minors’ rules compliance, etc. is a necessity in the scheduling world. If your company operates in multiple states or regions, you already know that you also must handle multiple scheduling regulations. Some examples are:

Having a scheduling system that can accommodate these regulations is key, but having a centralized scheduling team keep up on these regulation changes (federal, state, local) and ensure that teammates are scheduled according to law and internal policies is priceless.

I hope this gives you a perspective of centralized scheduling that you haven’t considered before.

Please follow future blogs in your evaluation of centralized scheduling. Is it right for your organization? It can be!

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