I know that Christmas was last month, but I can’t resist sharing this Time Well Spent from our friends at Kronos because it beautifully demonstrates that staffing and scheduling are two different things. Staffing is about finding the right people to do the work. And scheduling is about making sure they show up at the right times. Both are important.
I remember working on a project years ago where the company was convinced that their problem was staffing. They kept telling everyone that they didn’t have the right people. And that they weren’t being trained properly. After a thorough analysis, the problem was discovered to be scheduling. Oh sure, the company could have used a few more good employees and some better training. But the bottom-line was that employees weren’t being scheduled when the operation needed them the most.
Identify key tasks that must be completed during operational shifts. Think about what needs to happen during each shift in your organization. I’m reminded of my hotel days when we created opening checklists or closing checklists. It was a reminder for everyone in the department what needed to happen.
Spread the work around. Speaking of those checklists, one person didn’t complete the entire checklist. One employee might do 1-2 items. Another employee was responsible for 2-3 items. This approach created more of a team environment where each employee was a contributor to the department’s success.
Encourage cross-training so there are multiple employees who are capable of doing these tasks. Finally, because multiple employees were involved in the opening / closing checklist, the department didn’t miss a beat when an employee called in sick or took vacation. Another employee simply filled in.
As the labor market continues to challenge us, this will be a real issue for companies. If you have one employee who completes a specific report every week, what is the company going to do if that person resigns tomorrow? While the company can simply dump the work on another employee’s desk, that doesn’t mean they’re the best person for the job. Sorta like giving a reindeer’s job to an elf, if ya know what I mean…
Part of running a smooth operation is making sure that the right people are working at the right times. It’s also making sure that “back-ups” are in place so those “right people” can take a day off, go to an all-day workshop, or deal with an emergency. They can focus on what they’re doing while at the same time, the company can focus on running the business.18