This post was updated on December 24, 2019

The holidays are upon us and we are all frantically trying to check items off our to-do lists – for me it’s balancing everything from getting gifts to baking cookies to my typical day to day! It always seems to work out in the end after some late nights and a lot of stress. In thinking about it, there is only one person I know of that has this holiday thing down - Santa!  

For Santa, planning for the next holiday season begins right after the current season ends. Think about what must go into preparing for the single most important day of the year for Santa and his team – December 24th – that’s when all the magic happens! He has to schedule the right number of helpers at the right time who can reach the right productivity goals because he can’t afford for something like this to happen, oopsie!

automated scheduling

We’ll cut him some slack because it is Santa, but an error like that can lead to a decrease in customer satisfaction (a lot of disappointed boys and girls) which nobody wants this time of year.

What would help Santa ensure he gets everything where it needs to be when it needs to be there on that magic night? Well duh, an automated scheduling solution that would help him make sure he had the right elf with the right skills in the right place at the right time – so when someone calls out sick he’s covered. After that unfortunate Christmas Eve in the cartoon…Santa and Mrs. Claus decided it was time to go on the hunt for a scheduling solution that could handle the complexities of their workshop, it was time for them to make a wish list of their own for once!

1. Forecasting

No more surprises when it came to the number of elves needed in the workshop! Making data driven scheduling decisions is one way of ensuring a more stability and reliability amongst the team. Being able to easily import and have a solution calculate work volume needs based on historical data would give Santa and Mrs. Claus great peace of mind in knowing that they wouldn’t be under or over staffed.

2. A robust and flexible rule engine

It’s important to Santa and Mrs. Claus to ensure they are able to set ground rules regarding the maximum amount of hours elves work in a day, the maximum number of days in a row that can be worked, budgets, and even thresholds around how far in advance schedule changes require an elf’s permission. These and other rules help Santa and Mrs. Claus keep in line with their gift giving strategies while ensuring that the elves are protected as well.

3. Shift swapping and coverage flexibility

Santa and Mrs. Claus care deeply for all of the elves that work for them and they really want to allow them the flexibility to swap shifts or ask for coverage amongst themselves when they need to. They know that if the elves had this flexibility they would need way less direct management from the Sr. Elf around scheduling changes but, more importantly, there would be less burnout and happier elves in their workshops!

4. Accessibility

Although a lot of time is spent working, the elves, Santa and Mrs. Claus are not always in the workshop. For this reason, they want to be able to access their personal schedules, manage the elves’ schedules and create new schedules on their mobile phones from wherever they may be. Mobile phones, you say? Of course they have mobile phones! Could you survive without one?

5. Visibility

Having all of the information needed to schedule the elves on one screen was the Sr. Elf’s biggest ask. Specifically, being able to see budget and hours scheduled, the elves’ work preferences, toggling between a full month and a week or even a day’s schedule, having the visibility into who is qualified and available to work open shifts all on one screen would make the Sr. Elf’s life so much easier.

In the end, Santa and Mrs. Claus were able to get everything on their scheduling wish list and more! Since they’re now using an automated scheduling solution, their elves have been engaged and more productive than ever before. And since, there has been a certain relief Santa has felt holiday season after holiday season knowing that he and his team will be ready on that ever-important Christmas Eve to get gifts into the homes of children near and far! Happy Holidays!

If you want to know more about what matters when it comes to scheduling, recruiting, onboarding, payroll, retention, or any other part of your elf or employee lifecycle, check out our HCM Buyer's Guide. It's got all the details you need to find the right system for your needs.

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Published: Tuesday, December 24, 2019