The content for today’s article is courtesy of Andrea Davis – Kronos product manager and Workforce Central expert. This is the second post in the Workforce Scheduler blog series on Working Smarter Cafe. Check out the initial article, Three types of scheduling problems and how to manage them, here!
I walked into a coffee shop earlier this month to place a quick and simple order. I wasn’t pressed for time; so, I didn’t pay much attention to the two girls at the counter huddled over a piece of paper with the barista. I waited patiently for a while before getting a bit restless. What were they doing? A line of customers had formed behind me.
I began listening to the conversation and shifted to see what they were working on. A paper schedule; they were trying to iron out vacation time. Really?? And then clearly wearing my workforce management cap, I thought…self-service would have saved you a trip here and probably saved the rest of us these last five minutes.
Yes, a bit punchy. But I kept my thoughts to myself. Long story short, the barista eventually told her coworkers that they’d have to call the manager. I finally placed my order and was on my way; but they, unfortunately, weren’t any closer to getting their time off approved.
Reflecting on the coffee shop story, there is a sizable difference in experience between employees who have access to self-service options through Workforce Scheduler and employees who do not currently benefit from the capabilities. Take time off for example. The ability to submit an instant request in real-time creates a sense of empowerment among employees. They are granted greater control over what their schedules look like and can make decisions about when they work. Not to mention that it saves time.
Take a look at this Workforce Scheduler screenshot. The seven features located on the action bar at the top of the employee calendar view and called out in green are what we mean when we talk about employee self-service.
NOTE: If you’re wondering why your Workforce Scheduler employee calendar looks different than this one, check out the Flash Free resource page in the Kronos Community for more information.
Let’s break down what each self-service option is and why it’s used:
Employee to manager transactions
- Request Time Off – Time off is used by all industries. Need vacation? Submit a time-off request for manager approval. Avoid holding up a line of customers waiting for coffee…
- Request Work Time – Work time is also applicable across all industries. Employees can request additional time to work if they’re looking to pick up more hours.
- Request Open Shift – Especially popular in healthcare and retail organizations. Employees can request to pick up specific shifts marked as available on the master schedule and add them to their own schedule.
- Request Self-Schedule – Self-scheduling is a staple feature among many of our healthcare customers. Nurses appreciate selecting their own shifts based on what’s available; essentially, building their own schedules. Talk about workplace flexibility and empowering employees. Nurse managers would then conduct a final review of the master schedule before posting.
- Request Change Availability – Change availability enables organizations to allow employees to post when they are free to work. Retailers find this particularly useful.
Employee to employee transactions
- Request Shift Swap – Common in retail organizations, shift swap lets employees trade shifts with one another. Manager approval is configured in the request type so that it’s routed to a manager for approval after the second employee accepts the request to swap.
- Request to Cover – Employees can offer time to a co-worker. But unlike shift swap, there isn’t an actual exchange. The employee requesting coverage is giving away a shift without receiving a new one in return. Nurses and retail associates often use this feature for partial coverage, meaning that they can offer up specific hours rather than the entire duration of their shift.
It’s easy to infer from the descriptions that self-service options benefit both employees and managers. Employees are empowered to be more engaged in the scheduling process, and managers maximize their time spent in Workforce Scheduler so they can focus getting the rest of their job done.
BUT scheduling managers don’t have to enable all self-service capabilities to every employee, and they also don't have to make them accessible at all times. As seasons change, so might your self-service preferences. Managers can use rolling request periods to automate this process and set parameters that determine which self-service options are available to which employees and when. Here are steps for managers to consider:
- Determine which request types to make available to employees
- Specify the employees who see the requests
- Define the submission period (when requests can be submitted) and the request period (the dates for which time can be requested) in the schedule planner
Engage and empower with self-service
So, why not give the gift of self-service this year if you already have Workforce Scheduler? The functionality is built in to help you form schedules that suit both your employees’ needs and achieve a better scheduling strategy overall. Empowering employees with control over their schedules helps to create a culture of engagement where people enjoy working. What’s better than that?
Find more information to help you get started in these knowledgebase articles:
How to Configure a Basic Global Time Off Request. Read now.
Best Practices of Overall Self-Scheduling in Workforce Scheduler. Read now.
And for questions, join peers and Kronos product experts in the Workforce Central group in the Kronos Community.