Scheduling a team of employees with a variety of availabilities and commitments isn’t exactly the most relaxing task. Despite your efforts to plan ahead, something always inevitably goes wrong – a scheduled worker falls ill, people get booked for the same shift, and sometimes staff part ways, leaving you high and dry.
With the holidays just around the corner, you’ll have more on your plate than just scheduling. On top of your regular responsibilities, you’ll have additional seasonal hires to bring up to speed, workers scheduled for time off, and more! Plus, the holiday season can be a huge stressor for your employees, so you’ll need to also focus on keeping them motivated during this important period.
While there isn’t a foolproof system (and if there’s one out there, we want to be the first to know!) there are a number of steps you can take to minimize the risk of complications during this busy season! Here are a few great ones to get you started:
Set expectations early
It never hurts to plan in advance – be direct with your employees and let them know what your expectations are for the holiday season. Let them know how often they should expect to be working during this seasonal period, and set a firm deadline for vacation requests.
Don’t make assumptions
Communicate with your staff so you know what their plans are for the holidays. While a good number of them will likely want some time off to spend with friends and family, there will be those who are looking for extra hours. Take note of each individual’s ideal situation before putting together the schedule.
Avoid needless overworking
The holidays are chaotic, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a dictator! These individuals are working hard for your business, and employee burnout is a very real thing. Ensure there are enough on-call staff in case it gets busy. If it’s slow, don’t be afraid to let a few individuals go home early. Trust us – your kindness will not go unnoticed.
Empower your employees
Sometimes, the best remedy for tackling an overwhelming task is to share the power with others. For example, put together a process for if a team member needs to switch a shift. Allow them to access the schedule through a shared document and contact their fellow coworkers. Then, they can approach you with a solution, rather than expecting you to solve their problem!
Delegate the work
Know that an employee of yours will be on vacation next week? Have a game plan for how you’ll divvy up their workload amongst your team. Ensure that it doesn’t all fall to one or two team members – they’ll be thankful for it.
Incentivize your team
Working through the holidays isn’t fun, no matter how you slice it. For the dedicated workers who are on staff, consider offering a “holiday bonus”. It’s better to pay a little more to have a motivated team, especially during the holiday rush!