How Legion’s AI automates scheduling

March 27, 2018

by Bob Holmie

Chef Happy At Work1 Cropped

Many people don’t think there’s such a thing as a perfect employee schedule. And maybe there isn’t — but Legion brings things pretty close. A good schedule ensures proper coverage for customers, efficient deployment of the labor budget, and strong employee satisfaction scores. The perfect schedule, on the other hand, must balance the work to be done, when employees actually want to work, as well as the relevant laws, regulations, and staffing policies on any given day at any given hour. That’s a pretty tall order.

After all, there are countless permutations (and tradeoffs) that businesses make every day, many times without even realizing it. And on top of a practically endless number of possible schedule options, there are also an unwieldy number of constraints. Labor compliance, budgets, employee preferences, business staffing policies, and more have to be taken into account, and despite your best efforts, doing so can ultimately break your schedule.

So why is this important activity so often done manually? People are better than software at many things, but processing millions of data points isn’t one of them. And much of the software that does exist as an alternative for labor forecasting and scheduling can only make approximate matches. These activities are therefore only digitized to the point that the work gets done, but imperfectly. The fact is that most platforms have over-promised, because the technology was not right yet. It’s no wonder people think there’s no such thing as a perfect schedule—or a good solution to the problem.

But that’s where Legion and our automated scheduling approach comes in. We think the time—and technology—is right for advanced automated scheduling. We’re bringing about what we call the fourth generation of workforce engagement software, an evolution that incorporates machine learning and artificial intelligence to make our vision for what work should look like a reality. Legion can process tens of thousands of data points—from what an employee prefers and is best at to when a surge of traffic is expected—in seconds and create an optimal schedule that provides the best possible data-driven outcome. Once we get all the employee preferences and demand, it’s just one click, and a fully compliant per-store schedule for the week is done! This presents massive efficiencies across the board, including time savings. For example, in interviews with store leaders, they say they are spending 7-10 hours per week creating and managing the schedule. This frees them up to focus on their higher-value responsibilities, like managing the store, the customers, and their teams.

It’s also important to remember that schedules are rarely set-it-and-forget-it documents. They reflect the lives of employees, and they change. This historically has been as much a headache for store leaders as anything. Who hasn’t had to scrap an entire day due to one callout, or call an entire roster just to find a swap? That’s why Legion was built with unexpected changes in mind: It’s easy to make changes to schedules with smart recommendations, and without the frustration and extra effort it usually entails. We also give managers the necessary manual flexibility, but with a safety net, as Legion builds in warnings around compliance, overtime, and more, to make sure that nothing slips under the radar.

What’s more, businesses can tailor the outcome of Legion’s autoscheduling to best match the business impact they want to prioritize. Retailers, for example, may want to deploy their best employees during peak traffic hours in a way that improves conversion while still staying within labor budget targets. Legion can make that happen instantly. QSRs, on the other hand, may want to prioritize providing employees with flexible options to drive better retention while still ensuring proper coverage and staffing levels. That’s all OK in our system, too.

At the end of the day, we’ve set the foundation for providing employers and employees with sophisticated options. These include flexible on-demand options, seamless workforce sharing among nearby locations, and the creation of a reserve pool of employees. Legion’s automated scheduling can manage the execution of these options, enabling businesses to take employee engagement to the next level.

Learn how Legion automates schedules while matching forecasts to employee needs.

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