Inclusive Scheduling: Addressing Unique Workforce Needs with Software Solutions

June 11, 2024

by Malysa O’Connor

Inclusive Scheduling Wfm Software Blog Thumbnail

When managing a workforce, balancing employees’ needs and preferences and the company’s operational needs is key. However, it isn’t always as simple as it might sound.

Retail workforce management (WFM) requires more than just clocking in and out. It’s about finding common ground between the expectations of each generation within the workforce. For example, Baby Boomers might prefer predictable, consistent schedules, while Gen Z employees often expect more schedule flexibility. That’s where scheduling software comes in—offering a solution that balances employee preferences with the needs of the business.

Imagine a world where employees can easily update their availability, swap shifts, and request time off with just a few clicks with a fully automated manager approval process, including automatically updating the schedule in real-time. A world in which schedules are generated automatically, taking into account business demands, employee skills, and personal preferences. Though it may sound like a dream, it’s not‚—it’s the power of Legion Automated Scheduling.

Key Summary

  • Scheduling software helps you meet the needs of both your business and employees.
  • When replacing manual scheduling efforts, you can become more accommodating to employees without making operational sacrifices.
  • Automation and self-serve options avoid scheduling conflicts with ease.

Why Scheduling Software Is a Must-Have

Creating fair, equitable schedules that cater to individual preferences often feels like a juggling act since you must balance your business’s needs with each employee’s unique needs. This challenge can quickly become overwhelming, especially as your team grows and you open more locations.

Think about the diverse needs you may have to account for: varied expectations around work patterns from different generations of employees (including managing minor schedules), preferences for locations, shift length, or staff observing religious holidays that aren’t part of national holidays, team members juggling caregiving duties or other part-time work, and so much more.

Plus, what if employees want to pick up shifts across other locations? Without the help of advanced software, this is usually impossible to coordinate.

Trying to manually accommodate all these factors while ensuring adequate coverage is a recipe for burnout and mistakes.

Workforce management software takes the guesswork and stress out of the equation.

With the right scheduling software, you can easily create fair, compliant, predictable, and flexible schedules to meet your entire team’s needs. No more endless spreadsheets or post-it notes—just a streamlined system that does all the heavy lifting while you deal with more important tasks.

Key Features of Scheduling Software That Make It Flexible

So, what exactly makes scheduling software so inclusive and adaptable? It all comes down to a few essential features, like providing employees with schedules that meet their skills, availability and preferences, self-service options for scheduling, swapping shifts, and requesting time off.

For example, Legion WFM allows employees to easily provide and update their availability and preferences from their mobile app, which are automatically incorporated when generating schedules. The app also allows employees to easily pick up shifts across different locations.

What’s next? Legion WFM then considers the business’s needs and matches them with previously incorporated employee availability, preferences, and skills, fulfilling the business’s and employees’ needs.

With these features at their fingertips, employees feel involved in the scheduling generation process, further empowering them to manage their own schedules within your set parameters. They can communicate their needs and preferences directly through the software, reducing back-and-forth and misunderstandings.

Meanwhile, managers can ensure that all shifts are covered with the right mix of skills and experience without spending hours in the back office on employee callouts, schedule changes, or time off requests. It’s a win-win for everyone involved: employees get the flexibility and work-life balance they crave, while the business gets the coverage and productivity it needs to thrive.

Challenges in Implementing Fair Scheduling

Of course, implementing fair scheduling practices isn’t always smooth sailing—especially if you’re relying on time-consuming manual processes. Some common mistakes include:

  • Scheduling employees when they don’t want to work which increases absenteeism, lowers productivity, and lowers morale.
  • Scheduling certain employees more frequently than others can appear biased, especially if open shifts are not offered to all employees or if only select employees are allowed to claim open shifts.
  • Not giving employees enough notice for schedules or schedule changes may be unfair and violate compliance mandates.

Fortunately, workforce management solutions are designed to tackle these scheduling challenges head-on. Automating the scheduling process and incorporating employee skills and preferences help ensure equity and compliance with labor laws and company policies. Managers can easily see if a schedule is imbalanced or if an employee isn’t getting enough rest between shifts, for example, and make adjustments with just a few clicks.

In addition, labor laws vary on a local, regional, and national level. Keeping up with the ever-changing regulations at all these levels and ensuring your schedules comply with them is quite the task without the right software to help. When you add further complexities, such as union agreements, there’s even more to balance. Legion WFM automates these processes, so you don’t have to struggle to keep up.

Conclusion

Creating schedules that work for everyone is key to running a successful and sustainable business. When employees feel heard, valued, and empowered to balance their work and personal lives, they’re more likely to be engaged, productive, and loyal to your company.

That’s where automated scheduling software like Legion WFM comes in. By leveraging the power of AI and automation, these tools make it easy to build fair, flexible schedules that meet the needs of your entire workforce—no matter how diverse or complex those needs may be. Creating fair and equitable schedules with minimal time and effort is not just a nice-to-have; in today’s competitive landscape, it’s a must-have for any business that wants to attract and retain top talent while optimizing operations. To learn more, schedule a demo now.