5 ways staff scheduling software can boost employee experience

How to become a more attractive employer — and hang on to your staff for longer.

Three female baristas in conversation while sitting at a desk with a laptop computer.

With staff shortages reported across a variety of industries and competition for new staff fiercer than ever, it’s never been more important for employers to offer a great employee experience.

Pay, perks, and career progression all remain important reasons for job applicants to choose — or remain with — one employer over the next. But there are other ways that employers of shift-based workers especially can make a big difference to the quality of their employees’ working lives.

In this article we look at five simple ways staff scheduling software can not only help your staff achieve a healthy work-life balance, but actually make you a more attractive employer and help you hang on to staff for longer.

What is employee experience?

Before we talk about how to improve the overall employee experience at your business, let’s take a moment to define what we actually mean by the term.

Employee experience (EX) is the sum of all the interactions an employee has throughout their time with a company. It starts the moment someone applies for a position at your business (in some cases even earlier, as they might have seen or interacted with you on sites like Glassdoor or LinkedIn), and ends when they exit the business and cease to be an employee.

You can read more about the touch-points that influence the employee experience in our blog: An introduction to employee experience.

Why does employee experience matter for businesses?

So why should you as an employer concern yourself with employee experience? If you’re already offering a competitive wage and treating your employees well, then what else can be gained by improving the EX at your business?

The short answer is that it’s in your business’ best interests. The slightly longer answer comes in three parts...

Competition for staff is fierce

The pandemic, Brexit, and the cost of living crisis have completely changed the world of work. Recruitment is now harder — and more costly — than ever, with many business owners stuck in a constant staff-turnover loop, with their employees moving on almost as quickly as they can hire and train new staff.

Today’s workers expect more than just a salary and employee discounts. They want to work for employers who’ll take real care of them, provide them with job security, and help them achieve a genuine work-life balance; i.e. employers who offer a positive employee experience.

A positive employee experience reduces staff turnover

Recruitment is only one side of the employment coin. The other is retention.

It’s a simple fact that happy staff tend to stick around. That’s great for them, of course, since it brings much-needed routine and stability to their lives. But it’s also great for you as an employer as you’ll spend less time and money recruiting and training new staff.

Over time, your workforce will become more and more experienced too, helping you achieve higher productivity and greater levels of customer service.

Great EX = great CX

Happier, more productive staff will always also provide better customer service than employees who feel like they’re just another cog in the machine.

When your team feels valued at work, it shows in the work they do — something that will be picked up on by your customers and partners, as they’ll receive better service and a more positive customer experience (CX), prompting return visits and repeat custom.

In short, it pays to invest in employee experience.

Smiley, blonde-haired female bar tender making a cocktail behind a bar well-stocked bar.

How staff scheduling software improves employee experience

So how can something like staff scheduling software — which, let's be honest, might not sound that exciting to your staff — help you to create a better EX at your business?

Here are five ways that things like rota planning and time and attendance software can make working life so much better for your team.

1. Staff can plan their personal lives better

Not having easy access to the work rota is one of the most common complaints among shift-based workers, who often have to ring in or take a photo of the rota with their phone to know when they’re next scheduled to work (and whether they can make plans for things like study, childcare, or socialising).

This isn’t just bad news for staff — inaccessible rotas are also a major cause of employees showing up late or missing shifts entirely, all of which has a knock-on effect to your business.

This is where staff scheduling software can help.

Staff whose employers use people management platforms like RotaCloud have 24/7 access to their work schedule via their laptop, tablet, or mobile phone, and can check when they’re next in without having to pester their manager or coworkers.

With their rota in their pocket, staff can more easily plan their personal life, and will also be far less likely to miss or run late for their shifts.

2. Staff are never left in the dark

Second only to not having easy access to the rota is not being told when there’s been a change to the schedule.

Managers who rely on paper rotas or spreadsheets usually have no option but to send out memos, WhatsApp messages, or ring around their team to let them know that there’s been a change to the rota.

Inevitably, someone either misses the memo (and, with it, their shift), or responds by saying that they’ve already made plans outside of work based on the previous rota.

Neither of these scenarios is great for anyone, and can be incredibly stressful and frustrating for employees when it happens repeatedly.

Staff scheduling software fixes this problem by keeping employees up to date the moment there’s been a change to their schedule. Shifts that are altered or removed are immediately communicated to employees via the app, and rotas are kept up to date 24/7. There’s never any risk of staff checking an “old” version of the schedule, since the rota is stored on the cloud and updates instantly for everybody.

In RotaCloud, staff can even set their notification preferences to receive emails, text messages, or push notifications in the event that their shifts are changed by their manager. This may seem like a small thing, but it demonstrates the level of respect and the kind of employee experience that today’s workers are actively seeking.

Keep your team in the loop

With RotaCloud's automatic push, email, and SMS notifications, your staff will always know if there's a change to their schedule.

Explore RotaCloud

3. Managers can more easily accommodate staff availability

One of the biggest challenges of managing a team is building a rota that works for everyone.

Few managers would knowingly give their staff shifts that they know would clash with their commitments outside of work. It’s bad for morale, and will inevitably lead to them having to find someone else to fill in.

But when you have a business to run it can be hard to keep track of when your employees can and can’t work.

People management platforms like RotaCloud remove this problem by allowing staff (whose managers have enabled the feature) to communicate their working availability in advance of the rota being built, via the app. This availability is then visually communicated to managers as they build the rota, so managers no longer have to remember who is — and isn’t — free to work.

As well as signalling to your staff that you understand they have commitments outside work and you’re keen to help them achieve a healthy work-life balance, building rotas with your staff’s availability also greatly reduces the chance that you’ll need to make changes once it’s been shared — further reducing your own workload.

4. Staff feel more in control of their working life

When you work to a rota or your shifts change from one week to the next, it’s easy to feel that you have little or no control over your working life. Shift workers can feel this keenly in their personal lives, since it’s almost impossible to make long-term social plans or settle into a routine.

With staff scheduling software, however, business owners can give their staff a greater degree of ownership over their shifts.

With RotaCloud, staff can use the mobile app to find and arrange cover for themselves if they’re unable or would prefer not to work a particular shift. Requests for cover can only be proposed to eligible staff (i.e. people who are both available and permitted to work certain roles), and the person making the request can even propose to work a shift in return.

Once employees have agreed on a swap, the request is sent to their manager to check. If the manager is happy with the proposal, the swap is approved and the rota updated automatically.

Giving your staff this kind of autonomy might seem like a small change. But being able to swap shifts or find cover without having to burden their manager helps staff to feel more in control, less stressed, and perhaps more respected as an employee.

Empower your staff with the RotaCloud app

With the RotaCloud mobile app, your staff can check their shifts, request leave, and even arrange their own cover if they can't work — so you get to stay focused on running your business.

Explore the RotaCloud mobile app

5. Staff can better prioritise their mental & physical health

RotaCloud data suggests that surprisingly few staff make full use of their annual leave entitlement, with employees in some industries taking just 16.4 days off in 2021.

A burnt-out workforce is bad news for everybody. After going weeks or months without a proper break, an employee’s physical and mental health will deteriorate. Their productivity will likely fall too, impacting morale and overall customer service levels.

Platforms like RotaCloud can have a hugely positive impact in this regard by streamlining your annual leave booking process, making it easier for staff to request time off and encouraging them to take better care of their health.

Unlike old-fashioned methods like emails or holiday request forms, RotaCloud allows staff to request time off via the mobile app, selecting the dates they'd like to take and sending the request straight to their manager for consideration. There’s the option for them to include a message with their request as well.

Staff can also keep track of both their booked and remaining annual leave without having to bother their manager, helping them plan ahead and reminding them to make use of their full holiday entitlement — a vital part of any positive employee experience.

Wrap-up

With competition for staff fiercer than ever, it’s never been more important for employers to demonstrate that they provide an excellent employee experience and take very good care of their staff.

In addition to giving them clarity over their shifts, staff scheduling software like RotaCloud further empowers employees by giving them a greater sense of ownership — helping them to organise their time and prioritise their physical and mental health.

Check out our Features page to discover more tools and features that can help you make a difference to your employees’ working lives and set your business apart from the rest.

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