Your team should be one of your biggest assets. You hire them, nurture them, train them and of course pay them, and they in turn look after your business, your customers and your brand. However, an unhappy team or mismanaged roster can cost you money fast and is the biggest potential liability in your business.
Understanding rostering can be seen as being one of the true tests of running an effective and profitable business. The problem is that unlike other areas of the business – ordering, stock taking or working with the ebbs and flows of revenue, rostering means working with human beings.
This can and does mean dealing with emotions, different individual strengths and weaknesses, different individual requirements, working within the employment laws and trying to end up with a balanced result that works for you as well as for the team.
The challenge of accurately rostering and staffing your business with the right people at the right time is like the Greek story of Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the hill, only for it to fall back down the other side – it’s an endless and sometimes tricky task as you balance the businesses requirements with the cost of your staff AND their requirements and entitlements.
In days gone by Managers would calculate the roster on bits of paper, according to the week ahead (or weeks ahead of you were really lucky!)
Then we moved to spreadsheets, which made life easier, unless of course well-meaning users changed the values of the cells or adjusted the calculations, or like me you simply found populating complicated mathematical formulas boring and frustrating.
Thankfully, we now have access to software that links to our POS systems. Apps like Deputy, Floodlight Pulse and Xero give an overall picture of the previous weeks and months trade, both busy and quiet periods as well as individual Staff Performance.
Being able to overlay our Sales, average order value and team sales performance with our Roster means we can ensure we have the right number of staff on, at the right time and our business is open and closed at the right times
This has the potential to save you Thousands of dollars!
So, what are the Do’s and Don’ts of being a Roster Master?
Do – ‘Think your business bigger’, if you act like a big company and get software systems in place and some HR advice, you’ll set yourself up for success. If you try to deal with your roster ad hoc, you’ll get in trouble sooner or later.
Do – Make sure you spend some time understanding your local employment laws, the correct award (pay level) for your team members and what they are (and are not) entitled to.
Don’t – Leave your staff holiday entitlements to the last quarter of the year or expect everyone to want to work at Christmas and Easter!
Do – Focus on planning your roster strategically so you can cover your busy holiday periods, know when to encourage staff to take time off, and when they’ll be needed for the good of the business.
Don’t – Roster all the newbies to work together on the busiest periods on their own, whilst your senior team all enjoy Holiday time. No one enjoys a baptism of fire, and the chances are that you’ll demotivate your team as well as disrupt your service and annoy your customers.
Do – Communicate to your team, make sure you ask people for their movements month to month instead of week by week. If you’re organised your team will have to be as well.
Do – Know when to be flexible and when to be firm. Allowing a team member time off when their folks turn up for a surprise visit is a good thing – and your team will know you’re not a monster.
Don’t – Be a push over! Allowing a team member time off because they keep getting loose on a Sunday and can’t make it in for a Monday open shift is a bad thing – your team will know you’re weak, or worse, you have ‘favourites’
Do – Use data to accurately work out your business performance and match your teams to the demands of the business
Do – Look at individual staff performance to factor in different staff members strengths & weaknesses, their creativity, their energy for the role or their own desired outcome.
Learn as you go
When you start rostering, you might try a ‘Cookie Cutter’ approach, where everyone is expected to do the same job, at the same pace and to the same ability and this works fine if you don’t expect to challenge your team or want them to improve their skills.
As you become more comfortable and able to roster more effectively, utilising your team’s strengths and interests as well as understanding their limits allows you to create a truly remarkable group who will grow together and support each other, delivering the best outcome to you, your business brand and your customers.