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Part two, Going Digital in 2022, ‘Making the shift’ to online rostering

This article shares the next five tips in our top ten considerations for any business that relies on rostering staff in their operation. The tips will help regardless of how you build and communicate your schedule. If you use an online rostering solution applying these tips is a breeze.

To recap, part one shared the first five considerations:

#1 Start with the end in mind

#2 Pair the old with the new

#3 The correct number and the right skills to get the job done

#4 Roster knowing staff’s availability

#5 Create rosters for different scenarios

Let’s jump into our next five tips and the last of the top ten tips for rostering

#6 Share early to reduce shift swapping

Some of us perform well under stress, choosing to leave tasks until the last minute. However, creating the rolling roster using this approach will increase churn and the time you spend filling shifts. The critical work begins after publishing the plan, aligning allocated shifts with all your staff’s availability.

If you leave it until the last minute, make a shift (excuse the pun). Define ‘last minute’ as at least two weeks before your employees are due to work those shifts. As you ‘lock’ days, publish their upcoming shifts. It will save you a heap of stress, additional work and reduce no-shows. The objective is to ensure your rostered staff confirm when they’re working. Rejecting all other offers life presents them.

Online Rostering solutions allow you to determine when shifts or complete schedules are shared. In addition, you control if the roster is sent to all employees, individual employees or only to those impacted by changes. Whatever frequency and communication approach your use, this flexibility makes it easy to share earlier. While sharing early might not lead to 100% acceptance and no churn. This early visibility provides space to shuffle, swap or get alternative workers.

#7 Contingency planning

Sometimes even with the best-laid plans, things can go wrong. Staff can unexpectedly be late, fall ill, underperform, and make requests for last-minute changes for other personal reasons. Using some of our other roster tips (see tip #2 and #3 in part one) can help manage these unforeseeable situations. It may also be worth contingency planning as you build the weekly roster.

Cross-check that your roster has multi-skilled staff on shift — those employees whose skills allow them to cover shortages with multi-tasking. Create shifts for your ‘backup players’. Staff who know they are on-call for your peak trading periods.

Another contingency could be planning additional shifts to support any unexpected function booking. Allowing you to confidently take that booking knowing by adding two shifts (one kitchen and one service shift) the team can make the night a success without risking servicing your regulars.

Your contingency planning can also include a training plan for your staff to develop a broader set of skills. Allowing them to cover future gaps and cope with higher than expected demand periods.  Define your expectations on the must do’s (and leave for later tasks) if the team is short. Finally, agree with your management staff on what customer changes could be made if you’re short-handed.  Example adjusting takeaway availability to focus on in house service when the kitchen is short (and vice versa if the shortage is FOH).

#8 Knowing when it doesn’t go as planned

Even when you create the best plan and leverage the best available tools, shift happens! Employees can get sick, have car accidents and get unexpected challenges thrown at them to prevent them from working. Unfortunately, our tips can’t stop this from occurring.

Online Rostering solutions help improve the speed and quality of communication between you and your employees. When things are going to plan and when they don’t! Digital Time Clock App’s enable immediate notifications when staff members are late or have flagged as shift as unavailable due to being sick. The real-time solutions provide alerts when attention is required so that you can focus on timely, corrective action. Using traditional solutions, like paper timesheets or punch cards, you’ll find out when it doesn’t go as planned but perhaps not before it is too late!

#9 Review past rosters

Invest some time in reviewing the last week, month or season roster (adjusting for the COVID world we’ve all been through) as you create your schedule. Looking backwards can provide insights on the reliability of staff, the spread of hours across employees, a bias in allocated hours that could impact keeping your valuable staff and expose all your staff to different trading environments and team dynamics.

These insights will help your future rosters. It will also help inform you to make smarter decisions around recruiting, operations, contingency planning and performance management. If you’re a numbers person, a constant review of the respective financial metrics for the previous week’s may help your profitability. Identifying areas where people planning decisions could help improve wages per hour across your operation and where unreliable staff may be impacting the topline.

#10 Seek regular feedback from your staff

The best feedback on if any rostering adjustments are needed will come from your customers, financials and finally, your staff. Our final tip is to invest time incorporating the feedback in your ongoing rostering. Make time to engage with your team, as a group and as individuals, to get the good, bad and the ugly. The opportunity is discovering opportunities to impact your operation by adjusting shift times, changing the mix of skills, identifying great (and not so great) dynamics between different staff and also where less experienced staff may help reduce lower wages per hour without compromising desired service quality.

Online Rostering solutions could also support feedback, with the ability to capture notes relating to specific shifts, like “unable to take any breaks due to customer demands” or “today we had three complaints around how long they waited for food”.

Why wait, ‘make the shift’ now and you can easily apply some of these tips and benefit from the time saved in planning, operating and leveraging the automation of ‘payroll’ ready timesheets.

The team at urhere believe software can genuinely change lives. Technology can offer time-saving solutions and real-time insights to help businesses make more intelligent decisions to impact the performance of any operation. For example, our modern online rostering solution has been designed for any manager to create a schedule in minutes. Providing the respective staff numbers, hours and wages instantly as real-time insights on the plan. The life-changing benefit of online rostering has been stories from customers freeing themselves of paper and spreadsheet processes and what managers are now using their time to focus on growing their business.

If you would like a demo or trial of urhere, reach out to the team via or

Jayde Sinclair

Jayde Sinclair

Jayde is a 20-year small business expert with a background in retail, hospitality and commerce.