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Top 3 rostering mistakes

Nailing your staff roster is a complex skill that you should not take for granted. Rostering mistakes are common. Getting staff rostering right for the needs of the business, while also maintaining staff satisfaction, can be a delicate balance.

You may have been responsible for your staff rosters for a long time, or a short time. Either way you must stay on top of compliance as workplace rules and awards change over time. Staff rostering systems that are flexible and easy-to-use, reduce the chance of making mistakes.

To put it simply, a roster is a timetable that shows the days and times that employees are required to work. Well-executed rostering is the scaffold that enables your business to function effectively.

There are three common rostering mistakes you should avoid:

No.1 Rostering mistake

The biggest rostering “no-no” for a modern workforce is manual paper-based rosters or spreadsheets.

Putting a roster up on the wall or sharing by email to staff is risky because you need to be sure the roster will be received and read. Manual rostering makes it harder to include late changes without creating multiple variations of the same document.

Staff requests asking for changes can be forgotten or lost, and repeated errors can lead to poor staff retention.

No.2 Rostering mistake

The next biggest problem is not having the right number of staff on hand to do the job.

One approach is to “err on the side of caution”. Managers may over-staff a shift just to make sure that enough people turn up. Over-staffing is a symptom of unreliable staff and it costs the business money.

A second approach used by managers is to “hedge their bets”. Managers may under-staff a shift hoping to have a quiet day. You end up missing out on business and over-working the staff who have turned up. Your staff get annoyed and are hard to retain.

No.3 Rostering mistake

Close behind in the top three of biggest rostering mistakes is not communicating properly with staff. This can range from: complete lack of communication, to miscommunication, and even fraught communication.

Staff rostering is not a single task but rather a group of tasks that forms a process. Input is needed from employers and employees to make it work effectively. By regulation, agreed rosters cannot be changed without employers discussing it first with employees.

Employers who mandate a staff roster without considering staff preferences will end up with low staff morale, low motivation, low productivity and low workplace loyalty – all the lows!

staff rostering

Switch to online rostering

Automating your staff rostering ultimately puts the business first. Being able to create and modify rosters in seconds and share shift requests in real-time with staff, generates trust and transparency.

The staff rostering process becomes a tool to manage workflow, identify staff skillsets and allocate appropriate resources. You can add in staff breaks easily and ensure staff get reasonable downtime between shifts.

Online rostering allows you to easily handle availability and time-off requests in an open forum. You can add in alerts to remind staff of a shift or notify you if they are late to arrive.

The business can easily view labour costs for each shift and tie-in the rostering information into online timesheet records and payment processes.

Online rostering is the proven solution to avoiding common rostering mistakes.

Jayde Sinclair

Jayde Sinclair

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