For small businesses, almost everything is a struggle. You can have long periods of smooth sailing, where it feels like everything’s going your way. But all it takes is for one employee to call in sick one day, and suddenly you’re understaffed and in grave danger of missing your mark.
If you’re a sole trader you won’t have this problem. But if you want your business to grow, you will eventually have to hire some staff. And for many small businesses, that’s where the problems really start.
Once you’ve got a workforce on your hands, you’ve got dozens of new things to think about: Salaries. Office politics. Company culture. Absence management. And one key concern that underpins all of these issues is the question of who does what, and when.
Workforce planning could make or break your business. Get it right and your business will thrive. Get it wrong and everyone will struggle to get anything done, and your business will struggle to grow.
That’s why it pays to think about your employee rota. You need to assign roles, responsibilities, tasks, and hours in such a way that’s fair for everyone. You need to balance the needs of the business with the needs of your employees. And this is much easier said than done.
In this blog, we’ll explain how to make a fair employee rota that’ll work for your people and your business.
Why You Really Need a Fair Employee Rota
Business is tough enough as it is. Get your rota wrong and you’ll just make life considerably harder for everyone: For you, your staff, and even for your customers.
Here are some of the unwelcome side effects of poor rota systems:
- Under-staffing – Or worse, no staff at all. A good rota ensures that there will always be enough hands on deck to get the job done. If you don’t take this precaution, there’ll inevitably be days when you find yourself short of staff. Output and customer service will suffer, and other members of the team will have to step up to pick up the slack. This can lead to disgruntlement at best, and a real risk of overwork and burnout at worst. In any case, your business’s productivity will take a huge hit, and it will likely take you quite a while to recover.
- Over-staffing – Every penny counts for small businesses. You simply cannot afford to squander your resources. But when you have too many staff on hand, that’s exactly what you’re doing. You never want to be in a position where members of your team are standing around with nothing to do. It’s a huge waste of money, and it’s also very bad for motivation. How are employees supposed to find fulfillment in their work when your poor rota system makes them feel like a spare part?
The Benefits of a Fair Rota System
If you take the time to strategically plan your rotas, you can expect a range of business benefits:
1. Everyone Gets a Fair Deal
If your business is going to survive, and if your team’s going to get along, then everyone must do their fair share of work. You can’t have some members of your team putting in the bare minimum, with only your more dedicated employees taking on the brunt of the work. That’s a recipe for resentment, high staff turnover, and rising stress levels.
A fair rota system will ensure that everyone works the same hours. Your less-committed employees won’t have the opportunity to shirk, and your high-performers won’t feel obliged to work for longer than they have to. Everyone gets a fair deal. This is good for your company culture, as well as your productivity.
2. Make the Most of Your Budget
Over-staffing and under-staffing can be equally damaging to your business. Ideally, your workforce has to shift to accommodate your current business requirements. At peak times you want all hands on deck. But it makes no sense to fill all your slots during quieter periods.
With a good employee rota system, you can plan for these things in advance. You can take the time to analyze your staffing needs. Then you can work out a rota to ensure that there will always be exactly the right number of employees on hand to keep things running.
You won’t be understaffed during busier periods, nor will you be overstaffed during quieter periods. You can make the most of your budget, and stay in complete control of all of your overhead costs.
3. Get Exactly the Right Mix of People
In small businesses, it’s often the case that each member of the team will take on a huge range of diverse responsibilities. A member of the sales team might have to pitch in with HR, for example. But even so, each member of the team will still have their own unique set of skills. And when planning rotas, it’s vital to ensure that your team has the right mix of skills to get the job done.
On a basic level, good rota planning means that you don’t group your most inexperienced staff together during your busy periods. But it can also involve pairing less experienced members of the team with more experienced workers, providing an opportunity for them to learn new skills.
The Quickest and Easiest Way to Master Your Staff Rotas
Sure, you could introduce an effective rota system with a combination of Microsoft Excel and a shared online calendar. But that’s just complicated something that can and should be as simple as possible.
Our world-renowned absence management software makes managing your employee rotas easy.
Any member of your team can securely access the system from any device. Everyone is then able to access the same shared calendar, which displays the staff rota for everyone to see. So at all times, every member of the team can see where everyone else is. This will obviously make it easy for you or your managers to plan rotas that are fair for everyone while meeting your business needs.
Even better, you can define your minimum staffing levels. You’ll get alerts when an absence, planned or unplanned, is going to make things difficult. You’ll then be able to act to fix the issue long before it has the chance to become a problem.
Effective rota planning is just one of many benefits of our absence management system. We can also help you to make significant savings by reducing staff sickness and streamlining many of your most essential HR processes.
Our system can transform any business of any size. But it offers such a wealth of benefits to small businesses that you’ll probably wonder how you ever got by without!
Book a demo today to see just how many benefits Edays can bring to your business.
Harry is Head of Customer Success here at edays, helping organisations to get the very best out of their edays system. His experience in SaaS and HR brings valuable insight into how organisations can better manage their people, processes and productivity.