“Automated” Scheduling: The Elephant in the HR Room

 
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“We don’t need automated scheduling software. We already have time and attendance.”

If you’re a scheduler, demand planner, plant supervisor, or otherwise work in a role that oversees the operations of your hourly employees, then you may have heard this one from HR before. We at Indeavor have heard it plenty of times, too.

Those who work at the facility know that their scheduling process is still done on paper (because they’re usually the ones creating the schedules themselves). Yes, there is a shift schedule that runs in the background of the T&A system that automatically captures when employees punch in and out; and yes, that data is automatically sent to payroll.

But that’s not automated scheduling. That’s automated T&A.

Yet we keep hearing that HR considers scheduling to be “in the cloud” because they’ve invested in a T&A system. Meanwhile, those responsible at the facility are still posting paper schedules in the breakroom, scribbling out names or reprinting rosters when an employee calls out sick, flipping through rolodexes and calling every employee they can to fill that vacancy, and relying on forms or email for employee requests like leave and overtime.

In the event you’re struggling to build a business case for integrating an automated employee scheduling system with your T&A solution, we thought we’d help by clearing up a major misconception.

Time and Attendance Tracking is Just a Piece of the Puzzle

With every change to the real-time facility schedule—and you know firsthand that there will be changes—someone is responsible for updating the T&A schedule so that the right people get paid for time worked. This is because once the schedule is pre-set, it’s static until someone initiates a change.

T&A tracks that employees are (or are not) at their home job and home shift; that doesn’t really do much for instances that disrupt the status quo. For example: if you forget to replace John, who called out sick, with Jim's name in the backend, Jim's punch in won't be accepted. This kicks off a manual process that Jim will have to follow along with various steps to get Jim's shift appearance into a data importer's hands to make the T&A change. This isn't exactly automatic, is it?

Here’s another reason T&A shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all for what HR relies on to distribute payroll: T&A software doesn’t tell managers at the facility where a specific employee is working at any given time; it just shows that they’ve come to work. That means you’re missing out on critical wage information when an employee is being bounced around from job to job due to demand. Two issues can happen right away:

One, a person that gets moved to a new position may be over their allowed OT hours or may not even have certifications to work that specific position. How does the scheduler know that when they are only staring at names? Time and attendance doesn't map out an employee's qualifications. The second: if one of the jobs an employee is moved to during their shift pays more, the T&A system won’t make that transparent to HR. The dishonesty is bad enough—the subsequent fine your organization incurs adds salt to the wound.

Scheduling Software Completes the Picture

You don’t have automated scheduling if you can say 'yes' to any of the following:

  • You draft weekly schedules on paper or in a computer spreadsheet

  • The demand schedule is manually entered into the T&A system

  • Your facilities cannot match labor with volatile demand needs due to lack of analytics

  • Dynamic schedule changes do not appear in one centralized location

  • The vacancy filling process isn’t automated

  • The job bidding process isn’t digitized

  • You cannot ensure that only qualified workers are assigned to each position

  • Employee leave information (vacation, sick days, PTO) are not easily tracked

  • Employees cannot view their schedules, request time off, volunteer for shifts, swap assignments, or attest hours—in one place and through the comfort of their mobile phones

You can see how T&A quickly starts racking up 'yeses' for you. We’d love to help you get to zero with Workloud, our automated employee scheduling and leave management solution that is indeed cloud-based.

Click here to request a demo.

Workloud is our workforce management SaaS solution which offers clients an end-to-end, cloud-based employee scheduling, time & attendance, and absence management system. Workloud integrates with your human capital management and enterprise resource planning systems to create a robust platform that provides you with real-time employee data.