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What to expect when you implement a new scheduling solution

When it comes to implementing new digital solutions in a business, there’s always going to be some hesitancy. Particularly when it’s a solution that will affect the entire workforce. However, moving to a digital solution or switching your supplier, isn’t as daunting as you might think (if you choose the right one!).

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already realised the valuable benefits of optimised, digital scheduling (if not, take a look at this list). But what actually happens when you sign the dotted line?

Here we’ll walk you through what a reputable scheduling supplier should be taking into consideration when you’re thinking of moving to digital scheduling, how the implementation will work, and how you can ensure a successful onboarding for all employees.

Onboarding an optimised, digital scheduling solution

1. Finding the right supplier

No business is the same, particularly when it comes to scheduling their staff. Every company has different challenges, KPIs and processes to consider. 

A credible supplier will listen to, and discover your needs, determining the demands for each part of the business. They’ll also understand your existing problems and potential future challenges, to make sure their solution is able to overcome them. 

From your store managers to your leadership team, various stakeholders from across your business can be involved in this process. Ensuring each department is considered and catered for.

Your potential supplier should be approaching this as a partnership – they’ll be an extension of your HR and operation teams and be the subject matter experts in this area, so they need to fully understand the change being asked of your workers and any potential effect on business operations. This partnership approach is important for not only a positive ongoing relationship, but also the speed in which the technology can solve user issues. 

2. Scoping and configuring the solution

You’ve whittled down your supplier list, so now comes the detail. 

From fairness to overtime, each business has a different set of values when it comes to scheduling their staff. As well as solving your individual problems, optimised scheduling technology should be configured to your organisation’s needs.

For example: 

  • If the priority is increasing employee engagement, rotas should allow staff to input their preferences and annual leave requests, or to swap shifts with colleagues, with ease. 
  • If your wider business objectives are to improve customer experiences in store, a bottom-up scheduling configuration is the priority for you. 
  • If accurate pay is your current downfall, your provider should be exploring the ways your solution can integrate into existing HCM and payroll solutions to improve this. 

A provider should work with you to help you put your objectives in priority order and explain any potential impact of different configurations on your existing processes. 

You should also be exploring how future proof the solution will be at this discussion stage. You need your supplier and their technology to be agile. Technology constantly evolves - as will your company’s and employees’ needs. So you should be discussing your long-term requirements with your provider, ensuring that your solution can be tailored accordingly.

3. Onboarding and implementation

Now comes the perceived daunting part – implementation. You’ve scoped out your solution and the contract is signed. But what happens after that?

Your supplier should communicate a clear project timeline for implementation including the input needed by your business, phases, and training for both the schedulers and your employees. It’s best you have a dedicated project sponsor or change management team within your business to help coordinate this with your new supplier. 

A typical implementation should look like this: 

  • Project kick off – together with your key stakeholders, set the project goals in line with business outcomes, agree a regular cadence of project calls, set timelines, define and delegate deliverables.
  • Discovery & Design – this will lay the foundations for the build, ensuring accurate data gathering and a clear understanding of your data feeds, business rules and processes.
  • Build – your new supplier will start the build of your new solution based on the kickoff and discovery meeting outcomes.
  • Pilot – your new supplier will demonstrate what they have built, validating the outputs with key stakeholders from across your business before going live.
  • Training and deployment – a phased and tailored training programme, with separate sessions for different user roles, to help you onboard.
  • Go live – a Customer Success team on hand to support in the early stage of being live.

Not that scary right?

Whilst a timeline will be established, remember that sometimes it might not go to plan if requirements change. However, a great supplier will stay nimble, agile and efficient to make sure they deliver true value at your pace. 

4. Introducing it to your workforce

You’ve chosen the solution, integrated with current software, set rules in place for the optimum rota… it’s time to get scheduling! 

As with anything new, it’s normal to be nervous about hitting go. Will your employees be happy? How will motivation and engagement be affected? Will they understand the technology or utilise its full potential?

A credible scheduling provider will eliminate these concerns by providing a positive implementation process for the entire workforce. They’ll understand the temporary hurdles of working with a new system and be empathetic to your employee’s needs with real time project communication and clear brand messaging.

You should also receive ample employee support to cater for any teething problems during the introductory period. Expect top-notch training across the business, from group sessions to remote assistance. 

5. Immediate reward

You’d be forgiven for thinking that new technology takes years to see a return on investment. The truth is, the benefits of optimised, digital scheduling can be proven in a matter of months.

Your supplier will be able to calculate your business’s individual expected ROI. For the majority of companies, this includes highly impactful results that will affect both revenue and employee performance. Your supplier should be able to help you to: 

  • Remove time theft through time and attendance tracking features
  • Automate manual processes to reduce your schedule-related admin 
  • Eliminate payroll errors that cost your business thousands
  • Save on your labour cost 
  • Increase your sales and better match to customer demand
  • Improve employee engagement 

In addition to monetary value, your supplier will factor in measurements for your individual workforce goals. From reducing staff turnover to increasing productivity rates, scheduling software is proven to generate happier employees through fairer rotas, a better work/life balance and better wellbeing.

 

So in conclusion...not as daunting as you might think, right? With a credible and knowledgable supplier you'll be in a safe pair of hands. So if you're still using a spreadsheet to schedule, or your existing supplier isn't up to scratch, start looking elsewhere! 

 

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