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4 Tips on Scheduling Your Part-Time Employees

Any small business owner who's worked on schedules for even a few part-time employees knows the challenge of this necessary task.

But HR professionals say it's essential to hone your skills in this area, as your scheduling practices can impact employee morale, culture, turnover, and production.

Here are 4 tips to help you manage employee scheduling at your business more effectively.

Make consistency your aim. Though not always possible, depending on your type of business and number of employees, your goal should be consistent schedules.

For example, if you have someone who can work the same three days each week, make that their usual schedule. Or, give the morning-only shifts regularly to an employee who seems to fit into that schedule.

According to a blog by Jamie Johnson for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, having a consistent work schedule allows your staff to plan their week, and over time they'll become more effective at working their designated shift.

Additionally, worker morale and retention can increase through effective work schedules.

In an article posted by Indeed for employers, you can create a respectful culture while setting a positive example for time management by streamlining schedules that are easily understood and need few adjustments.

Consider appearances, deeper meaning. Employee schedules can sometimes have more meaning than you realize.

For example, employees may perceive preferences or workload inequities in the schedules.

PR experts in this area recommend that business owners creating schedules make time to listen to employee concerns first. Also, if schedules shift the dynamic as new workers are hired, communicate any changes and your expectations.

According to a blog posted by Insperity, while it's normal for part-time employees to clock fewer hours, there may still be some resentment building from the workload disparities. The blog, which provides HR and other business solutions, adds that full-time staff may believe they're working and contributing more, compared to their part-time counterparts.

If you sense any shift in culture brewing with new staff and scheduling changes, look for ways to engage all employees, full-time and part-time, including instances where they can work together as a team, the blog adds.

Be flexible yet set policy. Create and share scheduling policies, if you haven't already done so, including what options an employee has if something requires a change. It's often called an absent management plan

If you haven't already gotten to it, create and share scheduling policies with options for workers so they know the process for when a change is needed. Often called an absent management plan, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce blog explains that it covers situations such as sickness and unexpected personal events.

Although it's necessary to remain flexible and make it easier for employees to swap shifts when needed, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce blog suggests laying out clear rules such as expecting a minimum 24-hour advance notice for non-emergency situations. 

Also, you may want to note which employees have more flexibility than others for scheduling, including availability and requests for extra days or hours. It's a list that will come in particularly handy come time to fill in gaps created by last-minute schedule changes.

Understand advance scheduling. Depending on predictive scheduling laws in your state, there may be requirements that regulate how far in advance your business needs to "publish" schedules.

For example, many states require employee schedules to be posted seven to 14 days prior.

"Even if this isn’t a requirement in your state, it’s still good practice," writes Johnson in the U.S. Chamber post. "Giving your employees plenty of notice ensures that they’re aware of their schedules and minimizes the likelihood of a no-show."