October 18, 2017

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Why Collecting Workforce Availability is Crucial–And How Best To Do It

There’s little doubt that scheduling your dynamic workers causes your teams distress. A big reason for that is getting availability from your workforce. No matter the industry or size of your business, someone needs to put together a schedule, and without accurate availability, that pain is definitely bigger.

puzzled manager

Do You Know Your Team’s Availability?

How often do you review your schedule? And how often do you get your team’s availability? I bet those two are not aligned. When they’re not aligned, you can build rosters that are completely out of whack. And that leads to uncovered shifts, lower productivity, higher turnover, and less satisfied clients.

Takeaway: Minimising availability concerns will significantly improve your bottom line.

Lumbergh TPS Report

How to Collect Workforce Availability–Hint: Not by Paper!

There are two kinds of availability businesses primarily need to be concerned about–general and ad hoc. Traditionally, general availability was collected at the interview–usually on paper–and updated at best every six months, often via phone. Obviously, both of these scenarios are suboptimal, as your data is only available to whoever wrote it down and out-of-date quite quickly as well. Plus, demanding a paper reply to something can be pretty annoying–workers don’t want to be chased by Bill Lumbergh to complete their TPS reports!

On the other hand, ad hoc availability has historically been transmitted via word-of-mouth–“I have to go to the doctor tomorrow.” The cons of such a process are readily apparent–what happens if it’s a different site manager the next day, for example?! Of course, sometimes these updates are handled by paper as well and there’s no shortage of problems with that. If nothing else, the time required to update your scheduling and HR software based on the paper input is time that could be spent on higher value activities

Takeaway: Be wary of any technology that requires you to leverage paper for either of these! No more TPS reports!

A Better Way

But in today’s world, with applicant tracking systems standard at nearly all staffing agencies and many other markets, capturing general availability is relatively easy. But leaving it in your ATS does little for your efficiency. It’s key to have an ATS that integrates with your scheduling and workforce management software.

sending availability via app

But that still leaves ad hoc availability challenges. You’re not going to open up an ATS for every doctor’s visit and basketball game! Since there are now smartphones in the hands (or pockets) of virtually every one of your new workers, why not leverage that as a tool in your arsenal against availability conflicts? Soliciting availability via mobile app–or even SMS if your workers lack smartphones–can dramatically improve your operations. Your workers will be more engaged, you’ll see much lower turnover and higher customer satisfaction.

Takeaway: Mobile. Mobile. Mobile. Meet your workers where they are.

To learn how much you can save by leveraging a mobile app for your dynamic workers and ATS integration for your workforce management and scheduling, please visit sirenum.com/ROI.