Best of the best … pick of the litter … crème de la crème … the bees’ knees – no matter what you call them, your all-star employees are the go-to heroes you rely on daily. They show up on time, they produce while on the clock and they are a joy to work with and manage.
Basically, they rock! While you’d love to have them on all shifts, you’re A-1s are truly elite, which means only a handful rise above the rank and file. On the flip side, you also have those who anchor the bottom-of-the-barrel. While they may not be dismissal candidates (yet), these employees are important during crunch time, all the while testing your patience due to their unpredictability.
How do you make sure you have an equal balance of superstars and so-sos from shift to shift – especially during busy cycles? First and foremost, identify the top-, middle- and lower-tier employees by reviewing employee attendance history, which will identify absences and attendance patterns. Once you know who’s who, you’ll have better success planning for both the best and worst of times.
Let’s take a look at a few scenarios that illustrate the importance of differentiating your aces from your anchors.
Challenge: Your staff is entirely new from last year’s busy season, so you’re not sure how to best manage the peaks. Your biggest fear is you will be undermanned due to unexpected absences.
Solution: When it’s busy, you need to know who your reliable employees are – the ones who show up when they’re scheduled. You also need to identify staff members who have a history of unexpected absences, as well as those who are flexible and willing to shift-swap or work overtime. In addition to having conversations with the entire staff prior to peak cycles – and discussing the importance of communication and commitment – you can review personal absences and shift history to help you optimize busy cycles.
Challenge: You have a tendency to ride the best employees during crunch time – you’re even willing to pay them overtime because they get the job done with nary a complaint. But if you ride them too hard, they may get sick and miss extended time, which will have a compounding negative affect.
Solution: Make sure you spread your most productive staffers throughout busy cycles. If you have them all stacked up shift after shift, you run the risk of understaffed cycles in the event someone gets sick. It’s also a good idea to have those who aren’t used to working 12s or 14s to stick with what they’re used to. If you push someone beyond their comfort zone – even if they’re always reliable – you run the risk of losing them for a shift or two or five if health problems arise.
Challenge: You weren’t aware several staff members had inflexible schedules due to personal commitments during a specific busy cycle. Their inability to work extra hours has put you in a bind.
Solution: It’s always in your best interest to spend time getting to know your employees’ outside interests and commitments. While you don’t need to grill them on what they do during their time off, it helps to know who has family responsibilities. It’s also a good idea to ask each employee about planned time off before you head into a busy season.
Another consideration: Use online attendance management resources like TrackSmart. With Tracksmart Attendance and TrackSmart Scheduling, you can review shift history and attendance patterns, and employees can check shifts, swap shifts, request additional hours, input time-off requests and submit recurring times of unavailability. When managers and employees use online resources like TrackSmart, they will help you better manage seasonal upswings.
Your gamers will always be there for you through thick and thin, but knowing how to manage the best-of-the-best along with the rest will ensure your shifts are covered, productivity is optimized and costs are controlled.