How to Remove Frustration from Your Scheduling Process
Posted by Martijn van der Hoeden
What do employees really want? Only recently have cognitive scientists and management experts found a common ground for understanding on motivation and engagement in the workplace.
Workers in the past had many varied motivators, but for today’s workers – including employees and professional services contractors – the answer is primarily self-determination.
Scheduling can be so frustrating for managers because workers often prioritize events in their own lives over critical company goals. Some managers have tried to avoid scheduling conflicts by communicating urgency, by constraining employee options, by offering incentives or by simply laying down ultimatums.
If you have gone through some or all of these options, you have probably come to the conclusion that they are not the most effective ways to achieve company objectives.
Here are the essential principles in frustration-free scheduling to ensure coverage, meet deadlines, give customers what they need and still give workers the flexibility they need to be productive.
Make scheduling and coverage transparent
Give employees the tools to set their own availability and there will be less stress surrounding coverage. When they can clearly see who will be at work and who won’t, they can make more intelligent meeting choices and evaluate the priority of their request for time off. Nearly half of employees (47 percent) rate workplace flexibility as a key concern in how motivated they are to perform at their best. You have to give something to get something – that’s the mantra of the modern worker.
Build schedules based on skills, not availability
This may sound counter-intuitive, especially for growing companies where teams frequently have to switch tasks without little warning based time-sensitive developments and changing priorities. However, skill-first scheduling has proven to be a far more productive strategy. What it takes is an intelligent, interactive Gantt charting software that can assign the right team members to roles based on their skills, expertise and availability. Unit4 has worked closely with thousands of project-intensive, professional services firms around the world and has seen this strategy deliver greater project success rates many times over.
Assembling the Team
You can take advantage of the collective experience of many consultants and leaders in professional services by viewing our on-demand webinar on boosting performance and managing resources for stronger revenue results. When you give workers greater visibility into coverage and flexibility in self-determination, many of your worst scheduling headaches simply fade away.