We have been working in pre defined shifts since the advent of industrial age. As the industrial activities grew, practices from manufacturing have now also found space in other industries like hospitality, healthcare, ITES, Retail and Education.

One of the very common practices across these and many other industries is defining a work shift for employees. In many cases such shift timings vary based on location, role performed and even week of the month. Managing these multiple variables in a dynamic and systemic manner is a challenge for most managers in these industries.

The above challenge is further aggravated by presence of separate & independent holidays by locations and even individual planned leaves.  

So how do you select a digital system to help cope with all these challenges?

  1. Look for simplicity. The digital system should be able to offer a simple & intuitive user interface to managers or the shift planner, to ensure all variables are considered & are visible to them while defining the shift rosters.
  2. Look for comprehensiveness. This is critical as the system will essentially have to include data like leave records, holiday calendar by location and other data stored in other systems, the shift roistering system should be able to consider this in a convincing and comprehensive manner.
  3. Look for flexibility. Depending on the type of role and business you run, you are likely to have multiple shifts across multiple locations and for different roles or individuals. How flexible the system is to accommodate all these variations is going to be critical before you decide on the same.
  4. Look for repeatability. It’s unlikely that you would be dramatically changing the rules of the shift roistering month after month; hence it’s important the system allows you to automatically carry forward things done from last month to next month, while still allowing you to make necessary changes right up to individual level.
  5. Look for Old tech. Many times while chasing newer technologies we forget simple older technologies like printing the shift roaster for sharing with multiple individuals. The digital system should allow you to create a easily readable and printable shift roaster that you can share with your vendor partners for ease of coordination.
  6. Look for functionality. For each shift type you may have different rules with respect to over time and shift allowance, does the system take care of these functionalities which help in your payroll process? Otherwise calculating these based on a disconnected shift roaster system is going to be a nightmare
  7. Look for Interchange ability. Does the system allow you to swap shifts between employees based on employee requests? The features and your reality how closer are they?

These are some of the aspects that would help you in determining the effectiveness of a shift roaster system. An integrated solution which talks with your HRMS and especially your leave, attendance & payroll solution will be an added advantage as then data from the shift roaster can easily flow into these applications and vice versa.

In today’s world when we have more & more routine and mundane tasks being performed by robots, it’s time we look at automating the shift roaster process. Who knows in near future a bot would be making these roasters based on artificial intelligence built on the automated solution.