If you’ve got staff on the payroll – especially a revolving roster of casual and part-time staff – rostering effectively is not only essential but could be the difference between your overall business success…or failure.

If you don’t get your rostering right, you might have nobody running your business when it counts. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a host of hidden reasons why proper rostering boosts your business performance.

Why do you need to roster effectively?

It is so important to nail your rostering habits. Solid rostering will:

  • Ensure you have staff on hand when you need them.
  • Reduce staff turnover.
  • Be effective when you or your staff are away.
  • Reduce overall staffing costs.
  • Increase staff satisfaction.
  • Boost team performance and effectiveness.
  • Reduce the risk of potential health and safety issues.
  • Maintain the quality of your customer service.

What are your rostering options?

As a business owner with employees or contractors, there are 4 major roster types you can consider, based on your industry and individual needs and preferences.

1.      Full and part time rostering

If you have a steady staffing pool of full time or part time staff, it’s a safe bet to go right ahead and lay down a stable and dependable roster.

2.      Flexible rostering

As the name suggests flexible rostering keeps it malleable. A flexible roster typically means that staff are scheduled according to the needs of the company on any given week. If you have shifting needs and busy/non-busy periods, this could suit you as it means staff can be scheduled for a few hours or during times that don’t fit neatly with opening hours.

3.      Staggered rostering

Staggered rostering is somewhat like flexible rostering but more predictable. Often used in retail environments, with staggered rostering you tend to have overlaps in staff hours to cover busy periods and breaks. For example, you may have someone working from 7am –2pm, another from 9am – 5pm and another from 10am – 6pm.

4.      Duty rostering

Duty rostering works by ensuring all necessary tasks are covered by assigning responsibilities to each staff member. For example, in a café, you may have the chef, wait staff and kitchen hand. You can then assign shifts to cover these tasks, allocating the best times for them to take place.

Key considerations when rostering

What else should you be thinking about when you create a roster? Here are our key tips for success.

  • Schedule skilled staff for busy shifts: When you know your Saturdays are busy, be sure to roster on your more skilled and experienced staff. This ensures efficiency, competency, and good customer satisfaction when it really counts.
  • Require long lead times for leave: Impress on your staff the requirement for a certain amount of weeks’ notice for leave or predictable absence. Make it a habit to remind your staff every month to avoid last-minute scrambles and uncovered shifts.
  • Make sure to use payroll or accounting software: With Single Touch Payroll now mandatory make sure you enter staff hours in your payroll solution regularly to ensure your staff are paid on time and correctly for their hours.
  • Use online rostering: Make sure you have online rostering available for staff to log in and see their shifts as well as note their availability. Reducing the need for ad-hoc verbal reminders, this way you remove a huge admin burden for yourself, while at the same time giving staff visibility over their shifts.
  • Share the best shifts: While you may have to prioritise your better or more experienced staff, by sharing the love, you’ll enjoy better retention and staff satisfaction.
  • Pace shifts to reduce burnout: Schedule your staff to make sure they don’t have too much on their plate in a row. If you have staff rostered every Saturday and Sunday or on too many long shifts in a row, you’ll see high turnover.
  • Roster as far in advance as you can: Lay out your calendar well in advance – including replacements for leave and expectations of future busy times. (This keeps staff comfortable and yourself far less stressed and more organised.)
  • Use your roster to regularly budget: Once you have a roster laid out in advance, use it to predict wages and budget more effectively.
  • Train staff during quiet times with a solid pairing: When you’re training staff, roster them during quiet periods. Pair this rostering up with a more experienced staff member so they get up to speed quickly and don’t slow the business down.
  • Be flexible: As much as possible, ensure your roster factors in instances beyond your control – for example, ensure you have a backup plan if one of your key team members needs to take leave unexpectedly.