How to create the perfect schedule for your employees each & every time

Katie Sawyer

Katie Sawyer

April 16, 2019

How to create the perfect schedule for your employees each & every time

Katie Sawyer,
April 16, 2019


Whether you run a coffee shop, restaurant or a healthcare practice, if you hire hourly staff, you’ll be aware that scheduling is a complex task that takes a great deal of time and effort. Working through your staff’s availability, sick days and vacation is only one part of the story. When scheduling, you need to consider your business priorities, budgets as well as regulatory and compliance issues.

The traditional scheduling methods like using Excel spreadsheets and pen and paper result in more headaches for business owners and managers. Changes to the schedules would need to be made manually and the new schedule posted or emailed to staff.

Competing priorities when creating a schedule make it inevitable that mistakes will be made. Unfortunately, these mistakes could have a negative impact on your bottom line, or result in a poor customer experience. Given that an accurate employee schedule can have such a positive impact on business, most owners are looking for a way to create the perfect schedule for their employees.

In order to create the perfect schedule for your employees each and every time, you will need the best shift planning solution. Deputy has:

  • Powered more than 100 million shifts.
  • Scheduled more than a million workers.
  • Served more than 90,000 businesses.

This has given us the knowledge and the expertise to introduce functionality to help every business with hourly staff to create the perfect shifts every time.

Our host of features include:

  • Time and attendance – Use Deputy Kiosk on an Android tablet or iPad at your workplace to start and stop shifts and breaks, using employees’ photos. You can also review and approve timesheets and export it to your payroll software.
  • Collaboration – Keep your staff informed and encourage useful conversation by using Deputy’s communication hub. Communicate with one or all of your team to notify them about important updates in your business.
  • Tasking – Ensure your staff is doing the right things at the appropriate time with the tasking feature. You can allocate one-off or recurring tasks and monitor when they’re done. Choose from our range of industry-specific templates to suit your business needs.
  • Performance management – Motivate your team by acknowledging their good work and providing training when you identify developmental needs. Use this feature by journaling your employees’ performance on the go. You can then transform these insights into customized reports.

To see these features in action, click on the link below to get started.

Here’s a free trial if you’re interested


Create the perfect shift every time with Auto-Scheduling

Auto-Scheduling gives you the power to build and fill the perfect shift every time, with just one click. The artificial intelligence-enabled technology will put together your shift structure and insert the right workers, depending on your business priorities.

Auto Scheduling removes the guesswork and hard work from scheduling. It considers all the rules that need to be in place for different workers and different issues that’ll have an impact on the number of staff needed per shift. The accurate and powerful code transforms your business knowledge into practical and accurate shifts.

You only need to set up Auto-Scheduling once and then you’ll be ready to create the perfect shifts with one click, time after time.

The benefits of using Deputy’s Auto-Scheduling feature include:

  • Precise forecasting of workers – You know longer need to guess how many people are needed for shifts. Demand signals, like sales and bookings are used to accurately predict how many people are required for different shifts.
  • Save time and effort – You can save time and effort with the peace of mind that every shift will still be adequately covered. The one-click scheduling creates the perfect shift in a fraction of the time.
  • The right workers for every shift – You’re in control of the priorities for every shift. You can set priorities, such as shift equality, low costs, and preferences you’ve set before. You can be assured your shifts will be filled with suitable workers that have the correct qualifications,  according to your business priorities, when using Auto-Scheduling.
  • Predictable shifts – As the guesswork is taken out of creating shifts, there will be no more surprises when things you can’t control, like bad weather, happens. Enterprise customers can benefit from the use of third party and historical data to create the best shifts, irrespective of what’s happening outside of their business.
  • Fulfill compliance obligations – There’s a high number of employment and business regulations and laws that you must comply with when scheduling staff. There are also similar laws that govern charities and non-profits. For example, having a specified number of first-aiders at events. For businesses, laws like predictive scheduling and overtime rules need to be obeyed to protect your workers, customers, and your company. Auto-Scheduling takes into account the rules that you’ve set to create optimal shifts that also keep your business or non-profit legally compliant.

How exactly does creating the perfect shift
every time work?

1. Include your business demand signals

A demand signal consists of any factor that needs to be considered to determine the number of people that are needed per shift. Artificial intelligence will use the demand signals that you’ve set for your business to create the perfect shift every time.

For example, if you operate a boutique hotel, you will be aware that more staff are needed around the hours of 12 p.m. which is the check-in time for guests. Check-out time of 5 p.m. also requires additional staff to carry out tasks, like room cleaning and settling bills. Although you know that extra staff is required at these times, the exact number is often guesswork.

The artificial intelligence used in Auto-Scheduling looks at your hotel’s data from the past as well as makes forecasts based on different demand signals. Check-ins, new bookings, and check-outs are all examples of demand signals that can be used to work out how much staff your hotel will need per shift.

Additionally, you can break down demand signals to a more granular level to get even more accurate shifts. For instance, more guests will mean more bookings for the hotel’s restaurant and more visits to the bar. You can use Auto-Scheduling to schedule your chefs, bartenders and all other hotel staff using 15-minute blocks.

  • How to add a demand signal

You’re the expert in your business. You already know the demand signals that need to be taken account of for different shifts. Deputy makes it easy for you to add this knowledge as demand signals to enable Auto-Scheduling.

To add a new demand signal, you have the option of entering your demand signal manually or using the import function for Excel and CSV files. You can also import the information from other apps you use to operate your business, for example, your point of sale.

For example, you can use the data and insights from different periods for each demand signal. When you use the same period from the previous year, you can take into account how your scheduling was affected by different events. For example, back to school or black Friday if you’re a retailer. This type of demand signal also helps you schedule accurately based on different holiday seasons.

2. Using Required Staff Builder

After adding your demand signals, you’ll then need to use the Required Staff Builder to decide the precise amount of staff you will need to be scheduled in different areas. These ‘Required Staff Recipes’ ensure that schedules are optimized to meet your business needs.

Using the boutique hotel example from above, you can schedule one hotel receptionist for every ten guests that are expected every hour and two chefs in the evening for every 30 meals that are ordered.

Your experience and knowledge of your business will help you create Required Staff Recipes. Where your staff ratios to shifts are not clear, you can test and make changes to your Required Staff Recipes until you find the optimal shift for your business.

The Required Staff Recipes enables you to put your scheduling knowledge into a format that builds the perfect shifts every time with a click of a button. You’ll benefit from the convenience of creating quick and accurate shifts every time using Auto-Scheduling utilizing the Required Staff Recipes you have set.

If you have multiple locations in your business, you can create customized Required Staff Recipes taking into consideration the needs of each location. This means that scheduling different locations will take a few minutes as opposed to hours.

3. Building your shift structure

As you have entered in your demands signals and created your required staff recipes, the best shift structure can be built. The optimal shift structure means that each area of your business is covered by the right amount of workers every time. In the case of a boutique hotel, this means that there’s staff on hand to always make your guests feel special.

You can auto-build your shift structure by providing:

  • Shift lengths – This is the preferred length of shifts that suit your business. This criterion ensures that auto-scheduling will create shifts with the ideal length.
  • Desired schedule model logic – You have the option of utilizing the required staff logic with the Required Staff Recipes that you’ve already set. Alternatively, you can choose to allow Auto-Scheduling to duplicate and learn from the schedules that have been created before. You can also just schedule the least amount of coverage that’s needed per area at any given time (for example, two people in the bar area from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m.).
  • Start time – You can decide whether you want shifts to start every hour or whether Auto-Scheduling can learn the optimal times that shifts should start to deliver the most benefits to your business.

After you’ve entered the above three criteria, the Auto-Scheduling feature will evaluate and analyze your demand signals to build the best and most optimized shift structure that’s specific to your business.

4. Filling your shifts

When your shift structure has been built, auto-scheduling can start to use the best workers to fill every shift.
Your priorities will be taken into consideration when filling your shifts. Common priorities for business owners when filling shifts include:

  • Reducing labor costs.
  • Being guided by previous schedules.
  • Complying with break, overtime, and other legislation.
  • Allocating the same amount of hours for all staff to promote fairness.

If you have more complicated labor and wage rules, you can tailor your priorities by using Auto-Fill Advanced Recipes.


You are now set to create the perfect schedule each and every time with the click of a button.

After completing the four steps above, the Auto-scheduling feature assesses every potential combination to create the most optimized schedule that’s also legally compliant.

With Auto-Scheduling your workers’ hours will never run into overtime (unless you allow this) and they will not be scheduled to work during their time off. Leading to creating the perfect schedule that promotes an efficient business.

Creating the perfect schedule that promotes an efficient business, all whilst saving costs is easier than ever with Auto-Scheduling. Deputy is already helping more than 90,000 businesses to create the perfect scheduling every time.

We’re already helping 90,000 businesses create the perfect schedule and we’re trusted by small business as well as large corporations, like Amazon and Nike to streamline and improve their employee schedules.

Click the link below to start your very own trial to see for yourself how Deputy can create the perfect schedule that your staff, customers, and business deserve.

Here’s a free trial if you’re interested

Important Notice
The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are of a general nature only and are based on Deputy's interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice. Deputy is not responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be linked to this article and no warranty is made by us concerning the suitability, accuracy or timeliness of the content of any site that may be linked to this article. Deputy disclaims all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded) for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information contained in this article and any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katie Sawyer
Katie is the Director of Content Marketing at Deputy. She's happiest when she can help people do more of what they love. She likes telling stories, meeting new people, and being a word nerd.
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