How Push Notifications Transform Employee Scheduling (And Make Your Managers Happy)

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Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys sailing her catamaran and hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

Employee scheduling doesn’t have to be all-consuming for managers. Employee scheduling software simplifies everything related to shift staffing.

This goes beyond simply creating a weekly schedule. Employee scheduling software handles time card approvals, overtime management, and vacation tracking.

Today’s article focuses on one of the newest features to be incorporated into employee scheduling software: the mighty push notification.

Employers can harness the power of push notifications to improve employee scheduling. Push notifications don’t just solve common scheduling problems, they improve efficiency so dramatically that it transforms the entire process.

To understand how push notifications can improve employee scheduling, you must be familiar with employee scheduling apps. If you aren’t, skip down to the section on employee scheduling apps before reading further.

What is a Push Notification?

A push notification is a message that pops up on a mobile device even if the user does not currently have the associated app open. Most mobile device users have at least a passing familiarity with them because they have to opt in to receive them. On mobile devices, push notifications cut through the noise and command attention.

Push notification adoption has increased steadily since they were introduced by Apple in 2009. People who considered them a nuisance just a few years ago have come to appreciate them—though most are more discerning about which notifications they enable.

Push notifications increase engagement because they capture the user’s attention. For businesses, increased user engagement translates to higher sales.

Push notifications have proven their worth in countless applications. Employers can take advantage of them to increase employee scheduling efficiency.

Workforce Management and Employee Scheduling

To benefit from push notifications, employers need a workforce management system. This consists of a time clock (physical or online portal) synced to employee timekeeping/scheduling software. The system must have a mobile app and employee self-service. This allows employees to interact with the scheduling process.

Why Use Push Notifications?

  • Employees are familiar with them
  • Employees are less likely to open a text or email
  • Employees are already engaged with mobile platforms
  • Push notifications capitalize on analytics to drive productivity

Why are Push Notifications Better Than Emails and Texts?

Twenty years ago, sending scheduling information by email was cutting-edge. Back then, most people checked their email on a desktop or laptop computer. But email has lost its usefulness for this type of messaging. Open rates have plummeted as other channels of communication have emerged.

The popularity of texting increased with the proliferation of mobile devices. Texting proved more useful than emails for many types of communication. But even texting has taken a back seat to push notifications for automated, customized information.

The Power of Push

Let’s look at specific types of scheduling information that can be conveyed through push notifications.

Push Notifications for Managers

  • Alert a manager when a shift isn’t adequately covered
  • Notify a manager when they attempt to double-schedule an employee at two locations
  • Inform a manager when they schedule an employee for a clopening (back-to-back shifts with little time in between)
  • Alert a manager that a mobile employee has left the authorized remote location
  • Notify a manager that an employee didn’t clock in as scheduled
  • Alert a manager of employees out sick or on vacation
  • Notify a manager that an employee requested an open shift
  • Alert a manager that a shift doesn’t have people with the necessary skills or certifications
  • Inform a manager when an employee is approaching overtime
  • Notify a manager when they attempt to schedule in violation of a fair scheduling law
  • Notify managers of employee schedule preferences
  • Alert a manager when they attempt to schedule an employee who has requested time off
  • Notify a manager of changing production needs

Push Notifications for Employees

  • Notify employees when the schedule is posted
  • Notify an employee of a change in scheduling
  • Alert an employee of an open shift that fits their schedule preferences
  • Remind an employee that they need to clock out to avoid overtime
  • Notify an employee that their shift change has been approved
  • Notify an employee that a vacation request has been approved
  • Remind an employee that they need to renew a certification
  • Remind an employee to clock out for unpaid breaks or meals
  • Alert an employee of a missed punch
  • Remind employees that time cards are due

I am not suggesting that you use push notifications for everything listed here. That would reduce their effectiveness because employees would be bombarded with alerts and unable to keep up with them. (It would also drive everyone crazy in the process.)

Employers should choose which notifications would be most helpful for their organization. Each department and shift might need different alerts depending on the scheduling dynamics. Managers can also enable notifications for specific employees. There is no need to inform a punctual employee of their shift start time, but the employee may need a reminder to clock out before they incur overtime.

How Does Effective Employee Scheduling Help Your Business?

Most importantly, good scheduling enables employees to provide excellent service to your customers. It reduces absenteeism and tardiness by improving access to schedule information. It allows you to provide flexible schedules. It increases employee satisfaction which lowers turnover. It reduces labor costs by limiting overstaffing and overtime. It improves employee engagement which increases productivity.

There is a legal component as well. Effective scheduling protects the company from minimum wage, overtime, and fair workweek compliance violations. Lastly, it lowers the stress level for your managers. Everyone is happier: customers, employees, managers, and business owners. If you haven’t optimized employee scheduling, you are missing out.

How Does An Employee Scheduling App Work?

This section is for employers who are using spreadsheets or manual scheduling processes. Let’s discuss how employee scheduling apps work.

Scheduling apps are most useful when they include both employee timekeeping and scheduling. Employees and managers use the app for all schedule processes and communication. Employees use their phone to access an online clock in portal. As employees clock in and out for shifts, the app creates digital time cards. At the end of the pay period, managers approve the time cards online in the system. Then the information is sent to the payroll processor.

Employee scheduling apps let you build schedules quickly with industry templates. Graphical schedule interfaces color code employees, shifts, and locations. You drag employees into shifts and re-arrange until you’re satisfied.

Refine the template to create your own master schedule for each shift, department, or location. Copy schedules forward indefinitely. View schedules for multiple groups, locations, or shifts at once. Use labor forecasting to plan schedules in advance.

By Liz Strikwerda

Simplify HR management today.

Simplify HR management today.

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