Absentee Gap in Workplace Lineup? Front-line Managers Report Rising Problems And Possible Solution

For workplace managers, filling open shifts when employees are absent is the most challenging aspect of shift-schedule management.

Front-line managers wrestle with this issue every workday and some are reporting rising need for better management tools.

One answer may be an updated software program, managers can know which staffer is available, and qualified, to fill open slots.

ShiftHound Online Staff Scheduling Software combines employee scheduling and open-shift management capabilities into one program. Managers who use it no longer have to sort through pages of employee day-off requests and schedule changes to compare with open slots.

The latest software release is the result of a joint venture between ShiftHound, a software developer that focuses on work-force management, and Shiftwork Solutions LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in solving problems for shift-work operations.
“The job of filling open shifts has been the Achilles heel of 12-hour shift schedules,” says Jim Dillingham, a partner at Shiftwork Solutions.

“Supervisors can spend a substantial amount of time trying to find a qualified worker to come into work on his or her day off whenever there is a staffing shortfall. The ShiftHound software is the perfect solution for this.”

Although countless software programs are available to help managers oversee employee-shift schedules, few, if any, address how to cover a shift when an employee is training, out sick or on vacation. ShiftHound’s program, say the developers, allows users to identify employees qualified to fill the open shift and notify them via text message or e-mail that an overtime opportunity is available.

The program also allows users to communicate schedule changes, absence requests/approvals and shift swaps. The requests are handled online, significantly reducing the time supervisors spend on these tasks.

With the new software, employees have convenient online access to their schedules; the ease to submit requests for time off, shift swaps and overtime opportunities; faster responses to those requests; and a greater involvement in the scheduling process.

Conversely, supervisors can print schedules for certain departments, positions, shifts or time periods; create reports to help manage vacations and other absences; and ensure adequate coverage by identifying gaps and helping to fill the open shifts.

Supervisors also can improve communication with their subordinates, but more importantly, free up time for them to be managers instead of scheduling clerks.

“We worked with ShiftHound to fine-tune their software so it addresses the needs of all types of shift-