Changing to new Shift Patterns
Short staffing is when the tasks to be completed on a shift are not completed because there is not enough staff available. This is a possible definition of short staffing. The problem of defining short staffing into terms (possibly mathematical) which can be analysed and solved is impossible without a computer program such as Visual Rota. Our method of solution is as follows.
1. First insert a few extra dummy staff members (virtual staff). Assign shifts to existing staff according to their contract. If there are no shifts that have less than the correct staffing levels, then you have enough staff.
2. Look back at the previous staffing levels in previous months, and if there are periods of understaffing, then the problem is more to do with such things as absenteeism, over staffing on some shifts, staff altering their shifts and creating mayhem.
3. In the cases of genuine understaffing, then assign shifts to the virtual staff to make the shift staffing levels as required. Assuming that this is prepared in advance, then all staff are aware that you have the following options. The first is to take on more staff to fulfil the shift staffing levels on contracts in accordance with the shifts allocated to the virtual staff. This is the least desirable solution from the point of view of existing staff. New staff on new contracts are a certain threat to existing staff on existing contracts. New staff bring competition for promotion and they bring in new methods of working. This creates the big C, change, and if there is one thing dreaded by staff its CHANGE. This one solution will usually provide enough incentive to the existing staff to solve the problem within the current structure. It may introduce new working practises, eliminate waste, or encourage overtime working.
4. Publish the staff schedule showing the need for the new virtual staff and invite existing staff to add extra shifts to their original shifts to make up your numbers. At this point it will be necessary to note that the staff agree to having shifts extra to their contract. Very often after a while it can become contentious as to what the circumstances were. Visual Rota provides you with the ability to make notes as you go along straight into the schedule, and these notes can be for your private viewing or public viewing.
5. Hire new staff in accordance with the shifts (and hours) allocated to the virtual staff. We regularly have students from university during holiday periods and their numbers and shifts are pre-assigned months in advance. The cost of using agency or temporary staff can be costed out to ensure the minimum expenditure in cases of cyclical short staffing.