Schedulehead Keeps You on Top of Scheduling

   Staying on top of employee scheduling can be very frustrating and difficult. Think about this situation, Jill of Valentine Catering has an event to staff. She prepares a Google drive spreadsheet with all the event details and requirements. She does the initial call around and gets it half staffed as well as several people saying they will find out if they are available. Jill sets it aside and works on other projects that are pressing, while planning on taking care of it the next day. The next day, an event goes badly, and she is handling damage control the next two days. The spreadsheet sits silently, as it is just a spreadsheet.

Fast Forward a Week and a Half.

   Jill reviews the information on Google drive for an event happening in a couple of days. She is shocked to notice that this event is only half staffed. This event was set aside during a difficult period. She goes to work right away calling her employees for availability again. She tries her hardest, but is only able to get up to 15 out of the 20 required staff. Everyone else had made commitments that they couldn’t break off this late. She ends up having to outsource for staff and paying a hefty fee for each one.

This situation is avoidable, and we want to help you avoid it.

Schedulehead Daily Summaries

   Schedulehead provides the tools to avoid this problem. Schedulehead provides daily summaries of your events happening in the next 7 days to all staff with toolkit access. A spreadsheet cannot remind you of anything, but these summaries show you a great deal of information. Below is a basic layout of the Daily Summary Email.

Greetings!
Here is a summary for your (Number of Events) events over the next 7 days:

(Event Name) — (Date of Event) @ (Location Name) :

(Role 1 Name): (Current Number) of (Total Required) workers scheduled for (Shift Start Time)

(Role 2 Name): (Current Number) of (Total Required) workers scheduled for (Shift Start Time)

Total workers : (Current Number) scheduled out of (Total Required) requested

… (More Events)

The following people have not submitted their reviews:
(Reviewer) for the (Event Name) event that happened on the (Date of Event)

   As you can see from this template, daily summaries are incredibly useful for staying on top of employee scheduling. This gives you an event by event breakdown of your staff scheduling. It tells you how many workers you need and when you need them. If you notice at the bottom, there is also a reminder for event reviews. Worker reviews are an integral piece of Schedulehead’s process, but that is another article for another day. The main point of daily summary e-mails is to give you information and reminders, so that you can focus less on scheduling and more on business in general.

Time Saving Applications for Businesses

   Now everyone likes to save as much time as possible. Business owners like to save time even more because their day can be unbelievably busy 16 hour workdays at times. So, we made a list to really help people with managing their business. We use many of these applications ourselves and recommend them. Try not to thank us too much: 🙂

  • Microsoft Office 365Microsoft Outlook

    Micrsoft Office is a default go to for most businesses. Outlook is incredibly important and relatively hard to replace mostly due to its ease of use and wide range of features. Although other programs are encroaching on Microsoft Office, there is no current total package replacement for it.

    Pricing

    Small to medium sized businesses can expect to pay anywhere from $5.00 per user per month to $15.00 per user per month.

  • Google DriveGoogle Drive

    Google Drive is a rebranding of Google Docs with improvements. While not a complete replacement for Microsoft Office, Google Drive is heavy on the feature side. It allows you to store a large number of files within 15 GB of cloud storage. It can open an unbelievable number of files within the browser without requiring the associated viewer be installed. All in all it is a powerful tool that is getting better everyday. Many Schedulehead users used Google spreadsheets to do their employee scheduling before switching.

    Pricing

    Free!

  • OpenOfficeOpenOffice

    OpenOffice is one of those awesome tools from back in the day that is a great replacement for most of the features that Microsoft Office provided. It does not have an e-mail client included, which is its main drawback. If you are looking for MS Office package replacement, then this plus thunderbird with a google account is a great alternative.

    Pricing

    Free!

  • ThunderbirdThunderbird Email

    Thunderbird is well known as a feature powerful and free email client replacement for Outlook. If you do not want to pay for a MS Office, give this a look. It has many of the same features that makes Outlook great with a couple of features of its own.

    Pricing

    Free!

  • WordPressemployee-scheduling-software

    WordPress allows you to get up and running with a website quickly and effectively. There are an unbelievable number of plugins that allow for a great deal of customization and improvement in both design and capability. The plugins themselves install quickly while keeping track of the most up-to-date version. We use this for our website and love it.

    Pricing

    Free!

  • BasecampBasecamp Example

    Basecamp is an absolutely amazing collaboration tool especially for businesses that are spread out at times. It allows you to have discussions, create documents, create lists, and add any other files that you need. The entire site is laid out in a very open manner that allows people to see multiple categories at once on one page. It is more costly than google drive, but has a nice flow to it. In my opinion, the to-do lists are absolutely fantastic.

    Pricing

    It runs anywhere between $20 to $150 per month. Even the smallest package is enough for most small businesses.

  • HootSuiteHootSuite

    Managing your social media campaigns can often be very difficult. HootSuite allows all of your media platforms to be managed in a central location. Of course, the free version is very basic, but pro version has some great tools included to track effectiveness across all sites.

    Pricing

    Free option with enough options for a small business or startup, but for any good sized company the pro option might be needed. It allows 2 people with a variety of options for $8.99 per month.

  • MailChimpMailChimp

    MailChimp allows you to set up subscriber lists and send out mass e-mails with an intuitive, powerful interface. If you don’t know much about html, the supplied editor will fill all of your needs, while the statistics tools will allow you to see how effective your emails are being. If you have any need to send mass emails, I would highly recommend giving this a look.

    Pricing

    Free option with 2,000 subscribers and less with 12,000 emails a month or less. This is more than enough for most small-businesses. There are a variety of premium packages if you need more.

  • Quickbooks OnlineQuickbooks

    Quickbooks is another one of those de facto programs for many small businesses to use. The features range from custom invoices to managing finances to tracking inventory. There are not a lot of amazing replacements for this, as it is both well featured and has great support. It is an awesome tool when combined with an employee scheduling app like Schedulehead.

    Pricing

    The price ranges from $12.95 to $39.95 a month for online version depending on feature sets you require.

  • Scheduleheademployee-scheduling-software

    Schedulehead is an employee scheduling app that automates employee scheduling as much as possible, so that business owners do not have to waste time on it. It features a number of features such as email reminders to make sure that your workers are reminded about their upcoming shifts. Schedulehead’s Autotext feature will allow you to do workforce scheduling for a last minute job. The best part about Schedulehead is that it thinks like a person would. If someone bails out last minute, it will punish their star ranking for it. If workers does a good job overall, Schedulehead will present more shift opportunities to them. Not only does it have basic judgement that way, it will also balance your workforce between multiple events on the same day, so that you do not have all of your good employees scheduled to only one event. That situation is great for one event, but horrible for the rest of the events that day.

    Pricing

    Schedulehead Free for free or Schedulehead Premium for $15 per month.

Time to Lose Internet Explorer

   If any of you have been following the latest internet explorer bugs, you know there was a massive one just recently. IE recently had security vulnerability that allowed remote code to be executed on your computer. The vulnerability affected Internet Explorer 6 through the newest version, 11. This basically covers all versions of Internet Explorer that is in use today. The exploit that allows remote code to be executed specifically affects internet explorer 9 – 11 which are the mainstays of Microsoft’s market share. Certain versions of Internet Explorers 9 through 11 come standard on Windows xp, vista, 7, and 8. Microsoft released a security patch for this on May 1, 2014.

   This is not small error, but a relatively large one as it allowed others to gain complete control of your computer. Overall, this makes it the last straw for me. I have slowly over the last couple of years completely and utterly phased out IE out of any use. This isn’t that surprising. Microsoft’s market share on browsers has been dropping as people are adopting different browsers that offer more functionality and better performance. Web site design is often a large headache when trying to account for all the versions of Internet Explorer.

   The best alternatives to Internet Explorer are Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. I use a mixture of both browsers at different times. They each have awesome features derived mostly from addons and extensions that they can use. They handle extensions in a much more intuitive and accessible fashion than IE. I personally favor Chrome because of the sheer number of extensions that are available. I run quite a few extensions on Chrome such as:

  • Adblock plus – This is for blocking pesky ads.
  • Lastpass – It saves my passwords and logs me into sites a little more securely than me typing it in.
  • Sessionbuddy – This saves all tabs and windows in a session and allows me to load different sets whenever I want.
  • WolframAlpha – Basically, this is a more science-oriented Wikipedia.
  • SPOI Options – This allows you to adjust the layout of youtube as well as create global setting for youtube such as volume level, when to start playing, and

   Overall, Internet Explorer seems to be maintaining a market share more or less based on it being packaged with a Windows Operating System more than its performance or features. I advise to switch to an alternative such as Chrome or Firefox, especially when used with Schedulehead.

Let autotext and e-mail check-in work for you!

Now we all know that it is stressful making sure you have enough employees on a shift. Schedulehead has a couple tools that truly alleviate scheduling concerns thankfully. Our web based employee scheduling software is truly amazing!

E-mail Check-in

   You fill all of your shifts weeks ahead of time. You are relaxed and stress-free. Fast forward to the day of the event, you are missing several workers who either forgot or had something come up in the last couple of days before the event. You are now stressed. This is not a situation you want to be in.

   We don’t want this situation to ever happen to people as we understand just how frustrating it can be, so we included check-in emails into Schedulehead. Check-in emails are a simple system to severely reduce the occurrence of these unpleasant situations. 24 hours before the employee’s shift is going to start a check-in email goes out to the employee. This check-in email has a link that will check the employee in automatically when he follows it. This allows you, the boss, to replace those that don’t check-in or bail out after being reminded about the event. Of course those that bail out so late will be punished a bit, but that is a blog entry for another day. Currently, the e-mails go out 24 hours beforehand, but we are working on changing that to a custom time frame to better tie into our second method of alleviating your labor concerns with auto-replacing those that don’t check in within a reasonable time frame. The emails look something like this:

Are you ready to work?

You have an upcoming shift in 24 hours that you need to check in for: |shift or event name|.

Please use our Web Check-In system by clicking on the link below and entering the code below. Then you’ll be ready to work!

Web Check-In: https://yoursubdomain. schedulehead.com/ checkin/OUOH

If you do NOT check in, you will be considered ABSENT from the event and we will try to find a replacement for you. If you experience any problems please email or call at |company email| or |your company phone number|

Autotext

Online Employee Scheduling Tools

Another terrible situation, you are getting close to the event date and still have open slots to fill. You are calling all of your workers manually to try and fill the slot, while stressing out. This is another situation we do not want happening. Our Autotext service will take care of that for you.

We have an absolutely fantastic article on Autotext on our support site, but I will give the quick and dirty right here. When there is a opening on an event within a certain time frame you set, a text will go out to all of your workers that fit that role without conflicting shifts. This text will ask them if they are interested in working a shift with shift date and time. This gives you an automated method of filling or refilling open slots when the event gets close. No stress involved, at least not on the employee scheduling side of the event. 🙂

Future of Schedulehead

Recurring Schedules

While we are awesome, there are features we want to add to make Schedulehead completely mind-blowingly awesome. One feature many scheduling programs have is a recurring schedule. Our beginning demographic involved event based companies such as catering, so we didn’t include a recurring schedule system into our design at first. This is something that needs to change as Schedulehead expands further into other business models where a recurring schedule fits better.

Output to Other Programs

We also want to include the ability to output the event schedule to other programs. This will be good for both the current event scheduling method as well as the planned recurring schedule method. Several businesses have requested this, so we are working on including this as soon as possible. Two of the outputs we are working on are Caterease and Excel spreadsheets.

Skillset Specific Instructions

Certain types of scheduling such as school substitute scheduling might have a variety of events at a single location. We are looking at ways to reduce the work required to create events like this. One method we thought of was to include skillset specific instructions. Maybe you need 5 substitute teachers required for a day. Instead of scheduling 5 events and repeating the address over and over, you can create a single event with substitute 1-5 each with a specific classroom or function that they will handle. The classroom or function will just be listed in the skillset specific instructions.

Text Schedules to Employees

It is always good to open as many possibilities for your workers to see their schedules. Following this logic, we are developing a way to text the schedules to your workers. Employees will eventually be able to text and have their schedule texted to them upon request, so that there is never any confusion.

Custom Branding

It is nice to see your own logo on the login page. This lets your workers know it is your site and reduces any possible confusion. Plus who doesn’t like seeing their logo all over the place. Kind of like this:

scheduling header

Employee Scheduling App

Piktofinal

Why Use an Employee Scheduling App?

If you manage or own your own business, you probably think you have a pretty good idea about how to run things.

You have been at it for a while and you have been pretty successful.  So why fix something that isn’t broken?

Ask yourself this:  Is there a better way to do things?

Sometimes it isn’t just about fixing your business.  Maybe your profits are high and your workflow is fine – you don’t need to change anything.

But what if you could just one thing differently and save tens of thousands each year?

Wouldn’t you at least give it a shot?

Who Are We?

As a result of the vaguely metaphysical implications of that question, we could never answer it in a way that would satisfy us scientifically.

But we can say that one part of us consists of the world’s only free employee scheduling app.  Our patent-pending technology allows you to completely automate your staff scheduling and do it intelligently.

Through our independent research with actual small businesses, we have found that not only will Schedulehead save you from having to hiring a staff scheduler, if you do your own schedules, it reduces the time you spend by 80% or more.

This gives you more time to spend on other aspects of your business, which can only lead to one thing:  Better Profits!!!

What About Cost?

You might think that with all of the money Schedulehead saves you, that it must cost an arm and a leg – but that simply isn’t true.

It’s actually free!

That’s right, FREE!

The basic version of Schedulehead was created for small business owners who didn’t need anything more.  But as our clients businesses have expanded, so have we, and that’s why we created the premium version:

To serve those who want the best employee scheduling app available.

Do you get it now?  Do you see what you have been missing all this time?

Good.  Now go create a free account!

-Will Lange

Efficiency Hacks For Entrepreneurs

Efficiency Hacks Picto

In small business, profit margins can be extremely tight.  As a result, it is imperative that owners explore every possible way to reduce overhead and increase efficiency.  In this article, I will outline five ways that you can make your business better, without spending a dime.

Free Apps:

As the old saying goes, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” but in today’s highly competitive technology market, that isn’t always the case.  A savvy business owner can find a plethora of free programs that will help streamline their business.  Some of these include:

Google Docs – https://docs.google.com/ – is available for free.  With this program, owners will be able to manage a variety of important tasks ranging from E-Mail, to spreadsheets and beyond.

Inventoria – http://inventoria.en.softonic.com/ –  is a free, professional stock management software that gives businesses the tools to keep track of all their inventory.  This tool is an invaluable resource for many types of businesses, ranging from a mom and pop boutique, to a large e-commerce site.

Schedulehead –https://schedulehead.com/ –  is a free, employee scheduling app that works both on mobile devices and on a desktop.  It uses patented intelligent technology to automate your worker schedules, keep track of employee performance and more.

Copper –http://www.softpedia.com/get/Others/Finances-Business/Copper.shtml – is a free cash register POS system that stores product info, discounts and other useful information with the goal of providing a more efficient customer checkout.

Murder the Meeting:

Meetings and Conference calls can be some of the most ineffective ways to communicate with your employees.  Often, employers feel that these outdated traditions are the only way for things to get done.  Sometimes, that’s true, but having meetings for the wrong reasons, or when they are not absolutely necessary, can destroy productivity.

For example, let’s say you need to have your employees sign a time-clock policy sheet.  You know there will be questions, so you might think the easiest way to handle it is in a face-to-face meeting where all the concerns can be aired.  Rather than taking time away from every employee in the company for a meeting, why not have one employee create a .pdf filled with all of the information and a FAQ section, and a document that can be electronically signed?  That way, only the employees who still have questions will use any more time.

Be the Dictator:

Most small business owners are in possession of a very particular type of personality.  They absolutely believe (whether it is true or not) that they are the sole person standing between the success and failure of the business.  As a result, every time anything bad happens they immediately spring into action, get in the fire line next to their employees and start pitching buckets.

This can be a mistake, and here’s why:

  1.  It can undermine your authority.  Many employees appreciate the Boss occasionally rolling up his or her sleeves and getting in the trenches with them.  That’s something that most people would recommend you do.  But when an employee feels as though you are micromanaging, or trying to do their job for them, they will almost always resent you for it.
  2. It takes a significant amount of your time.  If every time something happens in your business, you leave your desk (physically or mentally) then how do you expect to make the right major decisions for the direction of your company, find more clients, or expand into new markets?

So be the Dictator and find employees who you trust to do the job correctly when it is delegated to them.

Hold Everyone Accountable:

This is such a simple concept, and yet, so many business owners fail to actively do it.  You need to ask yourself, what are your employees really spending their time on?  Are they completing projects on a daily basis?  Or are they sitting around on Facebook and Twitter?  Maybe they are just pretending to work, while you pay them tons of money and watch your business go down the tubes (I hope not).  The point is, you have every right to expect results and you have a right to see them personally.

One good way to do this without further wasting time, is to ask for a wrap up email from your key employees at the end of each day.  Just ask for a few sentences about what they did for the day and what they plan to work on the next day.  Not only is this a good way to hold them accountable, but it helps them solidify their goals for themselves.  By forcing them to make it clear to you, it also becomes more clear to them, and will help keep them focused during the work week.

Spend Where it Counts:

Successful business owners often have different ideas about what the most important expenditures are for their business.  But for the ones that I know, they believe that the most important aspect of their business is their employees.  They focus most on building a good team, retaining that team and growing that team in such a way that not only is everyone happy, but they are also productive.  Remember, you are only as strong as the people around you.

Keep in mind when you are hiring, that you usually get what you pay for.  By offering sub-standard salaries, you might alienate the best candidates or turn a potentially great employee, into one that is unmotivated.  Unmotivated employees will only accomplish half the work of motivated ones.  So don’t be afraid to offer a little more money.  In the end it will cost  less than hiring another person to do the other half.

-Will Lange

The Brain Inside our “Head”

What makes Schedulehead unique from other employee scheduling apps, is its unique ability to make decisions like a person.

That way, when you create an event and fill it with available shifts, Schedulehead is able to consider a large variety of factors when choosing which workers to reach out to.

Some of these factors include:

Skillset, seniority and performance.

As the the event gets closer, if Schedulehead sees that there are unfilled positions, it will reach out to other available workers in descending order of quality to ensure your event is fully staffed.

Here’s an example:

You have an upcoming event in 15 days and it will require five staff members. Once you have created the event on Schedulehead, the program will wait up to an hour to ensure that all revisions are final. Once this time is up, it will begin to let your staff see and sign up for that event.

1.  Schedulehead shows your highest rated and most senior worker the shift. That worker signs up.

2.  Schedulehead shows your second highest rated and most senior worker the shift. That worker fails to sign up.

3.  Schedulehead see’s that several other, newer workers have an identical rating and seniority. They are shown the shift simultaneously. Three of them sign up and this leaves one shift unfilled.

4.  Time passes and with the event on the near horizon, Schedulehead knows it needs to fill the open slot.  It begins text messaging your employees and eventually one of your newest worker is notified.

5.  This eager new employee responds immediately and then signs up for it.

Your event now has a perfect mix of staff: One very senior and highly rated worker, two solid but newer workers, and one brand new worker who will be able to learn from the other three.

-Will Lange

Planning Ahead With Schedulehead

Schedulehead has tons of amazing features, but one of the most unique aspects of it, is how easy it is for a business owner to create their staff schedules a long way into the future. Imagine, you could have the entire years worth of schedules ready to go with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Ratings

Highest Rated Staff – They are able to see and sign up for shifts far away into the future – one of the perks they receive for working hard and getting consistently good reviews.

Lower Rated Workers – Those with a history of bailouts or low performance, will be able to see a shorter amount of time into the future.

What This Means – As the upcoming shifts approach, the lower rated workers will eventually be shown the available slots, but by the time they are able to sign up, you will already have plenty of your better workers.

Earlier the Better

The further into the future you create the staff schedules, the more time Schedulehead will have to show the right staff, the right shifts. When you don’t give it enough time, it becomes a priority for Schedulehead to simply make sure you are not short staffed, and it will become less selective in who gets to see the shifts.

-Will Lange

Make Working Interviews Work For You

Introduction:

In the business world, more and more owners are employing a tactic known as “Onboarding” or “Working Interviews” to create a filter through which only the best staff will pass. During a working interview, prospective employees who have already gone through a face-to-face will be given a paid shift to work. During this time, the manager(s) will observe a variety of aspects of their performance. Some of these include work ethic, attitude, skills, cultural assimilation and customer interaction.

Work Ethic:

Let’s start with work ethic. We all know that a good one is important, but do we know exactly what it means? A good work ethic can be broken down logically into several factors of its own. These include integrity, responsibility, quality, discipline and teamwork ability.

Integrity:

In catering, for example, integrity is an especially important quality. Employees are subject to the constant temptation of bottles of alcohol, food, and expensive electronic equipment. Often times, they feel entitled to “take home’ a little bit of something extra for themselves.

Responsibility:

Responsibility affects the way an employee works and how they feel about the work they have completed. When an employee feels responsible they will show up on time, put in the extra effort and complete all projects to the best of their ability.

Discipline:

Emphasis on quality and discipline are two, inter-related concepts. Without discipline, quality control is impossible. An employee must be able to make a commitment to the task at hand, whether it is inspecting children’s toys for defects on an assembly-line, plating appetizers at a wedding, or creating a marketing analysis for a fortune 500 company.

Attitude:

Attitude can also be a seemingly simple concept, but one that has many levels employers do not consider when they are evaluating an employee. Attitudes can be either good or bad, or both good and bad. For example, an employee might come in to work in a good mood every day, but it could be attributed to the fact that they think they are superior to the other workers. This can be bad for the overall moral of the office and lead to a breakdown in another one of the points of evaluation; “teamwork ability” to be discussed later.

Skills:

Skills are probably the most simple of concepts to explain. For example, a server who has not been trained to make cocktails cannot fill a bartending role at an event, just as someone from accounting may not be qualified to work in human resources. During the working interview, the manager(s) will be able to see if the prospective employee actually has an ability to perform all of the skills that they listed on the resume, or employment application.

Company Culture:

Company culture has been a much overlooked topic in the past, but these days it seems as though it is a highly overused term. Still, most smart business owners consider this an important factor when selecting employees. It’s part of what makes productivity and efficient teamwork possible.

 

– Will Lange