Strategic management is only successful when employees have the right tools to perform effectively. To accomplish this, a company needs staff allocation solutions that enable employees to balance different tasks.
Coupled with efficient scheduling, workflow runs smoothly from one task to the next. It is essential in today’s dynamic global work environment that a company secures a way to keep employees on task.
Establishing a comprehensive strategic plan helps managers and supervisors allocate employees correctly. The end result is fewer mistakes that only lead to expensive delays and cost overruns.
Challenges to managing human resources are magnified for the company that still uses an old-fashioned paper-based system. Besides confusion, manual processes are simply lost in the computerized world.
Why Staff Allocation is Important
In a nutshell, allocating employees will help a company staff job tasks appropriately. The residual effect is the avoidance of over-allocation in one area and under-allocation in another.
Few companies operate by managing one project at a time. Therefore, it is expected that some overlapping in schedules may occur. Even use of software programs ineffectively can leave tasks improperly resourced.
Helpful resources, unreasonable expectations to meet high demand notwithstanding, will prevent managers from pushing employee assignments beyond obtainable limits.
Fortunately, there are at least four things managers can do to avoid underutilization and/or resource burnout.
1. Prioritize projects to allocate staff. Prioritizing makes it easier to resolve task conflicts without placing pressure on an individual or team. Therefore, when resource overload occurs a manager has an easy decision on which tasks are the primary focus.
2. Link tasks to allocated resources. This is as much a logistical solution as it is a staffing one. For example, the employee who is assigned to research a viable market for project A could do the same for project B.
It may appear that an employee has been over-allocated for several projects. In reality, the manager simply matched the employee’s skillset to several projects.
3. Leave enough time between tasks. Scheduling employees to a project requires leaving enough between tasks. Doing this relieves the potential for pressure to complete one task before another begins.
A bit of caution: Managers must also be careful not to under-allocate in these situations. There is a fine balance between being flexible and not moving forward at the right time.
4. Create proactive task schedules. Reaction is never a good business stance; managers need a clear way to combine project needs and staff resources. This is where software that encourages staff allocation solutions to become useful.
Solutions Begin with Staff Management Software
Good management of staffing resources requires good management of company projects. There is simply no way around optimizing employee schedules without it. A company must do what is necessary to make strategic planning run smoothly.
The company planning to manage staff allocation solutions by hand will not get very far. However, management software enables managers to confidently plan for current and future staffing needs.
Among other solutions, managers can:
- Assess the impact of schedule changes from time off requests
- Eliminate over and under-allocation of employees
- View and compare allocation costs for deficient areas
- Visualize connection between schedules and completed projects
- Justify staffing requests whether to add or subtract the number of employees
Accomplishing any of this by hand will not improve data-driven decisions. Spreadsheets and redundant entries will not give a company the competitive edge it needs.
Essential Features for a Strategic Software Solution
To get the most out of staff allocation solutions, companies need to look at software options that have a variety of beneficial tools.
- Fast scheduling – manage changing schedules easily by updating changes in real-time.
- Schedule visibility – one calendar is available for multi-users to view and see each employees’ role on different projects. Updates are forwarded to individual employees or an entire team.
- Customized fields and filters for reports – managers can focus on different projects based on skill level or department. Flexible reporting features is a great tool for seeing who is available for a new assignment.
- Plan leave requests with project deadlines – managers can approve or deny time off requests within the context of the department’s workload. Whether the request is sick leave, vacation or another type of absence, managers never work with missing data when planning work schedules.
- Advance alerts of over-allocations – schedule clashes are easily prevented with a system that alerts managers to previous staff allocations.
- Track overtime – managers can watch labor costs to ensure employees are not working excessive overtime hours to meet deadlines. This view helps to determine labor needs to keep staff levels balanced with work.
Problems with allocating employees properly warrants a review of tools and processes in place. Planning of staff allocations is essential to keeping projects on schedule and on budget.
Companies have a better chance of meeting outcomes with tools that work alongside management decisions.