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  • Planning Working Time

Planning phases of workforce management

Workforce management is a process that constantly repeats itself. Starting with an assessment of the actual condition and a forecasts for the next planning period, existing processes are analyzed and the optimal demand determined.

The goal of the services-/shift-design is providing for the best possible coverage of this demand while simultaneously satisfying legal and ergonomical requirements. Staffing needs are calculated taking into consideration the goal of improved coverage and substitute personnel-needs to cover holidays and absences.

Demand distribution and the distribution of qualifications can significantly influence the personnel-structure. Personnel-numbers and shifts/services are then used as building blocks for the creation of a framework plan that is both as stable as possible and simultaneously addresses all contingencies.

Changes that occur at short-notice are continuously incorporated into the framework with the support of the PEP-System, which also provides the actual condition assessment data necessary for optimization within the context of the next planning-phase.

The software-tools offered by XIMES are applied during various stages of this process (see graphics).

[TIS], [OPA] und [SPA] support the planning process

Service-/Shift-Design

Based on a demand-curve and the review process it is possible to calculate approximate staffing needs. Then one examines how the curve can best be served with the use of early shifts, day shifts, and late shifts, and at what times how many people should be available, or how these numbers fluctuate. Also considered is the question of what levels of over- or under-staffing may be acceptable in relation to expected demand.

  • Given their enormous influence on the employees’ professional and private lives, the service/shift-designs are mathematically complex and ergonomically demanding:

    • If scheduled services/shifts are too short, employees are constantly busy getting to and from work.Poorly planned starting- and ending-times will generate little enthusiasm.
    • If scheduled shifts are too long, there will be more days off, but they will also lead to excessive strains during working hours.
    • Proper service-/shift-design requires taking into consideration both the ergonomic and operational points of view

 

Personnel Structure

Some demand-curves can only be met with high levels of over- or under-staffing of full-time staff. In these cases it is worth considering employing part-time staff.

When determining demand it is important to consider what qualifications are needed. This clarifies whether the available personnel-resources suffice, whether the necessary qualifications are even available or how many hours may remain open. This provides important information for personnel-planning and professional training.

 

Demand for Substitute-Personnel

The topic of substitute personnel-planning is an important issue, both because of employee drop-out and changes in demand. During the preparation-phase it is necessary to calculate for how much drop-out one must be prepared, how strongly peak capacity will be affected, what larger interruptions can be expected, what the average work load is. Models can be structured around these aspects. 
A simple example: theoretically, 20 employees are needed; if 22 people are firmly scheduled, six others asked whether they can fill in, and somebody drops out, given the calculated drop-outs and capacity-fluctuations, this results in an average presence of 20 people.

Many surprises do not in fact come surprisingly. Even though it is not known exactly when they will occur and exactly what they will look like, it is generally known that they will in fact come up. This awareness can be incorporated into planning.
In principle planning occurs on two levels. What will mydemand for flexibility be and how can I minimize it? Are there tasks that can be put aside, are there tasks that can be out-sourced, is there external personnel that can be called in?

Vacation time is an established strain, but this can be planned well-ahead of time. Long absences are another difficulty – but after the third day they are no longer surprising.

Considering the question of who will fill in when necessary is an important part of the development of a working time model. Planning flexibility well usually permits employees to profit as well, because there are fewer losses due to internal friction and the corresponding burden-increase. In best-case scenarios the company saves money and the employees avoid frayed nerves.

When employees are frustrated with their working hours, when a company makes excessive demands,absenteeism and fluctuations increase, and these significantly hamper flexibility. They cost the company money that could better be spent on making changes appealing to employees and letting them share their benefits.