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5 Common pitfalls in workforce planning: how to avoid them 

R&R WFM planning

"Planning is both an art and a science" - this could be the motto for anyone involved in workforce planning. As a WFM expert at R&R WFM, I encounter both the challenges and pitfalls of workforce planning on a daily basis. In this blog, I dive into five common pitfalls and share insights on how to avoid them. 

The Pitfall of Lack of Time: Planning for the sake of planning may sound like a paradox, but it is the key to the success of good workforce planning. We often see that too little time is taken for careful planning. The result? Employees not optimally deployed, excessive allowances, and overtime hours that rear their heads. Effective planning takes time and attention. Think you can create a schedule in 15 minutes? Think again! Instead, spend more time for your planning. A thoughtful schedule that incorporates all variables will ultimately ensure that you get the most out of your team and your budget, and that your store delivers the best performance for the customer. 

The lack of a solid forecast: A good forecast is the backbone of any schedule. Without an accurate forecast of customer flows and sales volumes, for example, your schedule has no solid foundation. At R&R WFM, we use advanced techniques to make realistic forecasts. This ensures that your schedule is firmly rooted in reality because the allocation of budgets such as hours and labor costs are correctly assigned to departments. This way, you won't face any unpleasant surprises. 

Using a standard schedule: Don't get me wrong. For several organizations, a standard schedule works just fine. But do you have an organization with varying customer flows, with permanent and flex workers, and do seasons, for example, affect your staffing? Then variation is the key word in effective staff scheduling. If you consistently schedule the same people at the same times, you're not maximizing the potential of your team's diversity, and you may sometimes find yourself scheduling too many people than necessary. After all, you want the right people at the right time. This pitfall is especially insidious because it feels easy and comfortable, but comfort does not always lead to efficiency. 

Reading Tip: "Efficient WFM in supermarkets during the holidays" 

Don't underestimate leave management: Leave management is a delicate balance. On the one hand, you have employees who don't take their leave, which can be financially detrimental in the long run through pay raises, for example. On the other hand, you want to avoid overstaffing and understaffing. At R&R WFM, we advocate a proactive approach in leave management. By already having insight into leave positions during the scheduling process, you can plan more efficiently and fairly. By keeping an eye on leave-taking, you can take time off in consultation on time, and when staffing allows.  

The recording of hours: Incorrect recording of hours leads to a domino effect of problems. Incorrect payroll, dissatisfied employees, and an increase in administrative burden. This is easily solved by allowing employees to clock in. With R&R, employees can clock digitally through the employee app, or by using a drip and hardware clocking. This method of timekeeping ensures and simplifies the process. 

In conclusion 

Staff scheduling is a craft. By avoiding these pitfalls, you create a schedule that is not only efficient and cost-effective, but also contributes to the satisfaction of both your employees and your customers. And let's face it, satisfied employees are the driving force behind any successful business. 

Stef van Dijk
About the author Stef van Dijk

Stef van Dijk has extensive experience in supermarkets and knows the food retail industry inside and out. Stef writes blogs on all relevant issues around workforce management and food retail.

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