Implementing a successful self-rostering pilot

Why is a pilot necessary?

Self-rostering brings a huge change in the way scheduling is organised. Therefore, it is important that employees get used to the new ways of working brought by self-rostering. During a pilot we test self-rostering on a small scale. Self-rostering can be tested out on a team or department for a set period of time The goal of the pilot is to enable everyone to get familiarised with all aspects of self-rostering; the concept, the rules and the software. A pilot is also necessary to get an initial part of the employees on board, who can later be the ones to promote self-rostering to the others. The goal of the pilot is to familiarize stakeholders with all aspects of self-rostering, and to test its viability and identify any potential bottlenecks before embarking on full-scale implementation. Successful pilots produce self-rostering advocates. Employees who will champion the cause and enable successful full-scale implementation, which is another enabling factor of successful change initiatives.

The first step

The first step to a successful pilot is defining clear objectives.  The objectives for adopting self-rostering are varied. Increased employee engagement and satisfaction, decreased absenteeism, enhanced well-being and positive long-term health effects for shift workers and becoming a more inclusive organization are just some of the objectives organizations have for adopting self-rostering. Whatever the objectives may be, successful pilots usually start with clear, and measurable objectives.

Initial baseline measurements

After clear objectives have been identified. The next step is to conduct baseline measurements of your objectives. Do you see self-rostering as a way to increase employee satisfaction? Do you aim to reduce absenteeism and sick leaves? Measurements of your objectives are conducted before the pilot so that self-rostering’s effect on these objectives can be evaluated upon the pilot’s completion.

Defining the rules of the game

This is a stage critical to the success of any self-rostering project, big or small, pilot or full-scale implementation. It involves determining the shifts that need to be allocated and determining the minimum staffing levels occupancy requirements for each shift. This is also where all the rules and constraints must be accounted for. Rules and constraints include labor law, company’s internal policies, collective labor agreements and other sources of rules that govern employee’s working hours. Other important rules to define include qualification or skill requirements for each shift.

It is advisable that this is done on scheduling software that supports self-rostering. Rules and constraints aren’t just meant to govern the allocation of shifts, but also to ensure that shift swaps and other changes to schedules are still compliant with necessary regulation or internal policies.

Identifying bottlenecks and pain points

Once teams or departments start implementing this flexible form of rostering, naturally bottlenecks and other implementation issues are found out. This is another reason for starting with a pilot. Finding these bottlenecks out before full scale implementation allows organizations to find solutions to these scheduling issues before embarking on full scale implementation. Identifying these pain points early on in the process is an enabler of implementation success.

Final evaluation

At the conclusion of the pilot, self-rostering’s effect on desired objectives can be evaluated. This is done by comparing baseline measures of the organization’s objectives with post intervention results. Organizations have different objectives for implementing self-rostering. Organizations can also gain insights from the post intervention measurements that help make full scale implementation more successful. Objective pre-intervention and post intervention measurements also make a strong business case for management to decide on rolling out self-rostering to the rest of the organization.

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