The new role of the planner in self-rostering

Working as a planner and in a team

In many sectors, such as industry, the planner fills a traditional role: they are responsible for day-to-day planning, arranging leave, and solving ad-hoc issues such as illness and shifts. In many organisations with a strong shift culture, the lines between staff and planner are blurred. It is often the case that the planner themselves also works in the team and “adds to the planning”. In many cases, these teams have been working with each other for many years and there is a strong bond between the employees and the planner. When an organisation switches to a methodology such as self-rostering, the planner’s role within the organisation will change significantly.


Self-rostering in practice

Self-rostering consists of three phases. In the first phase, employees fill out the roster as they wish. In phase 2, employees have to create the roster correct together (solving understaffing and overcrowding). Only in the 3rd phase will the planner actively assign or remove services from employees when the schedule does not yet meet occupancy requirements. Adapting services requires objectivity, and the planner will sometimes have to make difficult choices (for example, who to choose when a service still needs to be filled). This can be done, for example, by keeping an “objective list” that tracks how much understaffing and overcrowding an individual has resolved in phase 2 of the process. This makes it possible to objectively look at who can be assigned a service when providing outstanding services (if this is possible under the Working Time Act).


The planner’s new role

In self-rostering, the planner makes the step from operational planner to tactical planner, dealing with capacity issues, optimising occupancy requirements, mixing contracts, and implementing an efficient planning process.

In addition, they focus on specific tasks aimed at maintaining the success of self-rostering: guiding employees in the 2nd phase, in which they can shift with services to keep the roster accurate. It is crucial that, where possible, the planner encourages employees to shift themselves with services. When employees have difficulty with this, providing additional guidance is essential. This can be done, for example, by offering 1-to-1 guidance or organising group sessions. However, when a planner lingers too much in the traditional role and continues to adjust the roster on behalf of employees, this can impact employees’ motivation in taking responsibility for the roster themselves.

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