The 7 success factors of self-rostering

Self-rostering offers many advantages for employers and employees alike. That’s nothing new. But getting started with self-rostering isn’t something you just jump into. It involves many fundamental elements of an organisation and its planning processes. These include capacity planning, labour productivity, staffing requirements, and working hours. Are you considering self-rostering? To help you, we’ll introduce the 7 factors for successful implementation of self-rostering. At The Self-rostering Factory, we believe these guidelines are the key to real success.

The implementation of self-rostering has a significant impact on your organization. At the same time, it’s not the right solution for every organisation. For example, your employees need to have options. And it should align with how work is scheduled within your organisation. On the other hand, self-rostering works in more environments than you think. In short, there are a number of considerations to make before you can get off to a good start.


  1. Employees have to understand it and want it.

Self-rostering is most likely to be successful if there is something to improve. If employees already get the working hours they want, they probably won’t see the benefits of self-rostering. On top of that, it helps when your employees would like to have more flexibility. Employers should also be able to explain why the organisation itself needs more flexibility. Understanding how it works and being committed to the change are more important than you think!

  1. There must be a variety of options available.

With self-rostering, it’s important that employees have (sufficient) options for variation in working hours. In principle, the wider the organisations’ operating times compared to contract hours, the more choices there are. Self-rostering works best for a group of 7 to 100 employees, with differences in age and experience. This makes them more likely to have a variety of preferences when it comes to working hours.

  1. Employees do (almost) the same job.

Self-rostering works best in departments without too much variation in skillsets. Ideally, your employees are largely ‘interchangeable’. Obviously not as human beings, but in terms of knowledge, abilities, and competences.

  1. The rules are clear and can be evaluated objectively.

It is crucial for the success of self-rostering that employer and employees work together to set the rules of the game. This creates mutual trust, which forms the basis of self-rostering. In order for group responsibility to work properly, it should be clear which group member’s turn it is for a working hours adjustment. Ensuring fairness is the responsibility of the employer.

  1. Everyone is treated equally and given the same opportunities

Self-rostering means that 80 to 90% of preferences regarding working hours are fulfilled. To fill any remaining gaps, concessions sometimes have to be made. It is important to make this very clear in advance. Furthermore, it is important to treat everyone equally. This way, it doesn’t matter if you are first or last with submitting your preferences. No exceptions are made for colleagues who would like to see this differently.

  1. Management delegates the responsibility for scheduling to employees.

Self-rostering is more than a change in your planning or planning process. Employees are given the right to determine their own working hours. This leads to shared responsibility for meeting occupancy requirements and the fine-tuning of working hours. As management, you need to have the guts to let go of control.

  1. Management remains responsible for staffing requirements

Management determines (based on workload) how many employees are needed on a given hour or day. The more accurately staffing requirements are calculated, the more advantages you as an employer will gain from self-rostering.