Time tracking

How to Forecast Employee Scheduling Needs

Employee scheduling can be a pain to complete when heading into a new fiscal period, blind. If you don’t have the information of past schedules and labour requirements for busy seasons and downtimes, how can you accurately predict what human resources you need to cover the demand for your products and services?

Using predictive analytics to forecast future resources can help companies with the dilemma of under or overstaffing for the upcoming year. Here’s how forecasting can help your business with its employee scheduling needs, including what workforce forecasting and demand forecasting are and how to use them.

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What is Forecasting?

Forecasting refers to the process of predicting future situations based on past historical data. Businesses of all types and sizes use various forecasting methods to plan the company’s resources for the future market.

Like cash flow forecasting and sales forecasting, labour forecasting can be used to measure past requirements against future needs, helping companies determine what resources and how much should be allocated to different parts of the business. This is especially handy when it comes to workforce scheduling and creating business goals for the future.

How Can Forecasting Help With Employee Scheduling?

Business owners and managers must schedule their human resources based on the market demand, ensuring enough staff are available to cover the company’s services. Workforce scheduling for specific times of year, planning for holiday times and the influx of customers or slow periods of inactivity, guarantees the business is operating at optimum efficiency without over or underspending on payroll expenses.

Looking at the company’s past labour data to determine future needs can help with this balancing act. Business owners can explore the previous years’ work schedules and financial statements to decide the labour requirements in the current period, allocating resources efficiently without excess to create the perfect master schedule.

Forecasting and workforce scheduling can also help identify internal process inefficiencies. You can use your business’ historical data to pinpoint problem areas, like using too much overtime or causing burnout in overworked employees. This insight can help with the scheduling process to more efficiently cover future demands, creating a healthy work environment and improving the employee experience.

Types of Forecasting for Your Scheduling Needs

Predicting future labour needs is an essential part of managing a team of workers. As a business owner, you must be prepared to take on this responsibility to ensure that the business is balancing out its revenue and sales with its expenses.

There are two main types of forecasting that can help you in this endeavour. These forecasting methods include workforce forecasting and demand forecasting.

Demand forecasting

Demand forecasting looks to past customer and sales data to determine future customer demand. This forecasting approach focuses on the products and services of your business through a sales lens.

This data’s main focus surrounds your business’ products and sales, but to make those sales, you need the human resources to complete most transactions. Looking at past sales data alongside previous labour costs and schedules, owners can calculate their resources and staffing needs to meet these necessary requirements.

It can end up costing your company money if there is currently low demand for your products, but you’re still scheduling a high number of employee shifts, resulting in costly payroll processing and low revenue generation. Companies can offset this imbalance in cash flow by allocating only the necessary human resources needed to cover the forecasted demand.

Labour forecasting

Labour forecasting, also known as workforce forecasting, focuses on the historical data of the staff to determine future needs. This data analysis should provide an aggregate understanding of the business’ past and current workforce status for the ensuing periods.

To do this, you will need to have a complete view of the past year’s employees- new hires, current workers, employee turnover, and salaries- to calculate the total human resources that must be deployed to cover all required tasks and jobs in the specific period.

Labour planning and workforce forecasting focus on the successful management of current workers based on qualifications, salaries, and required projects or jobs in a given period. You may need to schedule more hours for supervisors or managers than you need to for employees to cover a specific job. In that case, you must take into account wages and work hours to calculate the scheduling needs and business expenses against the revenue coming in.

How to Schedule Employees Effectively

Using these forecasting methods, small businesses can prepare a well-planned employee schedule for the months ahead. However, to use these methods, your business first needs to implement tracking tools and gather historical data to measure against. This is where an employee scheduling system and time tracking software comes into play.

These labour planning tools go hand in hand with employee management, as they also offer a snapshot view of your employees’ attendance. Looking back on past schedules, you can see who has required last-minute shift changes and who offers reliable shift coverage. Having this information at the ready will help you with surprise scheduling changes.

Thanks to workforce management modernization, employee scheduling software, like QuickBooks Time, can help companies track employee hours to conduct this useful forecasting. Used alongside its accounting sibling, QuickBooks Online, organizations can collect information surrounding revenue with employee scheduling data to determine future employee output and scheduling needs.

Improve Your Scheduling Process

QuickBooks Time is one of the best scheduling tools for planning resources for the future, as it can be paired with QuickBooks Online to offer greater insight for workforce forecasting. Companies can easily access employee scheduling historical data alongside their financial reports and statements for a complete scope of analysis. These integrated tools improve employee scheduling workflow while simultaneously boosting business management overall.

QuickBook Times software can gather historical scheduling data over time to help you determine your employee scheduling needs each period. Try it free today to start creating work schedules and recording this essential data for the future!

Back: Time Management Strategies to Help Take Control of Your Time

Next: 12 Incentives to Get Employees to Submit Timesheets

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