Level up your workforce: A how-to guide for SMBs

Phil Kendall

Feb 2024 ⋅ 6 min read

An industrial light bulb turned on

How to level up your workforce & empower staff with RotaCloud 

Old habits die hard when it comes to managing teams. Things like spreadsheets, emails and paper-based rotas especially are all par for the course for many — tools and practices that they’ve relied on for years.

But what if, instead of helping your team achieve their goals and ensuring that your business is running as efficiently as it can, these old processes are actually holding you back and making life harder for your staff?

Today, we’ll be taking a quick look at how RotaCloud’s user-friendly tools and features will not only save you hours of admin every week, but also help to empower your staff, eliminating shift-related conflicts and driving engagement across your entire team.

Modern tools for a modern workforce

Run a quick search on Twitter, Facebook, or TikTok and you’ll find dozens of disgruntled workers making the same complaints over and over:

“It’s Sunday night and I still haven’t got my rota!”

“My boss changed my shifts without telling me."

“My manager forgot I asked for today off and now I have to work!”

Needless to say, inefficiencies caused by old-fashioned people management tools and practices are taking their toll on employees, and they’re not shy about telling people.

Thankfully, there is a simple solution.

Setting up notifications on RotaCloud mobile app

With RotaCloud, your team no longer have to rely on grainy photos of their next rota sent to a work WhatsApp group, or have to study complicated spreadsheets attached to emails to know when they’re next in. Instead, your team can access their rotas 24 hours a day, seven days a week via the RotaCloud mobile app, and will be automatically notified if any of their shifts’ start or end times have to be changed.

Requesting time off is much simpler, too. Your staff can check their used, booked, and remaining annual leave records anytime they like through the RotaCloud app, and can request time off with a few quick taps. As well as making life easier for your team, this also means no more emails, leave request forms, or memos for you to keep track of.

An annual leave request being submitted on RotaCloud mobile app

In today’s competitive labour market, it’s tools like these that give your business the competitive edge, helping you stand out as a modern, forward-thinking employer that values your team’s time and provides them with the kind of information that they need to plan their time.

You wouldn’t dream of asking your staff to use antiquated computers, cash registers, or old kitchen equipment — so why should your scheduling and attendance processes be stuck in the past? 

Empowering your people

Of course, sending shifts to your staff is only the first step when it comes to levelling up your workforce — you also have to keep them engaged with the work they do and help them feel part of a team.

This is where RotaCloud can help.

RotaCloud’s self-service tools not only empower your team by giving them access to the information they require to better organise their time; it also helps to foster a greater sense of ownership and personal responsibility among your workforce.

Let’s look at an example.

In the past, if one of your employees wasn’t able to work one of their shifts, the onus was usually on you to find a solution. But with RotaCloud, staff have the tools to solve the problem for themselves, presenting you with a possible solution as opposed to just adding to your administrative workload.

Claiming an open shift available

Using our Shift Swap feature, for instance, employees who would prefer or are unable to work a particular shift can quickly find a team member who’s both available and able to work in that role. They can then send a swap request via the RotaCloud app, asking their coworker to provide cover.

If their colleague accepts the request, the proposal will then be sent over to you for approval, with their rota updated automatically if you decide to give the swap the green light.

Similarly, with constant access to their annual leave records, RotaCloud encourages staff to be more proactive about requesting time off. This might sound counterintuitive at first, but the result is a team that’s not only more well-rested (and thus less likely to call in sick!) and spreads their time off throughout the year rather than trying to squeeze it all into the last few weeks.

With tools like these at their disposal, your staff are encouraged to take greater ownership of their shifts, but also gain a sense of freedom and control that few employers currently offer.

Better communication 

Communication is everything when it comes to managing and scheduling for your team, and is very much at the heart of RotaCloud tools and features.

Beyond the obvious benefits of our automatic push, email, and SMS notifications that keep your team aware of what’s going on at work, there are numerous ways that RotaCloud can foster better communication at your workplace…

Working availability 

marking availability on the RotaCloud mobile app

The best rotas are built with your team’s working availability in mind. That’s why RotaCloud lets your team mark the dates and times that they’d prefer to work — or not work — via the app.

Once they’ve marked their availability, this data can then be shown or hidden on future rotas as you plan them, reducing the need for edits further down the line. It also means that you don’t have to keep mental or written notes of any dates your staff have asked to work or not work, reducing the chances that a request will become forgotten about.

Shift notes, Day notes, and memos

Creating a day note in the RotaCloud web app

As a manager, RotaCloud allows you to communicate important shift- and company-related information to your teams in a number of ways. Shift notes, for example, allow you to add brief messages to shift cards for individual employees to read — great for communicating specific instructions or giving staff such as door entry codes or particular tasks you’d like them to take care of during their shift. 

Day notes, meanwhile, can be used to alert everyone who’s working on a particular day that something important is due to take place — a big delivery, for example, or a company event — so that they have advanced warning and will be fully prepared.

Alternatively, when you need to make your entire workforce aware of something — a change in policy, perhaps, or to share important news that affects everyone at the business — the Memos tool can be used to send a message to your team’s registered email addresses, directly from your RotaCloud account, keeping everyone in the loop.

Open shifts

A woman looking at her mobile phone

No matter how much time you’ve put into planning your team’s rotas, there will inevitably be occasions when a gap opens up your schedule due to sickness, unplanned absence, or simply increased demand. 

That’s where open shifts come in.

Open shifts are shifts that can be claimed by eligible members of your team on a first come, first served basis. They’re perfect for when you need to find cover or an extra pair of hands at short notice, and makes communicating with your team simple.

When an open shift is created, staff who aren’t already scheduled to work during that time are automatically notified via email or push notification. They can then follow the link in the notification to find out more or to claim the shift for themselves.

Once the shift is claimed, RotaCloud will immediately let you know the good news — it’ll even update the rota on your behalf, so you can stay focused on running your business.

With competition for staff remaining high and workers increasingly gravitating towards employers who prioritise employee experience, it’s more important than ever to modernise your people management processes and invest in tools that facilitate this.

Platforms like RotaCloud not only empower your staff by giving them quick and easy access to the vital information that they need, but actually help to encourage ownership of shifts and build a working environment where staff are simultaneously accountable for their shifts but also have a degree of control over their working lives.

Visit our Features page to discover more tools to help you level up your workforce and make work simple for everyone.