How to cover shifts when you’re short on staff

At Emprevo, we’ve learned a thing or two about managing casual staff.

If you’re a business owner or manager you’d know that keeping your shifts full can be an absolute nightmare. Just when you think you’ve got everything under control a staff member will call in sick and put you back into chaos.

Here’s our top tips to help you keep your business on track:

1. Take advantage of free recruiting tools (indeed, gumtree)

While using paid job advertisements can yield great results, don’t forget that there are several websites where you can quickly post a job up for no charge. These sites can often get you a different group of applications to the paid sites, so you can use them in addition to your paid advertisements. Make sure you keep your ads as specific as possible to minimize the number of junk applications you receive.

2. Keep a database of former staff members

Most workplaces have a wealth of former staff members that are trained up and ready to fill shifts that they never use. While most of your previously active staff members won’t be looking to return to ongoing work, but many of them could be interested in filling in a shift here or there if they’re looking to make some extra cash. Get in contact with your former staff and ask if any of them are happy to be notified when shifts become available.

3. Encourage staff to swap shifts rather than cover them

When you’ve managed casual staff for a long while you’ll start to notice a familiar pattern emerging. It always seems to be the same group of workers pulling out of shifts, and another group of workers filling them. To make sure it’s not always a one sided process encourage your staff to swap shifts rather than asking for covers. This way the workers that are doing the right thing by filling in can get their shifts covered when they need them.

4. Use labour hire wisely

Sometimes a necessary evil, labour hire can help you fill shortfalls when you get desperate. Labour hire can be an expensive way to solve problems, and it means you’re bringing unfamiliar staff into your business that may not be trained in your processes. Your best bet is to make sure you maximise your use of internal staff first, then use labour hire as an absolute last resort.

5. Automate the shift filling process with Emprevo.

Designed by industry experts, the Emprevo platform was designed to automate the shift filling process and minimise labour hire costs. In both mobile and desktop versions the app is simple to operate and free to use for any small to large scale business. The system works via a mobile app for your staff, and sends them out a notification whenever a shift needs to be filled. Your staff can set their own availability so they only receive shifts when they are able to fill them.