How to Manage Your Team Effectively Through Fluctuating Demand
You never know what’s going to happen in life or in business. One day customers are forming an orderly line to hand over their money, the next you’re watching tumbleweeds roll through your store.
OK, this might be a little dramatic, but demand can fluctuate wildly, and when it does, it’s difficult to find the best way to manage your team.
Here are some tips on how you can manage your team effectively through fluctuating demand.
Understand Time Usage
Managing your team through fluctuating demand is all about understanding time usage. If you have accurate data on how many hours people work and what jobs they do, then it’s much easier to match predicted demand.
For instance, if you have information on how you deployed your team in a similar situation, then you can quickly replicate that strategy and adapt it as you go.
It’s difficult to manage your team effectively in the face of fluctuating demand, but the more data you have, the more efficiently you can deploy your workforce.
Sometimes fluctuating demand is out of our control. Other times, it follows a seasonal pattern and you can, with some level of certainty, predict when you’ll be busy and when you won’t.
If you do know when your busy seasons are likely to occur, then it’s important you plan ahead.
These periods can be some of the most stressful for you and your employees, so you want to make sure you have everything you need in place ahead of time. This ensures you can maintain high performance during this important time and also keep stress levels to a minimum.
If you’ve taken care of your labor needs ahead of time, then effective scheduling becomes much easier.
Open and Clear Communication
For employees, the biggest problem with fluctuating demand is often a lack of clarity. They’re happy to put in the extra hours when things are busy, but what they find difficult is not knowing what’s happening in advance.
People lead busy lives outside of work and they need some level of certainty.
One way you can help give them this is through clear communication. Make scheduling simple and share it as early as possible. Of course, things can change quickly, but if you’re adaptable and communicate well, then it’s going to make everything more efficient and improve employee morale.
Offer Flexible Scheduling
There are lots of different answers to the question of how to manage your team effectively.
This option won’t work for every business, but there are certainly some companies that can benefit from it.
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With flexible scheduling, you create shifts based on the number of employees you need and the hours you have available. You then allow your employees to choose their own shifts.
This takes a bit of coordination, and it will need a good time clock system to help you pull it off, but the benefits for your employees are evident. It’s a perk that many other businesses aren’t offering and gives them extra flexibility to deal with fluctuating demand.
Cross-Train Your Employees
Having employees who can cover multiple roles within your business is a huge benefit. It gives you a lot more flexibility in the face of fluctuating demand and makes effective scheduling that little bit easier.
Cross-training always makes it easier to manage your team efficiently because it means you have more skills available to you. It might take a little bit more investment, but it will pay off in the long run.
Conclusion: How to Manage Your Team Effectively
Fluctuating demand is a big challenge for managers. Understanding how to manage your team effectively through difficulties is part of the job, and fortunately, there are plenty of different strategies you can use.
Whatever tactics you end up using, the important thing is that you keep communicating. Employees can deal with a lot of adversity, but they need to be kept in the loop.
Start by understanding your time usage in detail, and this will give you a good basis from which to make decisions. With the right time clock software, you’ll have access to better data that will help you manage your team through fluctuating demand and make better decisions along the way.
Try our time clock software!