The Helpdesk was started in 2001 with 16 employees to act as a sort of middle man between the full-time technicians and users and has since grown to support a wide range of issues from users across the university community (staff, faculty, students, and visitors). The Helpdesk has always been staffed by student workers, with at least one full-time staff member managing them all. We pride ourselves on being open for a wide range of hours, offering professional-level service and doing more with less.
At any given time we have between 11-18 student workers (Consultants) who use ShiftPlanning for their work schedule and time clock and 1-2 Coordinators (temp and/or graduate student workers). We also have one full-time Director who manages the Helpdesk’s ShiftPlanning account.
Being staffed almost entirely by student workers presents the biggest challenge. It means:
Before ShiftPlanning we used an Excel spreadsheet to create and manage our schedule. Once a week an updated version of the schedule was sent to our staff email list and a copy was printed and hung behind the Help Desk. Shift trades were carried out via the staff email list and there was no efficient way to track whose shifts were up for grabs and who had taken what, other than making a mark on the paper copy of the schedule. Supervisors were expected to remember shift trades.
We’ve been on ShiftPlanning for just under a year and have benefited from it quite a bit.
The employee schedule maker has helped immensely with both our schedule communication and our record-keeping. We no longer have to rely on our staff email list and hope that workers are checking their email and scanning through the schedule every week, the work scheduler notifies them of their upcoming shifts and they can check it from anywhere (most of them have smartphones and all have computer access at home and on-campus). The notifications have been particularly helpful, we tell workers that if they don’t want to receive notifications, that’s their own decision, but they have no excuse to forget when their shifts are. This has really helped improve our accountability. It’s also highlighted some issues among our staff that weren’t readily apparent without that level of accountability and thus allowed us to deal with those issues.
We also use work scheduler time clock feature, which helps us tell whether our employees are correctly recording their hours on their official time sheets. You can complete the school’s time sheets at any time during the pay period, so we often have student workers fill out their time sheets ahead of time and forget to go back and edit out shifts they missed (or fill everything out at the last minute and not be able to remember when they worked). The time clock records allow us to cross-reference and at least tell whether a worker was here on a particular day.
Aside from record-keeping, it encourages workers to communicate with us when there are problems with clocking in on time which has been helpful.
Our biggest concern starting with the employee schedule maker was that employees would use it as a crutch so they wouldn’t have to take personal responsibility for their shifts but in reality it’s improved responsibility levels, if anything. Now that employees have a tool they like using, it’s made them want to learn the system and take advantage of it. We still depend on Excel to help create the initial schedule because it’s the best system we’ve got for our strange shift sizes and availability issue but once we have a stable schedule for the semester, we make changes mostly in ShiftPlanning.
We absolutely recommend the work scheduler and in fact we already have. One, possibly two other departments within the university are currently looking into ShiftPlanning as an option for their own staffs of student workers. The ShiftPlanning team seemed like a committed, dependable group. They seem to be all about open communication which we appreciate.
ShiftPlanning has helped immensely.- Nicole Lorenz – Hamline University’s ITS Helpdesk
We occasionally use the work scheduler to store very basic documents from our knowledge base but we haven’t explored that function much yet.
“We like that ShiftPlanning doesn't keep your data behind its walled garden.”- mashable.com
“With this tool, you can literally run tens of employees with ease.”- makeuseof.com
“It is an intuitive product, with a nice range of features.”- killerstartups.com