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Christmas Rota Headache? A Practical Guide for Employers

Date 13 Dec, 2019 |
By: Claire Malley

christmas rotaWhilst many businesses close for Christmas, for those that remain open careful Christmas rota planning is essential to avoid a potential staffing headache. Some sectors of the UK which have to work at Christmas include not only the hospitality industry, but the emergency services and domiciliary care sectors. Whilst many people in health or care sectors may not mind working at Christmas, others are not always so willing to work over the festive period.

5 Key Tips for Effective Christmas Rota Planning

  • 1. Get Ahead
    Organising the Christmas rota should begin in plenty time, and we would recommend starting it at the latest in October or early November. Once staff members have made plans for Christmas, many excuses can be made, or attempts may be made to avoid working over the period. However, if you start planning early people can plan their lives around the Christmas rota, rather than the business drafting the rota around the staff.
  • 2. Get Staff Members on Board with Rota Plans
    If an employee has not worked on Christmas day for several years, but others do it every year, this can be highlighted to them to raise the issue of fairness within the team. Discuss the shift pattern, which they would prefer to do, and try and work with the staff rather than planning the rota and discussing it with them afterwards.
  • 3. Try to be Reasonable
    christmas rota planningTry not to dictate the rota to staff, as it may lead to employees taking time off sick or potentially behaving in a disruptive way. It should be completed through consultation and agreement in order to achieve the best, and most reliable rota. Listen to their concerns or problems. If shifts can be moved around because of certain circumstances, that’s preferable than an employee coming into work either in a disgruntled manner, or failing to attend work at all. If the shifts are through agreement, then all staff are more likely to be reliable in their attendance over the Christmas period.
  • 4. Christmas Bonus & Benefits
    For those who attend the unsociable shifts, it could be worth implementing a bonus system and additional remuneration in order persuade employees to complete the shifts. Whilst some may consider it a bribe, or being held to ransom, it is a way of acknowledging the fact that those shifts are difficult to fill.
  • 5. Have a Contingency Plan
    It’s always worth having a backup plan, in case an employee calls in sick, there’s an emergency or an unplanned situation. Organising ‘reserve’ staff members in advance can relieve the stress of attempting to resolve a problem on Christmas Day, and provide security for a business or organisation over the festive period.

With careful Christmas rota planning staffing issues over the festive period can be minimised. In some industries reliability can be a problem, but by following these 5 key tips, hopefully these issues can be resolved. Contact our HR experts for HR Advice over the holiday season.

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