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Scheduling Tips for Hourly Employees

From shifting schedules to staff members who leave mid-shift, scheduling hourly employees can be difficult. However, effectively scheduling staff members has a large, positive impact on employee engagement and retention. In fact, 51% of people say they would quit their job for a flexible work schedule.  These are a few of the most important scheduling tips to keep in mind.


Determining Flexible vs. Set Schedules

No matter the industry you’re in, hourly workers will have a preference for either a flexible or set weekly schedule. For example, learning if someone would rather work M, W, F rather than scheduling them where there are openings will cut back on the number of days they are a no-show or late to work.


Guaranteed Hour Allocations

One of the biggest complaints from hourly employees is unsteady income. In fact, a JP Morgan Chase study showed that 55% of people report experiencing income change of 30% or more each month, most of it driven by inconsistent hours at their primary job. Offering guaranteed hours each week (or pay period) increases employee engagement and retention. When people aren’t worried about if they’re going to have enough money or what their next paycheck will be, they are able to focus more on their tasks at hand. 

While this scheduling tip may seem intimidating to implement, the number of hours people truly want may surprise you. Someone who works at your location as their primary job may want a guaranteed 30-40 hours. On the other hand, 17% of hourly employees hold a second job. These employees may only want 5-10 or 10-20 hours.  Knowing the hours someone wants to work not only helps with initial scheduling, but also with filling extra shifts that may come up.


Noting Shift Preferences

When you hire someone, it is important to ask their shift preferences. If you have morning, afternoon, and evening shifts, finding people who prefer each one is important! It ensures you will have people who will retain longer and will be able to show up for the shifts they are assigned.

Scheduling Preference Questions for New Hires
  • How many hours do you prefer to work each week?
  • How many hours do you prefer to work each day (single shift or double shift)?
  • Which days of the week do you prefer to work?
  • How far in advance do you need a schedule?
  • Which shift(s) work best for you on a consistent basis (morning/afternoon/evening)?
Scheduling Preference Questions for Current Employees

Ask all the same questions mentioned above and the following questions.

  • What do you currently like about your schedule?
  • What do you wish was different about your schedule?
  • Do you have any feedback on our scheduling practices?


Posting Shifts in Advance

Whether you offer set or flexible schedules, posting shifts in advance is important. If someone isn’t available on the date they are scheduled, giving them enough time to get it covered is needed. This cuts down on employee absences and being late.

The magic number of posting a schedule is two weeks. However, this step usually comes after nailing down the information from the tips above. When you have enough information about when, how often, and what shift people like to be scheduled, it streamlines the scheduling process moving forward.

In conclusion, taking a step back to look at your scheduling practices and implementing a few of these scheduling tips will increase employee retention and attendance. Plus, by promising potential employees a schedule in advance, a minimum number of hours, and preferred shift times, you will be able to attract more candidates than your competitors.

Be sure to check out our Applicant Matching System to learn how we match applicants against your current employees to streamline your hiring process. We’ll ensure you only hire dependable people, reducing employee turnover costs.



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