CoRoster Introduces intelligent planning

The problem we were looking to solve when I founded CoRoster was a people problem. My wife (who’s a nurse) would often be woken up by her work when she was sleeping after a night shift. They wanted to know if she was free for an afternoon shift that day. This happened pretty regularly and I couldn’t help but think, “Why would they call her when they know she’s sleeping and isn’t allowed to work anyway?”

Poor health due to lack of sleep and ever changing work hours is a common problem in all sorts of shift work. My wife’s employer was making this worse. I couldn’t let it go. Why did they keep getting something so fundamental to keeping your workforce happy and healthy so wrong? This became the start of a 5 year journey for CoRoster as we tackled the problem of staff scheduling and why it gets so complicated in large businesses.

Rules everywhere

One of the biggest challenges in any business that’s been running for a few years is they have ended up with all sorts of scheduling rules that only get applied in specific circumstances. EBA’s, concessions made to certain teams, priority given to staff members by seniority, all sorts of rules can exist. These concessions are notoriously complicated to automate with a computer. Identifying who should receive different treatment and how this applied can be a nightmare.

Flexibility

It might be that one team has agreed to handle transitions to days from nights differently to another team, or that a certain team member needs to be home on Tuesdays nights. Flexibility in teams is important to help keep staff happy and account for differences in regions or work. Then there’s your staff.They all have different needs and in a competitive employment market, being able to cater for that makes you an employer of choice. Allowing staff to tailor work hours if the roster permits is an incredible advantage to retaining staff and increasing satisfaction, reducing sick leave and increasing throughput.

 

This is why roster teams keep growing

Traditional software can’t manage or control all the variables, so we end up hiring more and more people to ‘tune’ the roster each week. I’ve seen Computer rosters planned weeks in advance with red pen scribbled all over it to note the changes the closer you get to the actual work day. Its a nightmare. And no wonder roster staff can’t see who’s actually working unless they have the paperwork in front of them.

Our solution

We designed CoRoster to work around this by throwing out the rule book for how rosters have been automated previously. In the process we built an intelligent planning system that thinks like a person does and makes decisions based on often conflicting rules, something a traditional roster system can’t do. We note all the exceptions, all the rules that are slightly different here and there and then train CoRoster to make decisions that meet the employer requirements for a full roster but keep everyone happy a the same time.


Interested to learn more about how we can help you?

About the Author

John Webster

John is the founder and CEO of CoRoster. He has a Masters of Management in Information Technology and is fascinated about motivational theory, staff engagement and the interface between people and technology. John founded CoRoster to look for ways to improve people's work/life balance.

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