Resources > Blog > How to Run Your Department More Like a Business
Schools are designed to be safe places that allow students to grow and develop their personality and career skills in a way that will benefit them in the future. For this reason, it may seem a bit shocking at first to talk about a school in business terms. It's important to realize that just because you aren't there to solely make money doesn't mean there aren't business methods and tactics that will make your university a better place to manage, work for, and attend.
Run Your Department Like a People-Centered Business
SubItUp is the number one employee scheduling platform in higher education — something we're extremely proud to say. You may be wondering why we are so popular. You may think that it's because we bring automated scheduling, team collaboration, transparent reporting, and reduced liability together in one campus-wide platform. That's certainly true, but we also think it has a lot to do with the fact that our employee management system makes it possible to run your school like a business – a successful one at that.
There is a lot to gain in running a school like a people-centric business. Just like employees are a business’s most valuable asset, your team members are the core of your department. Don't just run it like a business; run it like a great business. You can do so by...
Tracking Clock Ins and Outs
Let's say your team member, Bryan, is working five shifts this week that are scheduled from noon to 8 pm. If you're using a manual method or out-of-date technology, he clocks in whenever he feels like it. He arrived for work today at 11:45, so why not clock in then? It takes a bit longer to close up for the night because he stopped for a while to chat, so he doesn't actually clock out until 8:30. Without you realizing it, Bryan just got himself 45 minutes of unsanctioned overtime in one shift. What if he does this tomorrow, and the day after?
If this extra payroll isn't approved or planned for, it can be a challenge to find the funds to cover it. Because your department's budget is "fixed," you can't simply sell more merchandise or gain a new client to cover it.
No matter your industry, time is money. It is clear to see why tracking times so no one goes into expensive overtime should be one of your top priorities. With an integrated time clock, your system knows when someone should be working based on the schedule. You decide whether they can clock in five or 15 minutes early and how soon after their shift ends they need to clock out. Any anomalies are quickly flagged, without making it all the way to payroll before an error is discovered.
Staying Under Budget
Just because you aren't a store that sells things (unless you're managing the university's bookstore, that is!) doesn't mean your department has free reign to spend as much as you want. A school still has a budget, and your department does too.
One of the easiest ways to stay within your budget is to keep your labor costs in check. You may be making a few common mistakes that are leading you down a very expensive path. These include allowing too much overtime, not having an accurate picture of what you’re paying each employee, operating with more employees on the clock than you actually need, and more. There are several ways our employee management system keeps labor costs down.
We can help you reduce the number of employees working overtime by giving you better visibility within the schedule. One way we make this possible is with our Global Max Hours Settings. You can use this setting to prevent employees from picking up available shifts that would put them over the maximum amount of hours they are allowed to work. This ensures your employees do not get scheduled for more than their daily or weekly hours across all the departments they work in.
Improving Your Employee Retention Rate
Did you know that one of the worst things for your budget is to continually hire, lose, and search for new employees over and over again? It's much more expensive to hire, onboard, and ramp up a new employee than it is to keep your current team in place.
A better work environment allows everyone to be happy, not just you. You have more control over this than you may imagine, and so does your schedule. Just as making last-minute changes to shifts is frustrating for you, these are even harder for the team members expected to work the shifts. Our system ensures they're working on a schedule they're prepared for.
Keeping Your Team Happy
Hiring good candidates is only the beginning. You need to keep them happy in order to keep them, well, your employees. Top businesses know that happier employees are more engaged and better at their jobs. You don't need to hope and guess they're enjoying their job. The same software that makes it easy to create a schedule can also survey your team! A happy employee is an employee who continues to work for your company for years to come. Say goodbye to the communication voids in the past that have led to good team members leaving.
Finding Gaps in Your Financial Planning
It would be a mistake to think of the hourly wages your team members earn as the only costs associated with your employees. Successful businesses who continually make profits know this to be true. Take the time to also pay attention to any extra compensation associated with each employee. This could be overtime and bonuses, payroll taxes, health insurance, 401(k) match, and other employer contributions. One team member may be costing your university extra when they're on a shift.
Letting Your Employees Handle Their Own Shift Changes
Even though you're technically part of a school and many of your team members are technically students, this doesn't mean they need to be treated like children. We encourage you to pay special attention to our Social Scheduling™ feature and what it can do to ease your burdens as the manager.
This feature transforms tedious, time-consuming tasks into simple manager approvals. Let's say one of your front desk staff, Michelle, is scheduled to work a shift on Saturday but would rather go to a concert instead. In the past, this would mean she wrote you a note and left it on your desk– leaving you to deal with the issue while she's off with her friends. If you have implemented SubItUp's Social Scheduling™ feature, it is up to Michelle to contact her team members, switch shifts, and then get approval for her shift coverage. The shift is still assigned to her until someone else has agreed to work it and you've approved.
When you run your department less like a school full of kids and more like a business full of capable adults, you have less to do each day.
Learn More About SubItUp's Employee Management System
Your school can and should be run the same as any other successful business. SubItUp offers a variety of different solutions, depending on what your exact issues are that need solving. We'd love the opportunity to tell you how our employee management system makes this possible.
If you're in the higher education industry, we know that our team here at SubItUp can help you with everything mentioned above, and much more. We’re excited to show you everything our workplace management software can do to make your daily life easier. In fact, we put together a quick infographic that illustrates several of our most-popular features. Download it to see just some of the ways we can improve how you run your higher education department.