Resources > Blog > 3 Things Your Department Can & Should Do This Summer to Improve Next Fall
The 2021-2022 school year is finally winding down. As the manager of an on-campus department, you don't have a ton of time to sit and reflect. It's the season to begin thinking about what changes you can and should implement in order to make next year better. Yes, it's already time!
What You Can Do This Summer to Make Your Life Easier This Fall
Your team more than likely has unique needs based on your school, employees, students, and department. The school cafeteria and the campus bookstore may or may not have overlapping needs. That being said, higher ed experts and management gurus recommend taking a look at these three potential areas for improvement in particular:
#1 Take a Break
Taking a mental break is great for each individual as well as the group dynamics as a whole. In fact, it’s been proven that taking breaks together can result in a higher level of productivity and help to reevaluate goals.
Summertime is perfect for this! You could round up the team and go for coffee together, head to the beach, go on a hike, do an escape room, grab happy hour drinks, or go outdoors for a department BBQ. Getting together in a less formal setting will encourage better communication, sharing, and bonding between all of your team members.
Also, this will be a boon for everyone's mental health. They won't feel burnt out when the fall semester comes around. New student orientation will be here before you know it, so get everyone out of the office and off campus while you can.
#2 Plan Out How to Offer Early Exposure to Career Skills
More than likely, your student staff members came to college in order to launch a fulfilling career. Do you know what it is for each person? What are their goals? If not, industry insiders recommend incorporating this question into the hiring process.
Let's say you're looking to hire a lifeguard, a front desk receptionist, and someone to close the gym at the end of the day. These three positions could go to three random students, or your hiring process could help you hone in on the right three students. A pre-med or nursing student would have the calm nature, medical exposure, and attention to detail required to be a lifeguard. A communications major may excel at the front desk. Could you find a health sciences or physical therapy major for your gym? A worker who is in an area they find interesting and engaging is more likely to stay on staff longer, as well as be better at their job. This summer, why not brainstorm and put plans in place for how you could incorporate this concept at your department?
#3 Evaluate and Implement Easy Employee Scheduling Software
A new scheduling software can make your days easier in ways you can't even imagine right now! In fact, as you look a bit more into this option you may realize you are drudging every single day through a swamp of problems that can actually be solved quite easily. How do you know you need a new scheduling software?
Does this situation sound familiar to you?
You spend several hours creating next week's schedule manually, with the "help" of emails, sticky notes, and an excel spreadsheet. When the schedule goes live, there are conflicts. You put it up on Friday afternoon and Chrysa immediately has a problem. She's scheduled for your front desk on Monday morning, but she's already seen her schedule for the rec center and she's working that shift for her other manager as well. People are dropping shifts because they aren’t getting enough advance notice of when they’re working.
As the manager, you must pull down the schedule and make a change to have Chrysa's Monday morning shift covered. No one can see the schedule while this is happening. It goes back up on Friday evening, and now a different employee, Liza, sees a conflict. The process begins all over again!
If you need an hour to change the schedule each time, you’re easily wasting several hours a week on this process. This takes you away from your managerial tasks that are already pretty burdensome. As well, you’re losing employees. Liza quits because she's tired of not knowing her schedule until the last moment. Others need to pick up her shifts, but you are running out of coverage options. Now, you’re paying OT to Chelsey and you’re going to go over budget. All of this is happening because you collected availability poorly and took so long to build out the schedule. These common problems don’t have to be so common. There is a solution!
SubItUp Is the Easy Employee Scheduling Software You're Looking For
If you can relate to the story above, then your higher ed department is probably dealing with some pretty serious issues. The good news is that they can be solved, and quickly, with a simple software and scheduling process in place. If you begin implementation by early summer, your fall will be much smoother than any in years past.
A simple sample schedule to achieve implementation by August may look something like:
June: Begin your evaluation of possible software options. Ask yourself, what is our process? Do we need to replace what we’re doing now? Where does our current manual process or software have gaps?
Late-June: It's time to make a decision! By the end of the month, you will want to have identified a budget, looked at solutions, and determined the value a software solution will bring to your team and campus.
July: If you made your final choice in June, this gives you a month to onboard and train your management team and summer staff. In July, you won't have the heavy workload you will have when students arrive back on campus, making this the perfect time to ramp up. This July test run gives you the opportunity to identify what is working best or if anything needs to be tweaked by the time August rolls around.
August: Once August arrives, you will make your student hires. By now, you want to already have the easy employee schedule software in place and the new system under your feet.
September: By September, it’s all second nature. You are streamlined by the fall and scheduling will be working much better than last year.
Talk about a summer well spent! Rather than reacting to scheduling issues as they inevitably arise this fall, take the time now to begin the process that puts your team on a much better path. By August 2022, you could be saving hours and hours each week from one simple software implementation!
Make Your Day Easier, and Your Team Happier
SubItUp is more than an easy employee scheduling software; it's also one that's incredibly quick to get up and running. In fact, we can typically go from signing a contract to the software being completely functional for your team in about a week's time, depending on exactly how many departments are coming on board.
We do this for universities all across the country, and recently for Louisiana State University (LSU). LSU brought all of their campus rec on board to SubItUp, about 400 employees. Because there were many individual-sized teams that are buckets within the same university, their implementation took about a month. Each individual department is probably about one week away from a totally transformed scheduling system, including yours.
This timeline accounts for meeting with each individual team beforehand and taking a deep dive into their specific needs so the account can be configured to this. This is one way we ensure your success; your solution is personalized and customized to meet your department's specific needs.
Your department will be effectively up and running, with employee shifts on the schedule, within a week. You're not on your own after these few days! We also call you afterwards in order to help with any lingering questions.
Is an easy employee scheduling software something that you and your team would benefit from? Schedule a demo with our workforce experts and find out! If you begin the process now, you'll be up and working more efficiently before the Fall 2022 semester begins!