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  • Writer's pictureMartin Hesse

Navigating the Reality of AI-Generated Rostering: Signs It's Not Working as Expected

AI-generated rostering, promises to revolutionise scheduling by leveraging advanced algorithms to predict workforce demand, align staffing levels, and enhance operational efficiency. The allure of automating complex scheduling decisions appeals to organisations seeking to streamline processes and optimise labour costs. However, with the rise of AI imbedding itself into standard business practices it is worth determining whether ‘AI rostering’ delivers what is says it does or if it is riding the AI hype.  


In this article, we delve into the realm of AI-generated rostering, exploring the concept's potential pitfalls and the telltale signs that indicate the system is not working as intended. Additionally, we will explore the key functionality that organisations can focus on to enable fast and effective rostering without relying on AI. 



Signs of AI-Generated Rostering's Shortcomings 

While some rostering vendors claim the ability to deliver rostering through AI, the effectiveness of such systems varies. Here are several signs that AI-generated rostering might not be living up to expectations. 


Inaccurate Staffing Levels 

One of the key benefits of dynamic rostering is its ability to predict demand and staff accordingly. However, if the AI-generated rosters consistently result in overstaffing or understaffing, it indicates a fundamental flaw in the system's understanding of demand patterns. Overstaffing incurs unnecessary labour costs, while understaffing compromises customer service and employee satisfaction. 


High Employee Turnover 

AI-generated rosters that fail to consider employee preferences, skills, and well-being can lead to widespread dissatisfaction. When employees feel that their needs are not being addressed, job satisfaction plummets, resulting in high turnover rates. This defeats the purpose of efficient rostering by introducing instability in the workforce and the associated costs of increased turnover. The resultant reduction in morale for existing staff then further affects engagement with the organisation and importantly, customers. 


Lack of Flexibility and Individuality 

Effective rostering systems should accommodate the unexpected, such as a sudden change in an employee’s availability. If AI-generated rosters are rigid and struggle to adapt to unforeseen events, such as sick leave or emergencies, it highlights a crucial limitation. A successful rostering solution must possess the agility to handle real-time adjustments seamlessly. Furthermore, the organisation itself may have its own requirements for a worker to be eligible for a shift, which the AI enhancement may not be able to take into account. 

 

Increased Compliance Issues 

Managing workforce compliance is a critical aspect of rostering, especially in industries under complex award conditions like SCHADS, manufacturing, nursing, aged care and countless others. 

If AI-generated rosters struggle to interpret complex rules, regulations, and contractual obligations accurately, the organisation becomes vulnerable to compliance issues. This puts the company at risk of legal penalties and reputational damage.  

Removal of customer centric wellbeing 

In industries that have strong client relationship development, such as disability support work, aged care and health, AI based rostering can remove that level of personal connection. Suddenly, a trusted worker is no longer put on shifts with their regular clients and the trust that has built over time is severed.  If the relationship between client and worker is not considered when rostering, it can negatively impact the entire client base, putting the organisation’s reputation at risk.  

 

Difficulty in Managing Exceptions 

Workforce management is filled with exceptions and unique scenarios that require careful handling. If AI-generated rosters struggle with these exceptions and demand manual intervention for a significant portion of scheduling, the automation's efficacy is quickly negated. 

 

Lack of User Confidence 

An effective rostering system should inspire confidence and trust among managers and schedulers. If these professionals constantly find themselves doubting the accuracy and reliability of AI-generated rosters, it indicates a lack of faith in the solution's capabilities. 

 



Focusing on Functionality for Effective Rostering 

As organisations navigate the complexities of rostering, it is important to explore functionalities that enable fast and effective scheduling without solely relying on AI. Here are key areas to focus on: 


Real-Time Visibility 

Implement a solution that provides real-time visibility into workforce availability, skillsets, and operational demands. This enables schedulers to make informed decisions on the fly, optimising resource allocation and ensuring seamless operations. The Rosterspace the Vacant Shift Workflow allows managers and roster planners to fill vacant shifts swiftly by offering them to workers who fit the required criteria, are available and keeps the organisation within their labour budget. 


Employee Empowerment 

Give employees the ability to set and update availability so that they are not being rostered to work shifts that they are not available for, and they have the flexibility to request more shifts if their circumstances change. 


Compliance built in 

When setting up your workforce management system, ensure that all award or EA rules are accounted for, as well as any specific rules that the organisation may have. That way, when building a roster, you can be assured compliance is being achieved across all rostered shifts.  Rosterspace has a detailed solution design and implementation process which at its core speaks to the individual organisation being set up. 


Integration Capabilities 

Choose a solution that seamlessly integrates with other HRIS, payroll, finance, ERP and POS systems. facilitating a streamlined flow of data. This eliminates double handling of data, reduces errors, and ensures accuracy across complex systems landscapes. 


Scenario Planning 

By having worker availability and compliance communicating in a single system, roster scenarios can be forecasted so that managers are able to choose the roster which best meets the needs of the workers and the budget. 


Audit trails 

For workforce management systems like Rosterspace, which have a lot of functionality and flexibility, all user activity is captured in an audit trail. This allows all workers to be accountable for their activity such as, accepting or declining vacant shifts, reviewing and approving shits and overtime, and making changes to previously approved or published rosters. 


Customisation and Adaptability 

Select a system that offers customisable templates and rules to accommodate the unique needs of your organisation. This allows for tailored rostering that aligns with your specific operational requirements. 


Embracing Human Expertise 

While AI-generated rostering has the potential to revolutionise scheduling, its limitations highlight the importance of human the human element. The dynamic nature of workforce management involves intricate nuances that AI algorithms would struggle to fully grasp or are simply unable to tap into. By combining technology with the intuitive insights and knowledge of humans, organisations can harness the best of both worlds. 

 


The journey toward effective and efficient rostering is complex. The introduction of AI and its relevance for certain organisations or industries is questionable, especially given that existing workforce management systems have been developed to accelerate and streamline rostering at a more reasonable price without compromising the individual needs of an organisation or the people they exist to serve. 

 

 

Rosterspace is a best of breed workforce management solution for the Australian and New Zealand workforce. Known for its sophisticated technology, customer service and integration capabilities we are here to keep you compliant.


Book in for a demo and a chat today. 

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