Although easy to use, the available functions are diverse and robust. The system automatically prevents scheduling conflicts by only allowing personnel to be scheduled if they are ‘qualified’ for the function, and have marked themselves as available for that particular date and time. Once a member is scheduled they can no longer unmark their availability for that date and time unless a scheduler un-schedules them. Members can also view and filter the “Roster List” by function in order to help facilitate covering duties when unforeseen circumstances require them to cancel.
Distributing The Workload:
When scheduling, the scheduler sees a drop-down list of personnel beside each function. Only members that are available and qualified will appear in the list, and members are listed in an order calculated by an algorithm that uses their scheduled frequency history over the last few months. The more they have been working recently, the lower they appear on the list. The members themselves can also choose to have their name appear a little higher or a little lower on the list, depending on if they would like to work more often or less often. Schedulers can also view the schedule by person alphabetically to see what people have been scheduled for and make any necessary adjustments.
The system also includes auto-scheduling which uses the same algorithm to automatically schedule volunteers in a fair manner. This not only reduces the burden on the scheduler but also allows more transparency of the scheduling to avoid any question of favouritism.
Most recently, the system has the more options, including the option to allow people to sign up and mark which positions they would like to work in, and also the option to allow volunteers to schedule themselves. If self-scheduling is enabled people can only schedule themselves for positions that they are qualified for, and can only unschedule themselves (change their mind) within 1 hour. After that they must ask a scheduler to unschedule them.
Communication is the cornerstone of any good organization. The Online Roster System has several built-in functions in order to minimize breakdowns in communication, such as:
- Confirming Attendance
- Members can confirm their attendance by clicking on their own name when viewing the schedule. Their name will appear underlined and in red until they click on it, then it will appear with a check mark ✓ beside it. Leaders will see a check mark (✓) beside the names of all members that have confirmed.
- Confirming Attendance
- Mass Emails:
Schedulers can take advantage of the personalized reminder emails that the system can generate in the click of a button. The scheduler simply chooses ‘From’ and ‘To’ dates and clicks ‘Send’ and reminder emails are sent to everyone that is scheduled during those dates. The members receive an email that explains exactly what they are doing and when, as well as a direct link to see the entire schedule for those dates.
Schedulers can also send ‘Request’ emails in order to prompt people to go into the system and mark their availability. These emails include an auto-login link that takes the member directly to the availability area, so they just click the link, check or uncheck boxes and click ‘Save’. Done!
Schedulers can also use the ‘Roster List’ in order to send emails to members with certain qualifications only. This is very useful for practices, procedural changes, etc that only affect a certain group of volunteers. The scheduler simply goes to the ‘Roster List’, checks the boxes beside the desired positions and clicks ‘Filter’ to filter the list to show only members with those qualifications. Then a Custom mass email can be composed to only those members.
- Mass Emails:
The Administrator(s) can set certain parameters that define the system, such as the name for gatherings (such as “Services” for churches, “Meetings” for clubs, “Practices” for sports teams, etc); names for the tasks / positions (such as “Preacher”, “Acolyte”, “Head Referee”, “Grand Poobah”, etc) ; standard gathering days and times; what information the ‘Roster List’ is shown to members; whether people are by default ‘Available’ or ‘Unavailable’ and other options to customize the functionality of the system.
The system is also capable of handling multiple custom locations or divisions within an organization. This means that several different groups within an organization can schedule different events using the same system, and since they draw off the same pool of volunteers it will avoid scheduling conflicts.