How to Roster Labour Hire Staff Effectively

rostering labour hire

Whether you’ve got a small team, or manage thousands of employees and contractors, rostering labour hire staff is one of the most time-intensive tasks for any manager.

Any rostering manager will probably attest to the fact that they spend most of their time creating rosters, answering phone calls about shifts, approving leave requests, finding last minute fill-ins, tracking time, ensuring the payroll is correct…the list goes on.

If creating rosters wasn’t hard enough, rostering in the labour hire industry adds another level of difficulty to any already-tough task – as you’re required to fill thousands of shifts, while striking a balance between compliance with award rates and reducing labour costs for the organisation.

Regardless of whether you’re in the construction, mining, engineering, logistics, or freight industry, rostering managers must keep consideration factors in mind when devising rosters – as an oversight could have repercussions for your employees, clients and the wider organisation. Such consideration factors include timely rostering, flexible rosters, reducing labour costs, and compliance with award rates and pay rules to ensure workers are not over-servicing clients.

“We’ve had a 0.1% reduction in labour cost, reduction of three FTE and been able to better control and manage rosters, which has helped us adhere to contracted hours and limit overtime spend since rolling out Ento.” – David Benjamin, Chief Information Officer, Millennium Services Group

Labour hire rostering key considerations

There are many industries that sit under the umbrella of labour hire, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, the broad strokes are much the same, so they can be applied across industries and adapted if needed.

Effective rostering in the labour hire industry can help you to:

  • Control labour costs
  • Meet client demand
  • Manage staff availability
  • Meets government regulations and contractual obligations



Organisations, like Fair Work Australia and SafeWork NSW provide helpful resources to help rostering managers plan and devise rosters in accordance with employee health and safety policies, which is another factor to keep in mind.

We’ve compiled a list of useful tips for effective rostering to help ensure equal distribution of skills and experience, employee satisfaction, flexibility, lower labour costs, while also ensuring the highest quality of work for your clients. It will help you to save time, money, energy and any potential headaches that might arise from common rostering missteps.


Best rostering tips for labour hire

  1. Utilise “role rostering” rather than creating a roster based on what individual staff members want. First, work out the allocation of shifts and responsibilities, while costing out this plan according to hourly wages, and then add the different staff roles required for each shift. Then, you can add the names of suitable staff members to each role.
  2. Make sure everyone receives at least two days off per week, as staff burnout and performance decline is inevitable when employees work for more than five consecutive days. This includes two free weekends in every four if possible.
  3. Make your roster available to employees and contractors online, so that staff can access it easily without having to come into work to check their schedules.
  4. Share the best shifts between the team to ensure fairness among staff members. 
  5. Plan your roster as far in advance as possible to give employees time to plan their schedules, or swap schedules if needed. 
  6. Ensure equal distribution of experience, skills and training when rostering staff to ensure the highest quality of work and minimise potential incidents.
  7. Know what your staffing budget is daily and weekly for all employees before starting your roster. This helps you to lower labour costs.
  8. Save time and energy by utilising reliable roster software to automate employee management and streamline staff rostering.
  9.  Make flexibility a priority for your business when rostering, as it is a part of modern working life. This is where using rostering software comes in because it allows you to automatically handle time-off requests and changes. 
  10.  Always have a backup for your backup by compiling a list of trusted and reliable workers you can contact at short notice to pick up a shift. These people may be part-time staff, or former employees who left on good terms.
  11.  Create a team-wide communication method, where you can inform employees when the roster is available, or for last-minute requests such as fill-ins.



Utilise labour hire rostering software

Utilising labour hire rostering software will save your time, money and energy by streamlining the rostering process. You can wave goodbye to spreadsheets, endless phone calls from employees and hours lost to manual rostering, with Ento’s Workforce Management Software

“Ento has given us centralised control, which we’ve never had. That’s where we’ve clawed back the savings. it’s allowed us to adhere to contracted hours. If clients want more work, then it’s a trigger for the ad-hoc or extra billing.” – Millennium Services Group

Our innovative workforce management software was designed for the labour hire industry, meaning you’ll have an all-in-one system at your fingertips that allows you to fill thousands of jobs, shifts and tasks in seconds. Meanwhile, you’ll have the ability to optimise your costs, keep staff engaged and get visibility across clients at a glance. 

For more information about how rostering and workforce management software can optimise your workforce, speak to one of our experts by booking a demo today.

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