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Street Soccer Scotland provide free football-themed training & personal development opportunities for socially disadvantaged groups across Scotland.

Use this Guide to help plan and schedule shifts or sessions for workers or volunteers. It reduces admin time and gives people a greater sense of ownership.

Steps to giving staff or volunteers control over their rotas using HR software

You need to know what you need the software to be able to do. Either run a research project or simply look at what problems people have with the way you do things now.

Make sure you consider the needs of all the people who might be affected. This is likely to include:

  • Workers or volunteers

  • Supervisors in charge of scheduling

  • Administrators who need information for payroll or expense claims

Street Soccer Scotland had an old sessional staff scheduling system. A member of the core staff team made a spreadsheet and then sent a photo of the spreadsheet to all sessional staff via WhatsApp. To change a shift staff had to message that team member. They would update the spreadsheet, take a new photo and send it out again.

Street Soccer Scotland wanted to be able to:

  • See when sessional staff were available and wanted to work

  • Create a schedule and easily share it with sessional staff

  • Allow sessional staff to arrange their own swaps with each other or cancel sessions

  • Send reminders to sessional staff about when their shift or session started.

There are lots of different pieces of HR software available. They are not as expensive as people think and can be useful even for quite small charities.

Consider the following when choosing:

  • The core elements of HR software don't always include rota systems. They tend to cover things like holiday, sick pay, timesheets and contracts. Check each system to see if rotas are included, or an additional feature.

  • Comparing prices can be difficult. You’ll need to look for the following in each subscription package: 1) the number of employees included, and 2) the number of administrators included.

If you don’t already have a HR system, it’s a good idea to spend some time choosing the right one for you. If you’re not sure where to start, try the NCVO guide to choosing software.

Street Soccer Scotland began using RotaCloud as it is specifically designed for managing rotas. It had nearly all the features Street Soccer Scotland wanted.

Workers can:

  • Show when they are available

  • Schedule themselves into sessions

  • See how much they will get paid

  • Swap shifts

They can do this all from an app on their phone or computer. 

It’s best to introduce a new system slowly. First make sure the person administrating the system feels comfortable using it. Then find some workers or volunteers who are keen to try it. Perhaps they are more used to doing things digitally than other team members. The administrator then sets up user accounts for them so they can get started.

Then decide how you are going to train this first cohort of users. You could:

  • Run face-to-face sessions

  • Record videos for them to watch

  • Use tutorials provided by the software company (check them first to see if you think they are good enough).

Later on your first cohort of users could become champions and help you train other staff or volunteers.

Street Soccer Scotland sessional workers start out as volunteers, and can progress to paid work. The team began by using the scheduling system just for the paid workers.

Street Soccer Scotland shared video tutorials on a WhatsApp group. for these workers. That way people knew what to expect.

They introduced the system in groups of 2-3 people at a time. First they asked staff to download the RotaCloud app to their phone. The administrator created user accounts for them. Then they:

  • sent login details via email 
  • asked them to download the RotaCloud app to their phone
  • showed them how to use the app.

Once this group was comfortable using the app, they added another group. The first group gave peer support to each new group as they were added.

During this induction and training period they kept the old rota system going.

Most new systems have small niggles that can seem off putting at first. Its usually worth persisting through these. Look for workarounds rather than abandoning the new system.

Street Soccer Scotland found that sometimes the app could be a bit slow to update when a user added their rota choices or changes. It only takes 20 seconds or so, but people needed reassurance that it was working. 

They also discovered that the app only showed people which sessions they were scheduled for. They couldn’t see who else was scheduled to work the same session. This meant that workers sometimes asked to swap with someone who was already working that session. They worked around this by the administrator putting people’s shift or session partners into the notes field of each shift.

They also realised that some people didn’t see app notifications about shift changes. So they sent additional reminders via WhatsApp until everyone got used to checking the app.

Further information

Look at our other guides related to managing staff activity:

Contact Scott Hollinshead, Change Centre Manager (Dundee) at [email protected]

This Guide was contributed by Digital Lifelines Scotland on behalf of Street Soccer Scotland. This is an initiative led by Scottish Government’s Digital Health & Care Directorate with Connecting Scotland.