How to use the Auto-schedule tool

Learn how to save time on scheduling with the Auto-schedule tool.

Saad Saeed avatar
Written by Saad Saeed
Updated over a week ago

🎯 For advanced admins.

This tool is included in the Pro and Enterprise subscription. Contact our support team if you'd like to try it out.

Sometimes, filling a schedule can be a complex jigsaw puzzle of preferences, needs and headaches. Auto-scheduling can support you by providing a schedule suggestion for the time frame and department you need in a matter of minutes. The feature will automatically assign open shifts based on Contracted hours, Availability, Absence and Working time rules.

What is Auto-schedule?

Auto-schedule is a scheduling feature that allows you to quickly assign open shifts to multiple employees at the click of a button. This means that once you have determined how many people should work each day and created the open shifts you need, Planday can help assign the shifts for you. If you like the schedule suggestion, you can approve it and then move on to your daily tasks with time to spare.

How to use Auto-schedule tool

Before you use the tool, you'll need to ensure you have a few things in place.

  • You have Open shifts in the schedule waiting to be assigned to your staff.

  • Every employee on the schedule has their necessary Contract rules entered in Planday. Read more on how Contract rules work.

  • Your employees set their Availability preference for the upcoming period.

  • You dealt with the Vacation requests for the timeframe and reminded your employees to record their desired time off beforehand.

  • You added Working time rules to ensure your schedule respects contract terms, labour laws and union rules. Read more on how to set up Working time rules.

These steps will need to be completed only once, and then they'll work for you whenever you need to fill out a new schedule period. Once you are ready, you're very close to getting a schedule draft made for you!

All you need to do now is to go to the correct department's schedule and click Tools > Auto-schedule.

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Specify the number of weeks for which you want to receive shift assignment suggestions. Optionally, specify employees, positions or Shift types that you want to skip for the time being.

Once you are ready, click on Start Analysing and the system will start calculating the schedule suggestions for you.

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If some preparation steps are not completed, you may get warning messages. You can Ignore these messages if they are irrelevant to you.

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You will see the schedule in the preview view when the calculations are done. Click Apply schedule to accept the proposal. You cannot undo this step; however, you can delete the entire schedule week by week and start over again.

If the proposed schedule does not meet your expectations, Cancel and start a new analysis. If there can be several solutions for a schedule, the Auto-schedule with the same prerequisites can give you different suggestions.

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Sometimes, some shifts are left open by the Auto-scheduling tool. This happens when either Availability, Working time rules, or Contract rules prevent a shift from being assigned.

As a scheduling manager, it is your decision whether a Working time rule can be ignored or whether there is a need to schedule someone over their contract requirements.

Auto-Schedule - Good to know

The Auto-schedule considers the following components when creating its proposals:

  • Matching Employee groups and Skills of the open shifts and employees.

  • The hire and deactivation date of employees.

  • Conflicting shifts - If employees have already been assigned a shift in another department or position at the same time, they will be excluded as candidates for an Open Shift.

  • If an employee has already requested to take an Open Shift, that shift will be assigned to the employee with priority.

  • Availability - employees who marked themselves as available will be prioritised whenever possible. At the same time, those marked "Unavailable" will not be assigned shifts whenever possible.
    Please note: If you have selected the Intervals option in the Availability settings under Available options, the Auto-schedule will not be able to consider availability. It is recommended to select one of the other options.

  • Absence - Employees with approved absence requests cannot be assigned to Open shifts during this period.

  • Working time rules and Contract rules - If there are entries about the arrangements between you and your employees, they will be taken into account by the Auto-schedule.

Auto-schedule Advanced settings

Navigate to Settings > Schedule section > Auto-schedule to find options for customising the Auto-schedule open shifts assignment preferences.

Read more in the Auto-schedule: advanced settings article.

See related articles:

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