Ten Tips for Scheduling Staff at a Truckstop

Learn some helpful hints for scheduling at a truckstop and travel center.


Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators

Ten Tips for Scheduling Staff at a Truckstop

No matter how you look at it, the human resource piece of running a successful operation is often the biggest daily challenge. In this day and age, even with unemployment over double-digits in many areas of the United States, hiring, training and retaining employees is a struggle.

I have noticed in my travels and visits with independent operators who do not have automated process that scheduling team member appropriately can be difficult. Those that are doing schedules manually often tell me that the process for laying out a week’s worth of work is not a 20-minute activity. I think we all would agree that if we are spending hours on manual schedules, it is not a good distribution of manager or ownership labor hours. Below are some helpful hints to scheduling you may want to consider.

  1. Try not to guarantee anyone a specific shift unless they are looking for the 3-11 or 11-7. I know it is tough to recruit, but the more flexible your staff is, the easier to schedule.
  2. Try not to guarantee weekends off. Every staff member should work some weekends. Use your weekends to reward good staff performance.
  3. Although it is challenging, when it comes to scheduling, try to have more part-time employees and/or flexible-hour employees than full-time employees in order to help reduce the chances you are short-staffed.
  4. When filling out a weekly schedule, have Monday as your starting day and Sunday as your ending day. (It will make sense shortly.)
  5. Have a policy that your team members must provide their requests for days off two weeks in advance. Make the policy a requirement and ensure it is spoken about often, during the interview process, hiring process, training process and during location meetings, shift change, etc.
  6. Once you have layered in requested days off, work backwards filling out your schedule, completing Sunday out first, then Saturday, then Friday, etc… Most locations are busiest during the weekend as far as overall business and typically these are the days that staff calls in most often.
  7. Highlight those team members that during the hiring process have identified themselves as not caring if they have consecutive days off. There are many persons, like myself when I worked my hourly jobs, that prefer to have days off split. These folks should be layered into the scheduling process as well during the beginning process. Do not assume that everyone prefers what you may prefer. This goes to number of hours worked in a day as well. Some team members may prefer three 12-hour days rather than five five-hour days.
  8. Look to schedule team members at different times throughout the schedule, which protects you in case you have a no call no-show. For example, rather than schedule all three team members to arrive at 7:00 a.m., have them come in at 7:00 a.m., 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.
  9. Get in the habit of sending team members home early when business does not warrant the additional staff, which ensures staff understands that labor hours are tied to business performance. The more business, the busier it is and the more hours are afforded to them.
  10. Always set a date of when the schedule should be posted for team members to see. Keep that date, make sure you execute and post the schedule when your team members expect it. If you are running late posting it, make sure that you tell your team members you are behind schedule. The better you communicate your schedule, the more effective the schedule will be. The further in advance you can schedule the better performance you will get. Never forget, IF YOU DO NOT EFFECTIVELY SERVICE YOUR TEAM MEMBERS, YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY SERVICE YOUR CUSTOMERS.


/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here
Editor's note: NATSO offers a Truckstop and Travel Plaza Training Manual. The manual is designed to help operators create their own store- and company-specific operations training manual. NATSO members can purchase the manual for $175 and nonmembers can purchase it for $675 here. Click the links below to learn more.




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