Improving roster management through better communication

Jun 24, 2020

Smooth roster management requires good communication. We take a look at how existing systems can be improved.

Human Resources


Roster management is a word that is often misspelled as “rooster management”, invoking images of barns full of chickens, feathers flying everywhere, and generalized chaos. The image is, obviously, incorrect and roster management doesn’t usually involve poultry; it does, however, capture some of the chaos and confusion that is often associated with roster management.

For the uninitiated, roster management is a term used in some industries to refer to the organization and management of work schedules and shifts. Its level of complexity can vary but in industries like aviation, where the staff is constantly on the move, it involves coordinating hundreds of people that have to start work at different times, in different places, and handle all sorts of unforeseen circumstances and delays.

Bringing order to chaos

If it wasn’t for the hard work of roster management teams and the specialized tools they use, managing dispersed workforces in 24/7 operations would result in absolute chaos. These professionals make it seem almost easy and natural, but their job does have significant challenges.

Aside from the coordination work itself, one of the biggest problems is communication. If things are going well, employees can simply look at their pre-prepared schedules and make sure they are in the right place at the right time, but the real world often has other plans. Often there may be delays or problems on the employee’s side, ranging from a car that just won’t start to bad weather or a strike that doesn’t let them reach their starting point.

Other times the problems are on the company’s side when it is the “workplace” (i.e. a plane, boat, or train) that has problems reaching the expected location at the expected time. Whatever the reason, the result is often the same; roster management teams have to make new arrangements and receive/send information to all those affected.

Making communication easier

The challenge is a familiar one that we have often encountered in past articles: human beings can only talk to one person at a time, and that can only happen if they and the other person happen to be available to talk to each other at the same time.

Messaging apps and similar tools can solve part of the problem by allowing for asynchronous communication, meaning that messages can be sent by a person even if the other person is not online and can be read later. This helps, but often can slow down the communication process, and still does not solve the problem that a single person can only take care of one conversation at a time.

Chatbots offer a much better alternative thanks to their ability to work 24/7, handle multiple conversations at the same time and interface seamlessly with other management systems. For roster management, the best option is to create a custom-built chatbot designed specifically for the company’s unique circumstances and can integrate seamlessly with the roster management system. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to our team using the contact link below.